Thursday, March 31, 2011

30 Day De-Stash #8: Crocheted Baby Hat

One quick and easy baby gift I like to make is a crocheted hat.  If you use a thick yarn, you can whip one out lickety split.  Today I made this one, then added one of the flowers I made on day 6:
If you don't know how to crochet, I encourage you to learn.  It's one of my favorite things to do.  It's relaxing (usually).  It allows you to make inexpensive but awesome gifts. It's fulfilling to take a ball of yarn and turn it into something you can be proud of.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

30 Day De-Stash #7: Pleated Knit Scarf

Ashley, at Make it and Love it, gives a tutorial for the "Pleated Knit Scarf" found here.  In it, she says that after you have worked with knit a few times, you'll learn to love the stuff.

I'm still waiting for that moment.

I've only tried sewing with knit a few times and it's still tricky. I bought a "jersey" needle for my machine and that helped.  I think having a machine whose tension knob is merely a decoration doesn't help either.

I almost cheated today with the no-purchase rule.  I ran out of gray thread a while ago and never bought more.  I knew that my seams weren't going to be pretty and didn't want them to show up.  I finally decided to keep to the rules of the game and used a dark gray/blue thread.  I figured that would have to do. 

The scarf is prettier when you put it on.  The pleats sort of bulge out like ruffles.  I just didn't want to take a picture of a gray scarf on my brown shirt and I was too lazy to change (or comb my hair).  You can check out Ashley's scarf on her blog and see just how cute this scarf can be.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

30 Day De-Stash #6: FLOWERS

I'm only 6 days into my challenge and three of them have involved making flowers. Hah!  I think I must have springtime on the brain.  I'm excited for some flowers to be growing in my yard.  Until then, I'll settle for some more fabric flowers.

There are a zillion (or so) tutorials out there for making flowers.  I like to look around and get ideas, then adapt them a little to the supplies and needs that I have.

Today, I made these.
I put a few of the flowers I made on chains.  I've got plans to put a few more on hair clips. 

Flowers are great to put on headbands, hair clips, necklaces, crocheted hats, decorations for the house...and on and on and on.

Whip up some fabric flowers of your own and I bet you start to find a million ways to use them too.

To give you a head start on navigating your way through all those flower tutorials, here are a few that are similar/the same to flowers I made:

This is me, sporting my birthday necklace.  I gave it to myself.  How sweet of me.

Monday, March 28, 2011

30 Day De-Stash #5: FABRIC GIFT BAGS

Today is my favorite de-stash day yet.  It used up all this:
I try to re-use paper gift bags as much as I can.  I figure it's better for the environment and it saves money.  I hate budgeting $25 dollars for a gift and having to spend 3-5 of it on the wrapping.  Lately, I've gotten a bit desperate for gift bags.  I have some Christmas ones and a few kid-birthday ones.  I've run out of wedding and baby bags.

I like the idea of fabric bags as a longer lasting alternative to paper.  I just hate making them. By the time I finish a project to give, I don't feel like making another project to wrap it in.

Yesterday, I came across some striped fabric my mom had given me.  It was left from when she cut the bottom off some curtains she'd bought and shortened to fit her windows.  The bottom edges were already finished so all I had to do was sew up the three sides and they were done.  I just added a ribbon and wrapped up a baby gift I had ready.
I sewed a few more bags from the leftover striped fabric.  Soon, I wondered what else I could make into a bag.  I found:

Some old tank tops.  Just sew up the bottom.  They even have handles!
 Some receiving blankets.  I think they must be made to "receive" smaller babies than mine, because these never are big enough to swaddle my babies.
  A towel I had used a piece of.  As well as a crocheted rectangle.  I had started crocheting a project only to realize that my yarn (while the same dye lot) was different colors and never did unravel it.
 I also used up some fleece and felt to make a few bags. 

I used only fabric that wouldn't fray so I didn't have to finish any edges.  Slightly crooked lines are no big deal either.  It's nothing fancy, but it was quick and easy.  It also took my extra stash in one room and helped re-stock my empty gift bag bin.

I've seen a lot of people sew ribbon into one of the seams near the top so they have a permanent way to tie the bag shut.  I decided to leave it off so I could use the ribbon to make each bag match a specific situation.

