Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lilly the Lilac Lamb

I found this awesome little pattern for a lamb the other day while I was looking for an elephant pattern. I never found the elephant, but I think I might try to adapt this pattern into an elephant, but that is a story for another day.

This is the inspiration lamb. Isn't she cute? When I saw her, I thought of my new niece, Savannah. Her mom decided to use the theme of lambs for Savannah when she was born, and I think it is a fun idea. She also painted Savannah's room purple.

So, I decided to try to make a purple lamb.

I found some purple fabrics that I had in my stash.

I could have sworn I took pictures during the making phase, but I think in all my new camera swoon that was happing at the same time I forgot too.

I don't think she turned out quiet as well as I wanted her too, but I had also never done a few of the things that go into making her. I honestly, had never heard of a gusset, I knew the concept but I had never seen one in one of my patterns. The fact that I managed to get it in with only mild distortion makes me happy. Looking back at the sample, I was supposed to do the gusset in the same fabric as the head, but I like the contrast that came out, even if AJ thinks she looks mildly like a horse.

I didn't put eyes onto Lilly because I am scared Savannah might pull them off. I did sew the ears and the ribbon on really well, but I don't think those will cause near the choking hazard that buttons will.

Now, I just need to get their new address and mail it to them!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Perfect orange. Now to juice & make jelly.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Stuffed Guitar - Finished

The guitar is done. Yay!

I sewed it up, stuffed it with polyfil, and sewed it shut.

I added his name and a star to the back for some detail on the back. I went with yellow and green hoping that they had enough contrast, because I was down to pinks for my color selections otherwise. I think it came out really well.

Hopefully, I can get some pictures from his mom of him playing with it. If I do get them I will post them here. I am curious if it is the right size. Honestly, I don't remember how big 2 1/2 year olds are anymore.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Stuffed Guitar - In Progress

A couple of days ago a friend emailed me looking for some ideas on how to decorate her son's room (and her's, too). He is 2 1/2 years old, and into music stuff and space stuff. Well, we talked for a while and I gave her some ideas, but it also inspired me to want to work on something.  I wish she lived closer than the 2.5 hours away, because I would love to go actually help her on some things. But, the distance is good because I can make things and then send them to her (or drop them off on our way to more northern parts of FL.)

I decided that after looking at all sorts of cute stuffed embroidered things lately, I really wanted to make one of something. So, the stuffed guitar idea emerged. I was originally going to use this awesome orange shirt I had found that had a great graphic on it, but it wasn't going to be the right size and it would have taken a lot of creative sewing to get the graphic to look right on the guitar.

So, I dug through my fabric and found this. SWEET! Stars and dark blue (she has already made him some spacey stuff out of dark blue, so the pillow will look good there).

I found a picture of an electric guitar online, but I couldn't print it big enough to trace it, so I had to free hand it. I had hoped the pictures turned out better, but you can barely see the orange pencil lines.

This one is a little better. You can see the fun shaped details of the guitar.

Well, now it is starting to look much more guitar shaped. I think sizewise and shapewise it came out well. It isn't perfectly rounded on the bottom, but the unroundedness gives me a place to put the button to make a strap.

Next, I drew out lines to make the details on the guitar. Only to have my AJ point out that a guitar has six strings. Well, crud. There isn't room to put six strings, so it is now a bass, with a whammie bar (namely because I think they are cool, and it would add some more textural interest).

Into the hoop it goes. How this will come out, no one really knows.

Actually, it came out looking really well. Now, I just have to get started on the back and actually turning it into a "stuffed" object.

I have a fun detail that I am putting on the back, but I am not saying anything before I get it done. I want it to be a mild surprise to my friend.

I am also pondering how to make the strap. Do I want it a fabric strap, or do I want to make an actual guitar strap with a weaver loom that I have for that? I think at this point it is still up in the air and going to be determined by how much time I have left.


