Thursday, January 31, 2013

Double the Love Sweatshirt (Week 5, Project 2)

Another shirt donated by E's Nana (my grandmother) has become a top for a certain little girl.  I think pale pink is her color...


My own pattern, again.  It's a simple A-line shape, with some gathering at the shoulders and buttons down the back.  I love me some buttons down the back, and my buttonhole making is slowly improving.  I've been figuring out some tricks to make my finicky machine work with me instead of against me.
I added some heart shaped pockets to the front for a little interest.  She's too little for pockets still, but I felt like they added just the right amount of interest without getting too fussy or too sweet.
She says, "Yeah for hearts!" 

Okay, it's probably more like a very loud "Aaaaahhhhhggggghhhhh!" but motherhood provides me with the privilege to interpret as I wish.  And I interpret as, "I love hearts! (and my mommy!)".  So there.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Skinny Jeans! (Week 5, Project 1)

So jeans.  More specifically, constructing them.  Intimidating!  But one day I started studying a pair of purple skinny pants that I love on Baby E, but that are getting a little short and whose knees have seen better/darker days due to a certain little girl's refusal to walk for so long!  But I digress...these purple pants are made from a stretch twill kind of material that made me remember this stretch denim-type material (geez...I should probably invest in Dana's book, huh?) that I've had FOREVER.  And, common theme developing, I decided to just go for it.

I used those purple pants to draft my own pattern, adding to the leg length and forgoeing the front pockets and belt loops (belt loops...really?).  There isn't really a fly either - I just added some extra stitching to the center seam

They are obviously a little low in the back, I'll remedy that on my next pair.  And there will definitely be a next pair.  I'm smitten. 

And my model and I are getting better at working together.  And by that I mean I've learned to bribe her...

Friday, January 25, 2013

Preschool Paintings to Scallop Art (Week 4, Project 2)

M is not very into art.  He gets into structured "projects", but coloring or painting - art for the sake of art - not his thing.  He much prefers the trains/cars/truck/blocks to the easel during any "free play" period of his preschool class.  So imagine my surprise when he started bringing home paintings, of the 4 yr old abstract variety, with some regularity a couple of months ago.  As the stack grew, I knew I wanted to something special to keep &/or display them...and then it hit me...

Scallop art! It's everywhere, but usually in solids like gold or paint chips, so I wasn't sure how it would come out, but I got to cutting while hoping for the best.  I tried using my 2" circle punch but the paper doesn't exactly lie flat after being smothered so liberally with washable paint so I switched it up and just traced the bottom of a cup that is also 2".  Then I cut them by hand. 
Putting it together was pretty simple.  I picked up a big frame from Ikea and just used the paper that comes in the frame as the base for my circles.  I marked the center and where the edge of the matt would be, then drew straight lines vertically and horizontally every 1". 

Then I attached them each with a dot of craft glue, using the lines as my guide.  Over and over and over again.  Actually, it wasn't that bad.  Every four rows or so I'd stop and lay a couple magazines on top until the glue dried.  Since the circles aren't flat, they tend to shift as they get layered, so I found I was able to keep the wiggling under control for four rows, but more than that and things started to get wonky.

I LOVE it.  It reminds me of an Eric Carle illustration.  I made it thinking it would go above the fireplace, but the proportions aren't right...and it may be a little too bright.  And it looks great in M's room.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cork Stamping (Week 4, Project 1)

This falls under the projects-started-without-a-fully-formed-plan category.
I had a few canvas boards, a few wine corks (the REAL cork corks), and the kids were playing nice.
I cut a v shape in the cork, sloppily mixed a few craft paint colors in a dish and got to stamping.

 At some point a certain little girl got a little noisy so stamping with a baby on my lap turned in to baby fingers smudging paint...
When I was about half-way through M got interested so I told him when Sister went down for her nap he could make his own.  I got him out his own canvas board and explained how to use the stamp and left him to it.  I thought he'd stamp randomly but he wanted to make "beautiful rows, just like Mommy's."  (I can't make this stuff up!) 
He did surprisingly well.  He got a little bored at one point so we took turns doing sets of three until he decided my stamping wasn't up to his standards.  When they were finished we laid them side by side to dry.  I think his turned out better than mine - the darker thicker paint, the stamping closer together. 
From there I decided to go in an "inspirational phrase" direction - I figured letters would add interest without detracting from our stamping.

Insert WOMP WOMP here.  I won't even show you what happened to mine.  I tried free-hand - BIG mistake.  So I tried to cover it up and bla bla bla big mess.  I gave up.

But the kid's...I'm happy to report we are both very pleased with the end result.  I got some letter stickers on sale at Joanns and kept it simple.  And awesomeness ensued...