I feel a little "greener" today, knowing my gift bags will probably be used again and again.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

30 Day De-Stash #4: FABRIC FLOWERS

Sundays are great days to cheer someone up with flowers.  There aren't any growing around here yet, so today's de-stash was to make some fabric flowers.  There are a lot of ways to make them.  I followed the tutorial found here.  It's pretty easy, though I have to admit: the last flowers I made were the best.  A little practice helped.  I also had a harder time working with knit.  I'll avoid it next time.

I was cheered just making these happy flowers.  We've had snow three times in the last week or so, and a little Spring cheer goes a long way. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

30 Day De-Stash #3: I SPY BAG

I have never made an I spy bag before.  They were really popular for a while and then I haven't seen them much since.  I spy bags are great for cleaning out old buttons and random items: pennies, army guys, pom poms, little animals, Barbie accessories, etc.

To make an I Spy bag, you'll need to acquire 12-25 items that will fit in a bag.  You'll need a bit of flexible, but durable vinyl.  You can get it for a small price at the craft store or product packaging (think those bags that sheets and blankets come in).  You'll need some polyfill beads or rice.  You'll also need a small about of fabric.
I made this I spy bag about 7" by 7."  You can make them square, like mine, or you can do some like those found here.
I found a fun idea here about putting a pocket on the side for housing the I spy find list.  I forgot to put mine on like she did and had to stitch one on by hand after.

I also like the idea of taking a picture of the items in the bag for kids who can't read.

This one was for a gift and I only had time to make one before I had to go, but I have the stash to make 2 more, so I'll have to get those done too. The trick will be getting my son to share it with me so I can do some finding too.

Friday, March 25, 2011

30 Day De-Stash #2: RAG RUG

Rag rugs are the ultimate stash busters.  They can use up a LOT of fabric.  They're a great way to use up old sheets for rugs in laundry rooms and playrooms where a durable rug is useful but doesn't need to be super fancy.

Rag rugs take more fabric than I supposed.  I had this much fabric, torn into 1- 1 1/2" strips (It's a great workout for your arms, by the way).
I crocheted for over an hour and realized the rug wouldn't be as large as I wanted.  I added another ball of fabric to see if that would help.  It still wasn't as big as what I hoped it would be.  I even threw in a little yarn.  Nope. My problem when I got to the end of my fabric strips was that I had planned for a bigger rug and ended up with a long, skinny rectangle. 

I was on a deadline for making my day #2 post.  I also didn't feel like re-doing it.  I admit that I got a bit desperate.  I took scissors and cut my long rectangle into three pieces.  I put them together to make a smaller shape that could go by my front door.
At this point, I had just used my last pieces of fabric to crochet around the outside of the rug to keep all the loose pieces together.  Because I cut through rows of knots, I'm going to have to do some extra work to secure all the ends.  Even after I do that, it won't be even and pretty enough at the sides for me to want to use it (where people will see it).  

So my plan is to dig through my fabric and see if I can find enough of one kind of matching fabric to make a large bias tape type edge for the rug.  Think that will work?

One thing I liked about my rug was that I would occasionally put a piece of leftover trim in with the fabric.  It allowed me to use up some of my stash, and at the same time give the rug a little personality. 

A lot of people make 1 1/2" strips and use the big "Speed" hook.  I wanted to keep my knots a little smaller so I used a size N hook and single crochet to make the rug.  

I feel bad that it's only day 2 and I didn't get my project all the way done.  I promise to show you the finished project when it's done.  Soon.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

30 Day De-Stash #1: BABY HEADBANDS

Whenever my mom gives me clothes for my kids, I try to make sure that I dress them in those outfits when my mom is going to see them.  I think it makes grandmas happy to see their generosity in action.  My mom is going to babysit for me in an hour, so we're getting all dressed up:
When I put the shirt on her, I noticed the flower on the shirt would make a cute flower for a headband.  I got out some foldover elastic, thread, glue, and felt and whipped up this headband to match.

I also made this one to go with the dress I am sewing for the upcoming navy and yellow wedding:
I got inspired to use foldover elastic from this blog.  She posted about baby headbands and accessories just the other day.  You can find foldover elastic on etsy and ebay quite easily.  It should also be at your local craft store.  

I think it works better to use felt that has some wool in it.  It's sturdier, easier to sew, and doesn't stretch.  It's also more expensive, so you may just want to stick with the acrylic.

