Archive for the 'crafts' Category

Freezer Paper Love

My girls are going to be part of a local relay race this weekend.  The race has four parts: running, kayaking, biking, and a two person obstacle course.  They organized a team with three friends, and I had all five girls over at the house on Friday to make team tee shirts.  My dilemma was how to create a tee shirt craft for five girls, ages 7 through 10, that would result in nearly identical, great-looking shirts.  Freezer paper stenciling was an ideal choice.  I designed a little logo with their team name “the best girls team ever” and some icons to represent the different parts of the race.  Then I printed it out and layered it over five pieces of freezer paper before cutting out the pieces with an X-acto knife.  This was definitely a grown-up task, as our logo was fairly complicated.  It took me most of an hour to cut out the design, and many times during the process I was grateful that I could cut all the stencils at once, rather than repeating the process five times over.  I then ironed the stencils onto the backs of each shirt.  The girls’ part was to paint the stencil.  After the paint was dry (I couldn’t wait so I used a hair dryer to help speed the process along) we peeled off the paper, revealing the finished design.  We personalized each shirt with the girl’s name and the icon for their part of the race on the front left chest.

Knitting in the New Year

Winter makes me feel like knitting.  Hats, scarves and mittens make sense in December.  Practically, I should start knitting for the coming winter when it’s August, but in August I feel like sewing shorts and swimsuits.  Luckily, I can knit these small projects rather quickly, so they can be in use soon after they’re begun.

I’m not a great knitter.  I enjoy it, and have learned a lot since I first picked up yarn and needles about a year ago.  I’ve found that when I don’t understand some direction in my pattern I can find what it means by a quick internet search.  Looking for a bit of a challenge, I decided to give fair isle knitting a try.  I started with this pattern, found on Ravelry.  I changed the fair isle pattern a tiny bit on the earflaps.  I wish I hadn’t positioned the earflaps according to the pattern directions, though.  As I was doing it, my gut instinct was to move them, but I resisted.  They don’t quite cover the ears as well as they should how the pattern is written.  Well, there’s always a next time.

And here’s the current work-in-progress, a cable-knit hat.  It is fun to see the pattern emerge as I add rows, one or two at a time as I pick it up.

A Sock and a Half

I think this yarn thing is addictive.  I started off trying crochet because I found a cool slipper pattern.  Now, I’m learning to knit:  dishcloths, hats, mittens…socks!?!?  Yes, I’m knitting socks.  I just can’t help myself.  They’re not done, and they’re certainly not perfect, but here’s the progress so far:

The socks are taking way longer than any of the other projects I’ve done.  Because of the thin yarn combined with the tiny needles, it takes many stitches to make any progress at all.  Luckily I spend two hours a week waiting while the girls have gymnastics class, so I should be able to finish them before summer is here. 

The kids think it’s funny to watch me knit, Hubby says I look like a grandma.  Gee, thanks!  The other day, E-boy found a ball of yarn and some knitting needles and gave it a go himself:

Snow Days and Sick Days.

The winter storms are here, and with them come quiet days at home.  Actually, this week hasn’t been as quiet as it should be due to having sick kids at home.  On Wednesday, A. stayed home from school with a fever, Thursday was E.’s turn.  To keep the sickies busy, I helped them create these shrinky-dink ornaments for our tree (on the left are mine, already shrunk; on the right are E-boy’s, ready to go in the oven).

I spent some time crocheting a hat and some fingerless mitts out of the leftover yarn from making my slippers.  Can you tell which project came last?  I think the not-quite-matching look makes them charming…

E. spent some time practicing new hairstyles in front of the mirror.  Hubby insisted I take a picture of this one.  She said, “I have a garden on my head!”  She’s going to be trouble when she gets a little bigger… who am I kidding, she’s already trouble.

And finally, we did a little baking.  These gingerbread bears turned out pretty yummy!  However, I do recommend removing them from the tray immediately after baking, as the recipe directs.  I was busy bundling up a two-year-old in snow clothes, and didn’t get to one of the batches right away, which resulted in a lot of broken cookies.  The kids helped me dispose of them, so I can’t say it was such a bad thing.

Here’s hoping you’re staying warm and cozy and happily busy during these cold winter weeks!

Festive Paper Crafts

The kids and I spent some time this morning decorating the house for Christmas.  Okay, I’ll admit that I did the decorating and the kids watched.   

The first project was these colorful paper chains to adorn the dining room windows.  These are made from the covers of magazines and catalogs that were bound for the recycle bin.  I chose the brightly colored pages, cut them into strips and linked them into chains.  I love how the colors from the opposite sides of the pages peek out!  And even though you can get a glimpse of what they used to be (see the blue New York Life ad?) the look now is just bright and cheery!  I’m debating adding a few more chains to each window, or maybe some more in the living room, but we’ll have to see what kinds of catalogs come in the mail this week.  If you have to know, it was a Nordstrom catalog that came addressed to the lady who used to live in this house 4 years ago that started it, it had the greatest red cover with hot pink writing on it I just had to find a way to use it.