(phrase inspiration from this great print)
I was planning on framing it, but for now I think I'll just put it up in his room as-is.  Simple.  Awesome.  Simply Awesome.  Just like my boy.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Nana's Sweater (Week 3, Project 2)

I and so glad I hoard old clothes! This is the second free top I've made for E this week - all thanks to family members who support my habits and keep my "upcycling" dresser in the basement full.

This sweater was from my grandmother - Nana to baby girl.  It had a collar & 3 buttons at the neck, and pulled in quite a bit at the bottom.  I cut the body of the dress from the original neckline, but used the bottom of the sleeves for a nice poof.  I've been wanted to make a dress with buttons at the back, and decided this was the sweater to do that with. 


I ended up lining the whole body of the dress because I thought the sweater would be too clingy and not fall nicely. I used these weird slinky pants my mom had donated - solved the clingy issue, the neck binding issue, and also added some nice weight to this winter top!
It needed a little interest in the front, so I added a couple inches to the fold when I cut the front and made a couple pleats.  Just enough to keep it from being a bore. 
If she looks like she's about to loose it in the picture above, it's because she is.  Things went downhill quickly from  here.  First she found a dust pile that was really attracted to her hem...
Then she got her hands on the remote...
And finally demanded her favorite accessory, her brother's hat.  (Seriously...she wears it around the house ALL DAY.  Crawls over, shakes it wildly, and then screams - translation: "Put this on my head!!!")

Cuteness.  Although, I could live without the screaming.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Junebug Remix (Week 3, Project 1)

This project's inspiration came from this pin which led me to this post with excellent instructions for a remix of Craftiness is Not Optional's Junebug dress.

It looked a little intimidating - wasn't sure what I was getting myself into - but I dove in and am so happy I did.
Once I had the pattern made the dress (it's really more of a tunic, I guess) came together very quickly.  It helped that I made the dress out of an old ankle length skirt my mom had passed on to me - the seams in the center of the back and the center of the front were part of the original skirt.
This was another free project, actually.  My mom's skirt paired with some hoarded fabric & buttons.
I love the little pockets!  Even though Miss E isn't quite old enough for treasures, yet...
 And this time she was, if only slightly, a more willing model.  I even got a smile:

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Daddy's Buttondown (Week 2, Project 2)

So...I have a new-found respect for sewing bloggers who get such gorgeous shots of their work. 

I underestimated how difficult it would be to photograph clothing...on children...who move...and drool...and cry.

And crawl and wrinkle and...did I say...drool.

I drafted a peasant blouse-ish pattern based off a couple of tops already in her wardrobe and butchered her Daddy's old shirt he had previously donated to me and that I've been hoarding/saving for a future use.

She really doesn't hate it.  I swear. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Terrarium Tuesday (Week 2, Project 1)


I am fully aware that terrariums are all over the place lately (always?).  I am also aware that this means I could very easily have found some lovely inspiration and helpful tips with very little effort, had I tried.

But I've decided that part of what I like about creating is the trial and long as there's not TOO much error.  The creative thinking & the problem solving feel almost/just as good as the pretty-fying. 

There is the thrill that comes of having something to hold in my hands, knowing without me it wouldn't exist, that does me good emotionally - but there's also something to be said for working out my brain in a way that meal planning and time budgeting does not.

And today a small terrarium fit the bill nicely. 


Friday, January 4, 2013

Free Art (Week 1, Project 2)

My mom picked up this framed painting on the side of the road, along with the smallish ornately framed mirror - so, literally, free! 

The painting was a little dull and there was something about it that depressed me a bit.  The frame had really interesting lines and textures, but the finish made it feel dated.  The metallic finish on the mirror's frame made it a bit too "fancy" for my house, but my brain kept seeing it in a flat finish...and made me stash both pieces for probably close to a year...eek!

So while I had the old paint out for the butterfly canvases, I decided to finally do something about these, too.  Baby girl has some seriously bare wall space in her room.  Here's what I ended up with:

The mirror just got a simple coat of flat paint and turned out exactly as I had pictured.  It almost looks like it is handcarved up close, now.    I'm happy.

I'm also really happy with the large frame - the unified color really did modernize the frame.  The initial, however, I'm not totally in love with.  I used painter's tape for the initial, then went over it with a pearly paint I had on hand for a little shine.  In person it does have a nice shimmer, and I like it enough to keep it as-is for now, but it will probably get another makeover at some point.

Behind the scenes: I had to actually get into a little closet under the roofline to get the top "after" shot since the alternate option of running all the way down stairs to change my lens didn't appeal.  My "assistant" held the door for me... 

...and spied on me.  I love that kid.