Friday, April 29, 2011

My Silhouette has arrived

After some months of saving, it's finally here:
That's what my two year-old says whenever he shows me something he thinks is great.

My Silhouette machine arrived in the mail yesterday.  I have to admit that I have no real idea how to use it.  I've tried to read everything carefully so I can be sure I don't mess it up. 

I started with a simple project:
I cut the strawberry out with my Silhouette.  I'm still giddy about the fact that I didn't have to cut 12 of those out by hand.  Sweet!

I decided that the berries alone weren't enough.  The cards were a pre-cut thing so I thought a stamp would be a good way to go since it was too late to use the printer.  I couldn't see a single "you're invited" at the store.  I found this package of sticky stamp letters.  I just picked off the letters I wanted and stuck them on an acrylic base.  Easy peasy.  I'm excited to be able to spell out anything I want and not be limited to what exists already in the stamping world.
I'm hoping that more practice will help me get used to this machine and really let it show me what it can do.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Bedroom Update - part 2 continued

You may remember the sad post about my wall art efforts in my bedroom.  If you don't, you can find them here.

I decided to stick with a simpler idea in hopes of getting better results.

I found a stencil at Hobby Lobby.  I grabbed some white paint and a stippling brush.  I used the same stencil 9 times and made this:
My best advice for stenciling is to use a spray adhesive on the back of your stencil.  It prevents it from sliding around.  It also helps keep paint from getting under the stencil where you don't want it.  You still have to be careful not to use too much paint, but it makes it a lot easier.  

Along with my satisfaction came another disappointment. 
I had seen something called "Looking Glass" paint from Krylon on the Nate Berkus Show.  The demonstrator gave a quick spray of the paint in a vase and "Voila" it had a reflective, mirror-like sheen.  I taped off a mirror for my bedroom and a vase for my kitchen table and got ready to spray.  

[Insert waiting for a day of nice weather here.]

I set my projects on an old sheet on our back lawn.  I sprayed and sprayed and sprayed.  There was nothing but a slight hint of gray.  We returned the can to the store thinking that maybe it was a faulty can.  

[Insert spraying an entire can of "light coats" on my mirror here.]
You could still see through the surfaces of both the mirror and the vase.  I guess it's possible that we got two faulty cans of paint, but I'm not going to spend another 11 dollars to find out - especially since the reverse side of the mirror didn't look at all mirror-like.

To solve the problem of my vase, I painted the inside with Krylon's "Chrome" paint.  We had some leftover from another project.  It wasn't reflective, but it blocked out the flower stems of my arrangement.  I tried the Chrome paint on the mirror, but the "mirror like" spotty surface showed through too much.  It went in the garbage.

Now I have another blank piece of wall art waiting for new inspiration.  Oh, bother.

Friday, April 22, 2011

30 Day De-Stash #30: Easter Bunny

Ah!  The last de-stash craft....

I think I bought the pattern for this bunny two years ago.  It was right before Easter and I wanted to hurry and make one.  I guess something came up because the only thing I finished was the head.  It's been sitting "decapitated"  in my drawer since then.  I knew that now was the perfect time to motivate myself to finish because I had one last craft to do and Easter is on Sunday.
I love all of Owlishly's patterns.  I would buy them all if I could.  I have a hard time spending money on patterns, no matter how cute they are.  If anyone wants to selflessly buy me a pattern, though, I'd totally make you a free doll with it.

You can find her patterns on Esty here or (if you're impatient and want immediate download) here.

I made a few Chester the turkey dolls last year.  They were even cuter.  I just might have to buy Georgie the grapes boy too.

The instructions are pretty easy to follow.  A beginner with some experience could follow it.  My only problem was using embroidery floss to make the hair.  Argh!  I had to cut it off 4 times.  My suggestion would be to make and practice on an extra head  beforehand.  Or buy three things of the floss instead of one...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

30 Day De-Stash #29: Fluffy Middle Bag

I was playing around with some leftover fabric scraps and a fat quarter today and came up with this:
I like the way it looks, but I'm thinking there's probably an easier way to go about making it.  I've picked out a few other fabrics to try again and see.  Stay tuned for a full tutorial.