Second, I made some paper snowflakes to hang in the family room window.  I also made a big mess of little bits of paper all over the floor.  We haven’t had any snow so far this year, so I guess I felt the need to make some on my own. 

Gadget Purses

A friend of mine asked me to make her something like this a few weeks ago, so today I sat down and sewed it up.  Then I kept sewing and ended up with two more.  The idea is it’s a safe place to keep your cell phone/mp3 player/other electronic do-hicky.  You can clip it to the handle of your purse or diaper bag, or thread the strap through the belt loop of your jeans (I modeled this for my family while they were eating dinner, the concensus was I looked dorky like that, but if you’re cool, you can pull it off).

I love the one made with Amy Butler fabrics so much I might keep it (if I can get over the dorkiness of wearing it on my belt loop).  The red-and-black combo came about because the only other zipper I could scrounge up in my sewing room was black, and…well, I was on a roll, so I had to use that black zipper to make one of these.

Not My Usual Kind of Craft

Have you ever decided to try to make something just because you have everything you need for the project?  This was one of those kinds of crafts.  “Hmm…I have hair clips, ribbon and a hot glue gun…Maybe I’ll make clippies!”  Here they are, minus the burnt fingers.  I added some buttons for embellishment.  When looking over what I’d made, both girls asked the same question:  “Why is there only one of those ones?”  The answer is simple, I didn’t have enough ribbon for another one.  The pink and purple pair of clips were missing from the photograph, they’d already found their way onto some little girls’ heads.  I guess the kids like them.

And, some more of today’s craftiness, this time more my style.  I made these three spring-y wallets.  Two of the fabrics you’ll recognize as being scraps from the girls’ Easter dresses, the other is a vintage-y orange label print.  I think the orange one turned out just right to throw into your tote bag on the way to the beach…totally cool!  Also shown is a bit of the bag I listed in the shop the other day.  Cruise on over to check them out if you have a chance.

How Many Wallets?

Are in your scrap basket?  In mine, four so far.

 I’ve been trying to make productive use of all my scraps this week, and so far I’ve found the pieces for these four wallets in the scrap basket.  A wallet is a great project for scraps, as it is small enough that you don’t need much fabric, and it lends itself to patchwork designs.

My productivity this week is twofold in that it both decreases the size of my scrap basket, and increases the inventory in my Etsy shop.  Also, this batch of wallets is the first to be sewn on the Rocketeer, which did an amazing job stitching through all those layers!  She’s shown in some of the auction pics in an attempt to be artistic in my photography.

Hearts, Hearts, Everywhere!

You guessed it!  We’re preparing for Valentines Day by making thirty hand-made Valentine’s Day cards to pass out to a certain someone’s second grade classmates.  The journey started with a trip to the craft store, and after mommy made a detour to the fabric department, we headed for the scrapbook aisles.  I am not a scrapbooker, but handmade cards seemed to require some of the same tools as scrapbooks, so we meandered up and down the paper craft aisles seeking inspiration.  Thirty minutes and forty dollars later, we left with a bag containing six fat quarters of fabric, a heart shaped punch, a pack of fifty blank cards and envelopes, two ink pads (red and pink) and a sheet of adhesive-backed foam.

Today, the adhesive backed foam (along with two wooden building blocks stolen from the kids’ collection) became stamps.  I was so pleased with how these came out!  I think the $.79 foam was worth it.  Here they are:

For those of you who have not yet begun your Valentines cards, the stamps were easy and fun to make (not to mention cheap!)  I just cut various heart shapes out of the self-adhesive foam, and stuck them onto the blocks:  voila!  Ready for printing!  I did find that they worked better with two layers of foam built up, so the block didn’t leave its own impression on the paper.  And to add interest, I used an exacto knife to score the lines and grid onto a couple of the hearts.  I put a different heart on each side of the block, which made for a few red fingers, but only required two blocks to be sacrificed rather than four.

Gearing up for the Holidays.

Pic 323I know it’s only Halloween today, but my mind has been in Holiday mode for the last week or so.  When you sew, you need to plan well ahead in purchasing fabrics, designing patterns and allowing plenty of time to create.  Therefore, I have a pile of freshly prewashed Christmas knits on the couch which will become some fabulous holiday casualwear, and a lovely princess style Christmas dress hanging in my sewing room.

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If you’re going to be wearing and/or giving homemade gifts this year, I’m sure you’re gearing up for the Holidays as well.  If so, you may be interested to check out Sew, Mama, Sew this November.  Beth and Kristin will be featuring over 100 great sewing tutorials that will give you inspiration and ideas for Holiday gifts.  They have been so kind as to include my little wallet tutorial in the list.


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