I am watching CBS New Sunday Morning. This show isn't something that is normally aimed at my age bracket, and I don't think it ever has been. But, I have been watching it since I was little. I remember being fascinated by the pretty sun pictures that they use to make transitions. I also have random memories of different things they have talked about over the years. I have learned things about people I would have never know otherwise. Right now they are talking to Melody Gardot. I have never heard of her before, but her voice and her music sounds amazing. I might have to see if I can find some.

The reason I am thinking about all this is because I wonder how much of what we like as adults is influence by what our parents do while we are young. My mom watched CBS New Sunday Morning whenever we were home on Sunday mornings. So, I have happy memories of the show, it was a comforting thing to see my mom drinking coffee and watching the show, and me curled under a blanket half paying attention.

My mom also listened to talk radio when I was young. I always swore I would never listen to talk radio when I had my own car. Well, guess what... I never held to that promise. The talk radio stations called out to me and in Gainesville they had top priority on my radio in my car (depending on the time of day and who was on). I would even listen to them on the radios at work (again, depending on time of day and who was in the lab). Now, it has evolved into listening to podcast. I have developed into and adult wanting constant stimulation, but it needs to be either informational or vocal educational. Not to say that I don't listen to music in the car, but it does tend to be background noise.

My parents were always "up to" something. They always had some kind of project in some form of in progress or almost completed. Both of them were always in the middle of creating something. My dad was frequently out in his shop, and then coming in at night covered in sawdust, metal shavings, or just plain crud. I remember him learning all kinds of new things, just to learn them. Everything from taking me to a carving class (we only went to one because, well my parents are like me... learn the basics and then kind of ignore the instructions and make it work) to now he makes Native American flutes. Then I hear stories from my mom that he is planting a field of wildflowers so that he can take pictures of butterflies this spring. At some point I need to get some of his pictures and post them (he is really good!)

What are some of the things that influenced you that you didn't think would? What are some of the things you always swore that you wouldn't do, but no are a part of you that you love?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Christmas Presents - Part 1

This year for Christmas I really wanted to make my brother and sister-in-law t-shirts like ones I had seen on ThinkGeek. Well, I hate to say it but money was a little to tight to buy them these shirts and Gator shirts (which we were told they were requesting for the whole family). So, I broke out the "silk screening" stuff. Unfortunately, it isn't a real silk screen, but an idea I found years ago that normally works really well. This time, not so much... but I will get to that.

First, I took an embrodiary hoop and streched window sheer fabric. Then copied the design I wanted. BIL's says "dad" in binary. Then used modge podge as a blocking agent. The idea is to block out everything that I don't want ink getting into, so basically everywhere around the numbers.

Then, put a towel inside the shirt (otherwise there will be bleed through - VERY NOT good). Then iron the shirt. Then place the hoop down onto the shirt with the sheer touching the shirt. Then I took paint and pushed it through the screen. I had some major problems with BIL's. I had to scrub the paint out a couple of times. On a side note: body soap from Disney and a toothbrush will remove fabric paint from a shirt with lots and lots of scrubbing.

SIL shirt came out ok, but really not happy with it. It says "mom" in binary. If you couldn't tell they had a baby this year. So, honestly I ditched this endevour and switched to something else.

I switched to using a stencil I made from contact paper. I cut out the numbers on my cricut, and then laid them out onto the shirts. When I added the paint they came out much cleaner. I really liked the way they came out using this method. The only problem with this was that it is no longer a re-usable template. Once I pulled the contact paper up it had to go into the trash, instead of getting washed and stored with my other templates.

I still had one shirt that had to use the screening method. AJ is fairly obsessed with all kinds of cables. He has built out the closet in his library as cable storage (I promise pictures at some point). So, I thought as a fun joke I would make him a shirt that referenced that fact. Well, none of the cricut cartridges I have ( I don't have many honestly) a picture of a USB connector. I had to find a picture, enlarge it, and then block the screen. I did type out the words and use the contact paper for that, because for some reason the words were bleeding through really bad. I had to scrub out his shirt twice, too.