Day one is complete. I picked an easy one for today because I have a big one planned for tomorrow.  Day 2, here I come!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

De-stash and no Cash - a 30 day Challenge

I came up with a challenge for myself a few hours ago.  A 30 crafts in 30 days de-stash challenge.  

I have been trying to de-clutter the house by getting rid of all the things we don't need.  I told my husband he needs to de-junk.  Since my craft room tends to be the most cluttered space in the house, my husband asked, "What are you going to do to de-junk your crafts?"

I told him that I don't need to de-junk my crafts.  I NEEEEEEEED all those things.  Still, I wanted to think of a way to de-clutter by using up some of the things I keep because "I might need them for a craft someday."

I had to set some rules for myself.  
1.  I can only use supplies I already own.  I can't buy ANYTHING to make any of the projects.
2.  I have to blog about the one craft each day for 30 days.
3.  I have to start tomorrow (March 24).

I'm not quite sure what I'm getting myself into. I'm feeling pretty excited though. Wish me luck.  

Why not join me?  Not for 30 days.  But one day.  Or a few days.  Support Spring Cleaning and put your stash to good use.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Velcro Money Cuff

Another contribution for Celebrate the Boy 2011 at MADE, was this money cuff. What a great idea. My son is just starting to learn about the powers of money and I can imagine how heartbroken he would be if even a single quarter got lost when he was out and about.Christie at a Lemon Squeezy Home shares two version of the money cuff. One made with a zipper and one with Velcro. I didn't have any zippers at the moment I read the post, so I went with Velcro. This is my son asking if he can go and play with his friends instead of posing for a picture. I left off the sour-faced-reaction picture from when I told him he couldn't.

I made two cuffs for my son. One to hold his money, and one for our emergency kit. He's two and still working on complete sentences. Even if he knew all the information he'd need to get back to mom and dad, he'd be too shy to tell it. We would have one lost little guy on our hands if we got separated. I figure I can stick some emergency info. on a paper in the cuff and slap it on his wrist in an emergency. If anything happens, he'll have a way to let others know where he belongs.

Hey, you may even want to use it the next time you take your kids to the zoo.

I didn't want to be left out of the fun. I used the same concept to make myself a cuff. I left off the money pocket part because I'm always carrying around a diaper bag anyway. Just add .5 or 1 inch to the fabric length when you cut it out and you have a great cuff to embellish as you please.

Baby Boy Cap

I was a little late getting into the Celebrate the Boy at MADE. They were almost wrapped up before I discovered it a few weeks ago. I was really happy to come across it on the day the "He's All Boy" Baby Cap was featured.
I really have no words to express how much I love this cap. Not only is it adorable, but it can be made from just a couple of upcycled shirts.

I bought an extra large plaid shirt from the thrift store for $5. I had the gray t-shirt. I was able to cut out and make 4 caps from the two shirts. Four hats for five dollars!

The pattern is for a 0-3 month old. You can find the pattern and tutorial here. I think you could easily enlarge it for an older baby.

Is it wrong to cross my fingers that I have another boy so that I can make him a Boy Cap? I think not.

My Own Face Shirt

My son is one proud big brother. He loves to poke, squeeze, and snuggle his baby sister. I decided to help him show off his feelings by making him this shirt:
He calls it his "me shirt."

I followed the instructions for making a freezer paper stencil found here.

It took me a while to find a photo that had the shadows that worked. This is the original:I cut the design out by hand. It seems like it would take a long time, but it wasn't bad. In fact, I bought blank shirts for everyone in the family so they can have a fun shirt too.

If you happen to have a Silhouette machine, go to this tutorial to find out how to make your stencil using your machine.

Need some help with the freezer paper? Try here and here.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Boys Tie Pattern

I posted a while back about using a men's tie to make a boy's tie. Here's the tutorial for that at Hideous! Dreadful! Stinky!

I made a few ties for my son with that tutorial and thought they turned out great. You can see mine if you scroll to the bottom of this other post.

My brother is getting married next month and his bride had chosen gray, navy and yellow for her colors. We're all getting outfits ready to match. My son (wearing 4T and my nephew 6-8ish) are supposed to have matching ties.