Only one day left of my de-stash challenge.  I am happy to announce that I now only have as many supplies as I have room for. ah.  Feels good.

30 Day De-Stash #28: Peek-a-boo Toy Sack

Ever since I saw this tutorial, peek-a-boo toy sacks have been on my list of things to make.  I recently rearranged my son's room.  He has some toys that are in the same baskets, but that he likes to play with separately. I figure if he only has to reach in and take out one bag, he won't be toting the whole basket around and making bigger messes (here's hoping, anyway).  I like the "window" on the bag too, so  you don't have to open bags to see what they hold.
I didn't use the same measurements; mine were a bit bigger.  It probably took four yards total of the fabric to make four peek-a-boo sacks.  You could really make them any size you wanted.  I think I'll be making some smaller ones in the future.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

30 Day De-Stash #27: Baby Swim Cap

This hat was supposed to be a bonnet.  I'd already gotten started when I realized that the purple ruffle I planned to use didn't match my purple fabric.  I didn't have enough of the fabric I used to make my own ruffle, so I attached a tiny ruffle instead. 
When I finished the cap, I tried it on my baby and realized that it looked a lot more like an old fashioned swim cap than a bonnet.  So that's what it is.  
It's also too big on her, sadly.  It'll probably fit her in the middle of winter when I won't be able to find a little purple swimming suit to go with it.  Sad.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

30 Day De-Stash #26: Crochet Hook Case

Looks like I have to make two posts today. I started this crochet hook case last night, but it didn't get finished until this morning.   It was a little trickier than I thought to get the idea in my head to become a reality.

With a little patience and a lot of hot glue, I ended up with this:
I have a lot of crochet hooks.  Of some sizes, I have doubles.  A few triples or quadruples if I needed them for a group project of some kind.  I've looked around for a crochet hook holder that could hold them all.  I couldn't find one that even came close.

This holder has a few flaps sewn inside to hold more hooks.  It comes with a pocket for yarn needles and paper clips and another to hold mini-scissors.  In the back are a few big spots for those plastic "speed hooks."  I was happy to find that I even have some extra spots in case I need them.

I made a crochet hook case a while ago and it just never worked.  The hooks were always slipping out.  That's still the case here, sadly, but at least there's a zipper to help keep them in when I'm carrying the case around.

As long as all that glue holds, I think we're in good shape.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

30 Day De-Stash #25: Dish Towels

I've been giving some thought to my dish towels for a while.  All mine look seriously beat up.  I started today's project thinking that I would make a few dish towels that would not be embarrassing to put out when company comes.

As I was sewing, I started thinking about how I sometimes get frustrated that I can't keep things nice around here.  Things get ripped, poked, and colored on all the time.  Then I started thinking about my parents' house.  They keep it super clean all the time.  Except that after the grandkids come and leave hand prints on the windows and fridge, they leave them and enjoy them for a few days.

I decided that maybe instead of a bunch of fancy hand towels, I would make a reminder to appreciate those little hand prints while I've got them.
I made the stencil by tracing my son's hand on freezer paper.

It kind of makes this one that I sewed ribbon on seem like the "less special" towel.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

30 Day De-Stash #24: Cake Stands

My brother got married today.  It was such a big and marvelous part of our day, I almost forgot to do a craft.  Oops!

Since I was about out of time, and certainly out of energy, I jumped on the cake stand bandwagon for my day's de-stash.

Most the ones I've seen use candlesticks and plates.  I had the plates, but not the candlesticks. Instead I had some tea light holders and some random metal stand..  I had my husband break the glass out of the tea light holders and made them the stem of the cake stand.

Gorilla Glue says it works on glass, so that's what I used.  I'll see how it sticks in 24 hours when I take the weights off.

Friday, April 15, 2011

30 Day De-Stash #23: Last Minute Embelishments

I can't even count the number of times that I've spent so much time getting my kids and husband ready for something that I run out of time and go without hair or makeup done.

