Thursday, April 28, 2011

Crafty McCrafterson!

I recently discovered that my computer has an SD card drive built in, so I can take the card straight from my camera and put it in the reader and bam, I have pictures. I was even able to set it up so that it saves it in the same order as it was doing by using the computer and the cord. I am SO excited about this. I have to say, the most daunting thing about taking pictures for me is putting them on my computer. The devices don't always chat well, or it takes too long, and my camera is dumb because if I forget to turn it off when I am done (but it is still connected to the computer), it will just stay on indefinitely. And kill the battery. You would think "hey, it's a rechargeable battery that came with the camera. Surely it would charge while plugged in." You would be wrong.
Anyway, I've been crafting up a storm lately. Here is a round up of various items that I've done lately.

These are just in the random order that they uploaded in. So, in no particular order- Claire's Easter basket. I'm still working on Alex's. I wanted to get them both done, but it just didn't happen, so I had to prioritize. Claire's took a lot longer than I anticipated. It involved a lot of hand-stitching and embroidery. That stuff takes time. Alex's is completely different. I'll post pictures when it is done. 
The first of three scenes- Duckies in a pond. I cut the duckies out of a fabric and appliqued them on. The dragonflies are SO cute. I am very proud of them. I think they may be my favorite part of the whole thing. I guess I should have taken a close-up huh? Those darkish spots by the ducks are fish. If you click the picture, it should take you to a larger version, so you can see it better.

Scene 2- Bunny munching a carrot on a hill. His whiskers stick out and his tail is fluffy. He is flannel appliqued to the piece.

Scene 3- aka the boring side. It's just a bunch of flowers. I was out of ideas. And a bee.
 Next up- my messenger bag! I made this before our trip to CA/AZ. It took me many hours, lots of seams being ripped out, and I've actually adjusted it just this past week. I added some interior straps with buckles, so I can clip it to the stroller. Genius, if I do say so myself. I made it specifically to be large enough to hold my laptop, but have lots of pockets to double as a diaper bag. Most of the time, it is our diaper bag. Now that we have Grant with us during the day, I don't go out much with the kids, and when we do, I'm packing for three now, so it comes in handy. It is about 18" long by 13" tall by 6" or so wide when it is stuffed to the brim. It has a divider inside, mainly so that my laptop has it's own place when I am using it for that purpose, 4 pockets on the divider, two outer pockets, a zip closure, and buttons to hold the flap down. I do have a few adjustments I would make for next time, but overall, I'm happy with how it turned out. But it's my first bag and I learned A LOT about sewing with this project. I followed a pattern with alterations to make it exactly what I wanted (which took a LOT of thinking), used fabric that I had, and worked my butt off.
I don't know why I can't rotate it, but this is the exterior of the bag.

And the unrotated, stuffed to the brim interior. It is still packed from church, which is why it is so full. Those books at the front are in one of the pockets. That blue fabric is the interior divider.
 Next up is my first skirt. I mentioned I bought fabric for myself a while back, and this is the first thing to come out of that. It's cute enough. It isn't what I was imagining at first, but I had a really rough time finding a free pattern/tutorial that was what I wanted. I ended up mashing a few different things together to get the right combination of length and shape. I've worn it to church once and enjoyed it, so I guess I'll keep it. I'm still playing with tearing it apart and seeing if I can fix it better, but I tore it apart several times already. The problem I have is the fluff at the hips. But again, it was fun, I learned a lot, and I shirred for the first time (that is where you put elastic thread in the machine and get that bunchy fabric look).
I don't usually wear it with that shirt. It's just what I had on.

The fabric pattern. Cute spots. I really like it.
 Before my trip, I also went a little crazy making zipper pouches. I have to say, I was a little obsessed. Okay, a lot. I made 4, all in varying sizes. This one turned out really well. But I always have problems finding enough bags. I like to compartmentalize when I pack. These really helped.