I've been using thrift store ties for my son's ties. I knew the chances of finding one yellow and navy tie that I liked was slim. The chance of finding two of the same tie was pretty much impossible. So, I took a men's tie and a tie I had made for my son and did some measuring to create a pattern. It all came together to make this tie:
You'll need:
Fabric for tie - about 1/4 yard
Fabric for lining - about a 10"x5" scrap
interfacing (if using a thin fabric) about 1/4 yard
3" Velcro

The whole project can be done without a sewing machine.
This makes a 12" long tie. The neck band is 15" finished. Make adjustments on length as you need.

Step 1: Cut out all pattern pieces. Label the piece that is 2 1/2 x 4" "knot." I forgot to label that one (sorry.)

Pin the pieces to your fabric and cut them out. If you have a directional pattern to your fabric, be sure to lay out your pieces so everything is going the same way. The knot piece needs to have the 4" side going up and down the same direction as the tie pieces.

You'll see below that I had to get creative to make a navy and yellow tie. I decided on some bright yellow fabric for tie part. The lining piece in the back will be navy. I couldn't find any yellow and navy fabric I liked. I had to add the dots myself.
Step 2: If you decided to use some interfacing with your fabric, now is the time to cut it out and iron it on your tie pieces. (Note that you won't need to use interfacing on the lining pieces.) My fabric was fairly thick, so I decided just to cut a tie shaped piece of interfacing for the center of the tie.

Step 3: Iron all the folds indicated by dotted lines on your pattern pieces. For most of them, it's a 1/4" width.

Step 4: Take the pressed BIG and SMALL tie lining pieces and place them wrong sides together with the BIG and SMALL tie pieces. Pin the "V" shape.

Step 5: Using a matching strand of thread (I used navy), make some small "invisible" stitches to sew the pieces together.
Step 6: You see on the picture above how the sides have been pressed at 1/4"? Fold that in. Now take the two sides and fold them to the center, to form a straight line. Press. Turn the tie over and make sure you it looks even. You might need to adjust it a bit.
Step 7: Take a matching thread (I used yellow) and make small stitches and sew the two sides together up the center. Be sure not to stitch through to the front of the tie.

Do both the SMALL and BIG tie pieces the same way.

Did you notice that all of a sudden I have some blue spots on my tie? I used Wonder Under to attach them to the BIG tie. Step 8: Place the SMALL tie piece behind the BIG tie piece and stitch them together across the top. I wasn't paying attention and put my SMALL piece backwards. Don't do that. You'll have to unpick it like I did.Step 9: Turn the tie over and scrunch it up. I tried to make mine have a 'W' shape so it would look uniform coming out of the knot. Take your needle and thread, and stitch through that knot several times to keep it scrunched.Step 10: The knot. I have to tell you, the knot is the tricky part. It sometimes takes me a lot of work to get the knot "just right." You can do it; stick to it.

First, fold the knot piece like you see in the picture below. Just like a regular tie knot. Once you get it how you like it, press it.
Step 11: Flip your knot over and open up the top fold. Place your tie, face down, on your knot. For extra security in attaching the tie to the knot, you can make some stitches attaching the tie part to the bottom fold of the knot. Again, be sure not to let your stitches go through to the front.
Step 12: Fold the two sides of the knot around the tie. Tuck the edge of one of the sides over to hide the unfinished edge.
Tuck the stuff that sticks up down into the knot. Turn your tie over and give it your final approval before you stitch.

Once you have the knot just how you like it, make stitches to sew it all together. Don't forget to make some of those stitches go through the tie part so the tie and knot are secure. You can be a little messy with this step. No one will see this part.

Step 13: Make the neckband. Alternately, you can use ribbon or something else to make this part. Take your long neckband strip. Press the lengthwise sides down 1/4" on each side. Then fold in half and press again. Stitch across the length of the fabric to keep it closed.
Take the Velcro and cut it in half lengthwise (so it's still 3" long, just half as wide.) Fold the end of your band down about 1/4" and tuck it under one of your strips of Velcro. Stitch it in place. Do the same with the other piece of Velcro on the other side of the band.
Hand stitch the tie in place at the center of the neckband.

You're finished. Phew! If you want a shorter tie, you should be able to adjust it pretty easily. Don't worry about changing the size of the knot though. No matter what length of tie I've made, that 4" knot looks just right. Want to make some of those pants while you're at it? Get the free pattern and tutorial here.