I don't have a finished picture of his shirt because:
1. I couldn't take a picture of it with his camera, because well he could have see it.
2. As soon as he opened it he took it and immediately wore it.
3. It has been washed and is downstairs in his t-shirts.
4. I am to lazy to go downstairs and find it and take a picture of it.

Here is a good example of how the screening normally works. I made these shirts for all the girls who came to my bachlorette party. They had a dress and Team Bride on the front and then the girls names on the back. It was fun to make something for them.

Craft Project - Wallet/ Clutch

The Wallet

I found this great idea on this site. I thought it was amazingly cool and it was about the right size project for me to tackle in an evening and not get to stressed out about it. Bad part is that I don't have a whole lot of ribbon, barely any at all actually. I do have lots of scraps of fabric though. I love this piece, it is fairly awful, but it looks very vintage and I am always drawn to making stuff out of it. I made an "apron dress" out of it already (it was supposed to be a light summer dress, but I never finished it - all it needs is a hem put in, but I like it as an apron now -  and well, sewing in our old apartment wasn't really an easy task so...)

First thing I did was mostly ignore the instructions. I wanted something that I could put our envelope system (Dave Ramsey) into, and the instructions were too small. So, I think the initial measurements were 4.5" by 19", roughly. I cut a piece out of flour sack material first. Then I cut it out of the green fabric. I used iron-on fusable web between the flour sack and the green fabric. I probably didn't need to use the flour sack, but I did. I will say I am glad I used it in the end because it gave the wallet a bit of heft and it isn't flimsy.

Next, I cut out the pink fabric. I didn't initially realize that I was going to need a couple of pink pieces, but I did. Once I got the pink cut out I then cut the pink and green into three sections. Two pieces were 3.25" by 8.5" (I think - I am not good at writing this down when I am making it), the other piece was what was left.

I couldn't figure out a good way to get the ID slot onto the wallet, I tried her way of using a ribbon boarder and well, that just didn't work for me. So, I used one of the pieces that I had cut off in the beginning because 19" was really way to big. I sewed the top of the vinyl pouch to the extra piece and then sewed the extra piece onto the green and pink piece. Later, I regreated sewing this piece all the way around, so I ripped out the top seam. This made a nifty pouch for loose cash and such.

Next up was making a space for cards. I wish I had done this differently, but maybe on the next one I will change it. Here is also where I figured out I needed an extra piece of pink fabric. I cut the extra piece the same size as the first, and then cut it at odd angles. Then, I sewed yellow ribbon to the tops. I sewed the cut pieces bottoms onto the original piece of pink.

The last piece I used another of the original cut off extra to make the slot to stick the envelopes into, and sewed it down. I was going to to it check book style, but that just didn't work right. Then, I took the fusable web and stripped it to fit the yellow ribbon. I laid the pieces together so that each piece was about 1/4 of the way on the ribbon, and folded it over so that it covered the front and the back of the pieces. I sewed both sides of the ribbon down to each piece of fabric.

I was originally going to edge it in the yellow ribbon so that it would "blend" together better, but honestly sewing with that ribbon royally stunk! I dug through my collection of vintage bias tape and found a double wide ( 2" fold) that matched the green fabric PERFECTLY! It was also cool seeing that when the bias tape was originally sold it was sold for $0.19 ( what a deal!)

I am still not sure I like the random yellow on the outside. It doesn't exactly match anything, but it was the only ribbon I had, and I refuse to go buy new ribbon for a trial project.

The yellow looks great to me on the inside though. It plays off the pink well, I think.

The card slots still need some re-working so that they face the right direction like the ID slot, the cash slot, and the envelope slot. I am going to give this one a whirl though, and see if it works ok, and on the next one I will re-adjust if need be.

The envelopes to go in the wallet.

I found the pattern for these here. I then went hunting for fun papers. I hate to admit it, but I have apparently lost most of the Photoshop skills I used to have. I had to relearn how to make layers. But, once I got that figured back out I printed this. (NOTE: I haven't finished all the envelopes yet, but I really want to get this posted before it is way out of date.)