I am quite proud of this one because a) it has not one but FOUR zippers and b) each of those zippers are their own compartment and c) the pattern matched up SO perfectly and d) I designed it myself.
 Years and years ago, we got a puppy. His name is Tanner. We also had this blanket, that Alann's mom painstakingly quilted with embroidery floss. The floss would break (because it was Alann's FAVORITE blanket) and someone (not sure who that would be) taught the dog to pull the broken threads out. Not intentionally. It just happened. In my defense (oops, now you know it was me!), I didn't realize at the time what I was doing or how much effort, love, work, sweat, and probably blood had gone into the quilting process. I can't say I've ever owned a quilt not bought in a store. I can easily say that the only handmade blanket I personally own was knitted or crocheted by my deceased grandmother when I was 8ish. It lived in a plastic bag until I was a lot older, and then was chewed on by a dog, clumsily repaired by me, moved to MO and then UT and then MO again, lived on Claire's reading chair for a while until she took to poking her fingers through the holes, and now is unceremoniously draped on the rocking chair in our bedroom. Long story short, I told Alann I would fix his favorite blanket. And I finally did. It's good it took my so long, because I've learned a lot about sewing since the damage happened. I ended up taking the binding off, taking all the threads out, requilting it by machine (a pain! My machine is tiny), and putting the binding back on. It's not perfect, but it's done, and he can't guilt me about it anymore.
Alann's blanket. He is glad to have it back.

This is the laptop sleeve I made to go with my awesome messenger bag. It's padded and closes with those cute buttons.

A cute springy hat

Up close hat. I love that butterfly fabric. I wish I had more. I barely had enough for this hat.

What on earth could this be?

Oh, it's a wipe case that I covered with scraps of fabric and some padding to make it look awesome! I did this the night before I left for CA because I was super stressed, everything was packed, and I knew I wouldn't be sleeping anyway. It didn't take much time at all. It's all hot-glue.
 Next up, our Easter attire. I made Claire a dress from one of Alann's old button-down shirts. He didn't like it, didn't wear it, so I took it. It looks way cute.
Here's the dress. Ruffles on the bottom, elastic shirred waist, totally my creation sleeves. It was fun, not as hard as I thought, and turned out pretty decent for my third garment ever.

And what would Easter be without a matching bowtie for the boy? It was so easy, and turned out so cute. I love it!

Some cute kids.
Lastly, I just finished a fabric wallet for our cash budget system. Basically, we use cash for all of our consumables, broken into various categories to ensure that there is always money for things like diapers and dog food. I am not trustworthy with Cash. If it isn't labeled, it goes wherever it wants. So I was trying to design a wallet with about 12 cash slots that will hopefully not be much bigger than a standard wallet, including a zippered coin slot. I can't find anything like what I want anywhere- not the crafting blogs, not etsy, not retail. So I am having to do a lot of creating myself. (That's what I usually do anyway. I love to find inspiration pieces, but then I end up making lots of changes anyway. It's a problem I have. When I can't sleep at night, I craft in my head and work out whatever tough spots I have encountered- how that piece needs to be lined up with this piece and the way it will look when finished.) Anyway, I was working on that, and then decided I didn't like the way it was coming together. I found a pattern for a "loyalty card holder"- basically a little pouch with some dividers in it. I was suddenly struck with inspiration. I printed the pattern, enlarged it to fit cash-size envelopes, and then created paper envelopes for my categories. That was kind of fun. I'm not much of a scrapbooker, but it was fun to work with paper for a change. I made the holder and the envelopes fit inside it perfectly. It's cute, and I made a matching change purse so I quit throwing change in my purse. It's small enough to fit in my purse (which I've downgraded to itty bitty lately!) and I won't lose it because it is quite colorful.(Now contemplating making a new wallet. Or downgrading to a different wallet that I have. Not sure what to do actually. I bought the big one when I was writing checks. I don't do that anymore. I could really take the checkbook out. But then I have no reason to keep such a big wallet. I need to think it through.)

the cute envelopes

everything together

all closed up. You can see it isn't too big.