Turns out the preparations for my brother's wedding reception were like that.  I bought pants and socks for my husband.  I sewed pants and a tie for my son.  You saw a few days ago that I sewed my daughter's dress.  
The problem? I just pulled out a few things I thought would work out of my closet.  Never tried them on.  I just assumed that they would fit and look fine together.

Didn't fit.  Didn't look good.

I ran to the store this morning to find something gray, navy, yellow or white to fit the color scheme.  Since it's spring, all I found was white and yellow.  I left white for the bride and boldly purchased a lemon yellow dress.  Yikes.

By this point, I gave up on looking good and just went for color matching.  I used some tulle to add a little extra length to my dress.  I wanted to stop at the store and get something I liked, but remembered that I couldn't use it as a de-stash project if I did.  I added some melted satin flowers to my dress and shoes and sewed a fleece ruffle cuff.

I was feeling pretty good until I got to the reception and saw that pretty much everyone else found a gray and navy option.  The poor photographer didn't know what to do with me.  Oh, well.

My mom and I were both sporting matching boots.  Hah.  Like mother like daughter.

30 Day De-Stash #22: Red Skirt

I had a few yards of red linen-like fabric in my stash.  I thought a bright red skirt might be just the thing to brighten up my wardrobe.  I didn't have a lot of time today, so I picked this pattern:
McCalls pattern #M5430.  It says one hour on it.  Should be fast and easy, right?

Not so.

This skirt took hours to make.  I didn't even mess up very much.  I'd like to talk to the person who decided that was a one hour project and see them throw that together in an hour.

Luckily, I like it.  So at least there's that.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

30 Day De-Stash #21: Boy Pants

A while ago, I wanted to learn how to create my own pants patterns for my kids.  I came across this tutorial.  I was ready to get out some paper and try it.  Then I saw that she has a 2-3T size pants pattern that she shares for free on her website.  I just used that one, since my son wears 3T pants.  I felt like a cheater, a little bit.  So today, I decided to give it a shot and make my own pattern. 

One of the recommendations I see a lot when making your own patterns for the first time is that you sew a practice one to see how it will turn out before using up nice fabric.  In my stash I had half a blue sheet and figured it would work out great.  It did.

My son saw them, recognized them as being his size and decided to wear them to bed tonight.
He wouldn't pose for a picture.  He's too busy sitting on his dad's face.

My pattern isn't as nice as the one I got from MADE's website, but I'll keep working on it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

30 Day De-Stash #20: Baby Dress

Today's craft is one that has been cut out and ready to sew for weeks.  I just never got back to it until now.  It's meant for baby Chloe to wear to her uncle's reception this weekend, so it's now or never. 

I used a Simplicity "It's So Easy" pattern #2425 to cut out the pieces for the dress.  
I left off the sleeves and the  flounce part on the bottom of the dress.  Instead, I bought a t-shirt to wear under it, and added scalloping like I saw done here at Crafterhours. I love the way the scalloped edge looks.  It's so fun.  
The simple flower is made by layering three fabric circles and scrunching the top one when you sew it together.

Monday, April 11, 2011

30 Day De-Stash #19: Wood Handled Bag

Now that I'm almost 2/3 of the way through my challenge, I've really been looking around my craft space for things that I want to finish most.  The bag I made today was half finished.  I started it during a "sister sewing night," and didn't get it done.  
It comes from a See and Sew Butterick pattern B5448.
I'm planning on using it as my crochet bag.  The one I'm currently using works if I'm using one single, regular-sized skein of yarn.  If I need more than that, it's too small.  Plus I think this looks like a crochet bag.  I can just see some sweet little lady pulling her knitting out of it while she takes the bus home.

The bag wasn't terrible to make, but I'll admit that it wasn't the easiest I've ever made.  Sewing around the handles was tricky.  I would still classify it as a beginner project, but I wouldn't suggest making it as the first thing you ever sew.  
The other suggestion I have is that if you use a thicker fabric, use a very light interfacing.  Mine ended up being a bit thick, and I had to scrunch the fabric down a lot to make any of the handle visible.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

30 Day De-Stash #18: Polka Dot Blanket

A few months ago, The Purl Bee posted their February quilt of the month.  I have to say, I was totally blown away by the method.  I don't know much about quilting methods, and I don't think I would have thought of that in a million years.  I ran right out and bought some fabric to make a quilt for my daughter's big-girl bed (yeah, I know she's not even 5 months old, I got excited).