Then I just followed the instructions ( I needed to do it for these, but only after I fought with it to see if I could make them slightly bigger - habits die hard).

It isn't as pretty as the green one, but it is very functional. The lady with the template even supplied some fun labels to use on the envelopes. I might put those on there, or I might just hand write them on there.

If you want to see other people's creative ideas on using the envelopes, check out:
The Cash System Stories at Kelleigh Ratzlaff Designs.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The lamp covered with a skirt.

I went to Salvation Army today. I have discovered that skirts have amazing fabric. I haven't had very good luck finding fabric that I want to use at the fabric store lately.

So, when I found this skirt I was really happy. I had planned on cutting it down to turn it into either a bag or pieces to try quilting some place mats or something similar (I do have several that I picked up today that I plan on using for that purpose). Well, imagine my surprise when I discovered that I could turn it into a lamp shade cover.

So far I really haven't done anything to the skirt other than put it over the old shade. I probably should cut it down so that it doesn't cover any of the top of the lamp (right now it has a mild over hang). I could pull the skirt down farther, but then it is too long. I don't want to cut the bottom off because it has this fun little pleated ribbon around the bottom. Not sure what I am going to do, but right now nothing. I like the way it looks. The only problem is this lamp is HUGE! It is a couple of feet high without the lamp shade. We are going to have to move the lamp to over by recliner, because we can't see the tv from the kitchen with the lamp where it is currently. Normally that wouldn't be such a bad thing, but when we are washing dishes we like to be able to watch the tv, it cuts down on some of the boredom of washing dishes.

Projects sort of done...Couple of days out of date

NOTE : I started this post last week, but had some computer quirks in getting it posted... namely I started it on AJ's computer and that has since had some major health problem. Then my desktop crashed while I was working on it... so, I decided that I needed to give it a break.

The house has been a mess since before Christmas (yes, I know... it has been over a month), then we decided to paint. So, things have been a real wreck for a while. I have been slowly trying to tackle things, but I feel like when I make progress in one room stuff multiplies in another room. I posted on twitter yesterday that I think the only way to keep our kitchen clean is if we stopped using it. I got it all clean yesterday, dishes washes, stove cleaned, stuff put away, and floors swept and mopped. Then I cooked dinner, and all that went down the hill. Then, today I decided to do baking day (I will admit, not much of a baking day, but it is something). I made double batches of baked oatmeal and oatmeal chocolate chip banana bread. I am going to put one of each into the freezer for a future "emergency". - UPDATE: This was last week, and I pulled out the extra oatmeal and banana bread because today was a fairly off day.

I also finally got the dishes put back into the china cabinet in the dining room. Nothing to exciting there, but it needed to be done because they were all piled up on the table (the china cabinet is really heavy and hard to move when it is full). I still don't know how I am going to re-decorate the dining room with its new vintagey golden yellow. I think I have a fun idea for some wall art, but I am going to save it so I can surprise the blog world.

I also re-organized my playroom. It has been in TOTAL chaos since we got back from Christmas.

Which means that I got to actually make a project. I made a wallet. If I can get AJ's card reader I will try to post pictures soon.

I did make it to Salvation Army and one of my more favorite thrift stores. I have been having a hard time finding fabric that I want to use in decorating. So, I decided that I could find some great fabrics in clothing. I am starting to do a reverse Scarlett O'Hara thing... making curtains out of clothes.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

1957 Birch & Turquoise Kitchen - On the right track

I found this while I was hunting through pictures trying to find some good ideas to replace the yellow with in the dining room. Apparently, I am on the right track. The walls are almost the exact same color, the cabinets are identical, and I am thinking the greens might work for curtains in our space.

I am going to keep digging on this site. Maybe I will find the right combination. We have AJ's grandparents dining set from the 1950's, so maybe, just maybe I will find a picture that actually has their set in it. That would be awesome and make me tempted to attempt it.

New Blue Kitchen!