So, what's next you ask? I still have fabric for two skirts (and patterns I picked up at Joann for 99 cents each. Score!)
I need to finish Alex's Easter basket
I also have plans for a smaller diaper bag- I'm thinking messenger style, enough room for 4-6 dipes and that lovely wipe case featured earlier, plus snacks and maybe pouchy-things on the sides for sippy cups. We are entering that phase in life where we don't really need much for Alex or Claire when we go out. So I want to be able to downsize when it is just us.
I also have a scripture bag planned. This is elaborate. I'm not sure I can complete it with the fabric I have. I may need to watch for a good sale at joanns. The outer needs to be solid or understated pattern in a home decor weight fabric (for durability). I'm planning on it being big enough in the main area for my lesson manual and a notebook (which is what I teach from), plus a pocket for the Sunday school class manuals. Then there will be a separate zippered pocket on the front for my scriptures, and next to or above that (depending on final layout) another zippered pocket for random supplies- tape, chalk, whatever. Some slots for my pen and scripture pencil and a zippered pouch/slot/pocket for my tithing receipts (which I looked in my bag the other day and I have from 2009 to current. Redic. Need to clean it out). And of course a nice adjustable strap, preferably padded. Right now, I end up going to church with the diaper bag, my teaching bag (which holds my manual, supplies, and notebook), my scripture bag, two blankets, two babies, any coats or sweaters they may need. I look and feel like a pack mule. So I'm hoping to downsize a bit. And it will be convenient to have all my stuff in one place. I'm also working on something called SOAP, which I will detail in another post, so having that notebook would be good too.
Let's see, I also have a few refashions to do- jeans that need hemming up. The purple/yellow dress I am wearing in the Easter pictures needs some help. It was good when I bought it- pre-Claire. I really love it. It was expensive. But, now, as a mom, I feel it is a touch too short. It covers my knees, but I have youngins. Monkey youngins. There is occasional flashing. And it really bothers me that it has no sleeves. It came with that cute sweater, but it feels wrong to wear it in summer because it is a knit sweater. And it's too springy to wear in fall. So I get very little use out of it. (Oh, and I've been pregnant for two springs, so yeah, I've worn it maybe 10 times since I bought it.) So I have big plans. I have more purple fabric that I used on Claire's dress. I am planning on taking off the bottom trim that the dress has now (and is purple) and adding a new trim that is 2-3 inches longer. Then I am going to create some sleeves from the same purple fabric. And if I can, finding new ribbon for the belt, because the darn cat has put holes in the ribbon it came with. I have to tie it specifically to hide the holes. Then, I can wear it in summer, or spring, or possibly fall if I feel adventurous, with or without the sweater, and be comfortable in it. That's my plan anyway. It's intense. I also have two shirts that I want to adjust- the first is really cute, but it is double layered in the front, and there is LINT in between the layers. Lame Target, Lame. So I need to open up the layers, get all the lint out, possibly serge the raw edges (if that is where the lint is coming from), then redo the bottom. I also have another shirt that has a cute neckline with some fabric flowers, but they didn't tack down the underside of the knit, so when I wash it, the inside of the shirt comes up and out the neckline and it just looks lame. That should be simple- just sew a line to hold down the lining, but hide it within the design of the shirt. (already did this since I wrote this post).
And the couch covers. I have the stuff. I just haven't done it yet. But when the dogs start shedding, I am reminded of why I want to cover the couch again.
I think that's about it. I'm not sure what order I will be tackling these projects in. I think the wallet goes first, because it is desperately needed, followed by the shirts. Then, I dunno. Wherever inspiration takes me.

1 comment:

Teene said...

I need a couch cover - you can add that to your list :)

Good to see your sewing is coming along - everything looks great.
I love how long Claire's hair is getting.
Miss you all. I have some great pics of you 4 from the wedding I'll print out and send to you. Maybe on a cd too.