I decided to make a blanket for an upcoming cousin's baby for today's project.  I had this fabric:
The only fabric I had to match was a plain pink flannel.  The two together didn't seem very personal.  I think I got them on a good sale, but it was late in the week when most of the cuter stuff was gone.

I decided to dress up the pink side using some circles of fabric using a similar method to the one The Purl Bee teaches.  It adds just a little something more.  I hope it makes it a little more special for my cousin and her baby.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

30 Day De-Stash #17: Slippers

Today's craft is the last of my "Pay it Forwards."  In January, a post on Facebook circulated for a few days about agreeing to make a craft for the first five people who commented on it.  You had until the end of 2011, but I had planned on getting mine done by the end of March. I'm a little late, but they're finally done.  This "pay it forward," and two others that were just waiting for a ride to the post office, will go out this week.  It feels good to be done and to have kept a promise.

Sylver Designs has some great crochet patterns for slippers.  She has some for babies, toddlers, youth and adults. I've purchased a few from her and liked them both a lot.  You can check her out for yourself here.

These are the Adult Mary Jane Skimmers I finished up today.

Friday, April 8, 2011

De Stash Giveaway Results

Really, I feel like I'm the winner here.  I've found five happy homes for my stuff.

Hopefully the following individuals feel like winners too:

A: 30 of the same Christmas card (no envelopes) 

 B: 20 random Christmas cards (with envelopes)   
C: 5 Flower hair clips. 

 D: 10 Heart and polka-dot key chain fobs.  
E: 10 Random Holiday Cards (with envelopes) and a bunch of paper scrapbook pictures (mostly My Mind's Eye).
Thanks everyone for playing.  I have another one planned in a few weeks when my 30 days are up.

30 Day De-Stash #16: Monkey Shirt

Last night I was looking through some scrapbook supplies for a craft I'm doing over the weekend.  I saw this sticker:
It made me think of my son.  He's a two and a half year-old sponge and he does everything he sees that looks fun.  Some of it is good, because he's learning to be independent.  Some of it is not so good.

It's also the perfect sticker for him because he has a stuffed monkey that he LOVES.  He carries it around the house and always needs to have it before going to bed.

Next week, I'm giving a demonstration on ways to cover stains on shirts at a church activity.  It was maybe a bit excessive to make a shirt that would give me an example of ALL the ways I plan to show, but here it is:
fabric pens
freezer paper stencils
all in one shirt
I bought this shirt for $1.50 a few months ago. The irony in making it is that my son had never worn it, so it didn't really have any stains.  In covering my "stains" I made a stain while using the black fabric paint.  Those random dots are my method for covering those up.  Oh, well.  At least the project feels like a genuine "display" for my demonstration.

The good news is that "My monkey shirt!" is a big hit with my son.  He tried to take off a boring old striped shirt so he could wear it.  "It's cool," he said.  Next time I won't show him new shirts until the paint is dry.

30 Day De-Stash #15: Fabric Balls

I think this is my favorite way to use up scraps.  It barely takes any fabric and it makes a great toy.  My 5 month old is just starting to grab at them and my 2 1/2 year old still loves to play with them.

You can find the pattern to make three different sizes here.

I love to use fabrics with different textures: silky, fuzzy, smooth, bumpy.  They all add a lot of character.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

30 Day De-Stash #14: Amigurumi penguin

I don't mind keeping full skeins of yarn around.  You can make a lot of different things with one skein of yarn.  It's the little balls I have left after a project that are hard to keep track of.  They're always falling out of my yarn bins and rolling under dressers and tables.