We got the kitchen painted. I love the way this color came out. The picture doesn't do it justice. It is almost a perfect match to the towel I found. I can't wait to get the kitchen and kitchenette fixed up. I also found some great old advertisements that I want to print out and frame to use as art work in the kitchenette. So excited!!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I finally found the colors I want to use in the kitchen and dining room.

I had forgotten that I had picked this towel up about a year ago at an estate sale. I was doing laundry today and I "found it". It had gotten tossed into the dirty basket before I started looking at paint colors last week.

I want to use the golden mustardy yellow to paint the dining room, the blue for the kitchen, and the burst of bright pink to do the chairs in the eat-in kitchen. I am going to leave the eat-in table white, so that the chairs will pop.

I am not sure what I am going to do for curtains in the eat in, but I got some fun green ones at Ikea that I am thinking about "editing". I have also pulled out my cricut cartridges and found that I have some fun shapes like pears and apples that I might cut out of contact paper and make decals for the kitchen cabinets. I am looking for something fun and bright.

Any thoughts or ideas?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Planning for the New Year

I have spent the last couple of hours working on my "goals" for the New Year. I rarely make New Year's resolutions, but this year I want to have goals and some lifestyle changes. My honest plan is to have a lot of this accomplished my the end of March, at least on the project side. The lifestyle changes I want to be the habit of firmly by then, hopefully that means that they will stick.

My Projects Goals:

Paint the laundry room.
Paint the dining room.
Paint the kitchen.
Paint the bedroom.
Paint the bathroom.
Paint the bench at the foot of our bed.
Paint the leaf for the eat-in's table.
Possibly re-paint the eat-in table, depending on the kitchen paint.
Build out the closet - need AJ's help.
Re-organize the closet once it is fixed.
Redecorate the kitchen.
Rearrange the living room.
Hem the curtains in the eat-in.
Re-cover the chair cushions in the eat-in.
Re-organize my playroom.
Move sewing supplies.
Move furniture.
Re-organize bookcases.
Paint peg board and hang it.
Move piggy pictures.
Empty and move some of storage drawers to laundry room.
Get AJ to build tv shelf for me.
Paint tv shelf.
Re-organize storage in the closet.
Move house decorations to garage.
Move office supplies to hall bookcase.
Make curtains.
Make new cushion for window seat.
Have AJ make doors for hall bookcase.
Paint and hang fabric on new doors for bookcase.
Have AJ make some cut-out wall hangings for me.
Paint wall hangings.
Possibly re-decorate guest bathroom.
Make a meal planning board.
Plant a garden for Spring.

My Lifestyle Goals:

Line dry as much of laundry as possible.
Make meal plan weekly.
Keep track of food stores - pantry and freezer inventories.
Buy only organic animal products.
Buy organic and in season top 10 bad produce.
Bake more often.
Bulk cook and freeze meals.
Learn to make our own cleaning products.
Wash and change sheets weekly.
Learn to sew well.
Pick one new project a week and finish it.
Find more ways to make us self sufficient.
Learn to can.
Find everyday ways to get more exercise.
Take time to stretch out muscles and joints everyday.
Find new ways to use things that we normally throw away.
Take our re-usable bags with us into every store.
Set personal limits on what "new" things come into the house - can we find it used or make it ourselves?

I want to make some weight loss goals, but I don't want to tackle that one until we go back to the endocrinologist later next week. I want to get down to a healthy weight because my weight is OUT OF CONTROL even for me. I was doing really well on increasing my daily exercise (finding ways to incorporate more movement into everyday situations) and riding my bike and walking around the neighborhood. That was helping at least maintain my weight. Then the pain started. Then everything started falling by the wayside because it hurt so much. Even my crafting and playing in my playroom has suffered because going up the stairs is murder. I am praying that the endocrinologist has some answers or at least knows what the next steps are, and until I have a better idea of what is going on I don't want to set my self up for failure. I am going to at least work on getting back into chores around the house that take effort and work, and try to find some tai-chi or yoga stretches that I can do to try and help with the pain.