My favorite way to use them up is to make little amigurumi figures.  They take very little yarn, and they're so fun to play with.  My favorite feature of amigurumi is the financial aspect.  Making toys from leftover yarn is SO cheap.  Remember when I made this Elmo for my son?  I couldn't find a similar version for less than $20 at the store.  I just used leftover yarn pieces, so he was pretty much free.  Can't beat that. 

Today, I wanted to get rid of little balls of black and gray yarn.  I used a pattern found in Leisure Arts Easy Crochet Critters found here (I bought mine on Amazon, but they have them in craft stores), and made this little penguin.
I can tell he will fit right in here in our house.  Look where I found him just minutes after I gave him feet.
A penguin after my own heart.
This little lady was something I made a few months ago.  She comes from the same book of patterns too.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

30 Day De-Stash #13: Bean Bags

Phew!  I'm cutting it close today!  Only a few minutes left in the day.

I'm going to share a lot of reasoning for today's project.  I like to think that you probably share a lot of the same feelings.

My whole life, I've struggled with the decision to get really good at a few things or become passably good at a lot of things.  My own educational ADD usually decides for me.  Just when I decide to really work on my writing or to become an awesome seamstress, a sparkly new subject comes along and I get carried off on a new project.  Even with all the changing of minds that happens inside me, I still feel like I'm a long way from considering myself a "well-rounded" person.

My son is 2 1/2 and in the next few years, I'll be in charge of helping him get ready to go to school.  I hate to think that I'll limit him to the things that interest me. I want to help him love learning and discover a variety of possibilities to explore. 

For example, the other day, he told me he wanted to go to the store.  I asked him which one.  He said, "Hobby Lobby."  I really need to take him into some more stores...

Anyway, I've decided on a method of making sure I help my son get a well rounded pre-school experience.  I'll be getting into that more when my 30 crafting days are up, but today I made some bean bags as part of my preparations for that time.
They have colors and shapes using reverse applique.  I like that they not only used up some of my fabric stash, but that I used up some old pinto beans as well.  I'll take de-cluttering from anywhere in the house I can get.

Monday, April 4, 2011

30 Day De-Stash #12: Ruffle Bag

My youngest sister came over today.  A while ago, I made her a bag for a few of her church related books.  A new version of one of the books came out recently, and has a binding.  My sister really had to jam it in the bag to fit.  I told her I'd sew her a new one today for my de-stash project.

I told her she could pick the color.  She picked purple.  I didn't have a lot of purple fabric, but I did have about 8 yards of purple ruffles. 
Pow! That's a lot of ruffles. 
She can pull it off.  She's 14.  And she deserves it.  She's a great kid.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

30 Day De-Stash #11: Craft Stash GIVEAWAY


So far all my de-stashing has been to make crafts from supplies.  Yesterday, I found some crafts I've made in the past that I've never used/ had left over.  I admitted to myself that they had been sitting there long enough.  It's time to see if anyone else might have a use for them.

So today, I'm de-stashing my crafts by having a giveaway. Yay!

Anyone, anywhere can enter, but there are two rules you have to follow.

#1 - You have to make a comment on this post stating which of the five crafts you would be willing to take off my hands.  They are labeled A,B,C,D, and E.  You can state an interest in any or all of them.  (Be sure to include your email so I can contact you if you win.)

#2 - You have to become a follower of my blog in order to win.  Because having followers makes me feel good.

You have until April 8th at 8:00 P.M. (MST) to enter.

As of today, I have 13 followers.  There are 5 prizes.  The odds are in your favor folks.

Chances are that by the time my 30 day challenge is over, I'll have even more stuff to give away, but here's the stuff I'm offering today:

A: 30 of the same Christmas card (no envelopes) must not have sent many out that year.

 B: 20 random Christmas cards (with envelopes)  for the years I only had a few left.
C: 5 Flower hair clips.  Never been used.  I guess I just can't do the big flower on the little baby head thing.
 D: 10 Heart and polka-dot key chain fobs. 
E: 10 Random Holiday Cards (with envelopes) and a bunch of paper scrapbook pictures (mostly My Mind's Eye).

I hope my extras will be your use-fulls!