Sunday, February 13, 2011

If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride...

If I were given three wishes, the first would be for extra time. There needs to be 28 hours in a day. That would give me 4 additional hours to get stuff done. What would I do with that extra time? Sew of course!

Life is keeping me very busy lately. Kids, work, school, husband, housework....all the typical things. Unfortunately, it hasn't left much time for sewing and creating.

But I still keep adding to my creative to-do list. I have a little notebook that I write things in and I have a bookmarks folder that I dump links into every time I stumbled onto something interesting.

Recently I've decided that I'm going to start scheduling time in
to my week to tackle some of the things on my wish list. If this means that the floor doesn't get mopped as often as I would like or the pile of papers on the counter sits for an extra day or two, then so be it. Sewing is like therapy, and my soul (and my sanity!) is in need of a little creative TLC.

So what's on my creative wish list? Well, I thought I'd share a few of the things I'm dying to tackle.

First off, there is the Amy Butler Blossom Handbag that I found posted over at SewMamaSew:

Isn't it divine? I've already purchased everything I need for this one and I'm hoping (crossing my fingers!) to get started on it today. I wanted fabrics that are funky and fun, and this is what I came up with:

The top fabric will be the outside, the bottom will be the inside.

Next on my list....skirts. I love to wear skirts. Last year I got Sew What! Skirts for Christmas and I have yet to make anything out of it.

The other day I was at JoAnn and stumbled across this fabric:

It has "me" written all over it. I picked up enough to make a skirt for me and a matching one for my daughter.

And speaking of my daughter....she's going to be 7 this summer (I can't believe it!), but she still loves to wear pretty dresses. In fact, she prefers dresses and skirts to shorts. Once again, I found a great tutorial on SewMamaSew (LOVE that site!).

Isn't it cute? I wish my 36-year old self could wear something that cute and comfortable and not look ridiculous.

These are just three of the many, many projects I've got floating around in my brain. I'm hoping by putting my grand plans out in the universe will force me to actually make the time to do them!

What projects are you dying to take on?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Better Late Than Never!

January is almost over....and I'm just now posting about my Christmas crafts. It was a slim year in Handmade Gift Land at my house. Unfortunately, my crafting/sewing time was very limited this year.

But there was one holiday item that I just had to make....the annual Christmas jammies. A lot of people have a tradition of new pajamas at Christmas and our family is no exception. My mom always made us new jammies at the holidays.

My sister and I in some of our Christmas nightgowns. Like the sleeping caps? My mom must have watched too many episodes of "Little House on the Prairie."

We always had the same Christmas Eve routine: church, drive around and look at lights, go home and open one gift. And the gift was always the same: the new jammies. But it didn't matter that we knew what it would be...we were always excited to open them and see what my mom had made that year.

I had to look really hard this year to find a fabric that both a 6-yr old "girly girl" and an almost 9-yr old boy would like. What I came up with was this holiday flannel:

This year I decided to go the easy route and make a simple elastic waist pull-on lounge pant.

For the tops, I purchase two t-shirts, one red and one green, and decided to applique their first initial on it. I drew a big "A" and a big "B," then traced them onto the back of some Heat-N-Bond and ironed the letters onto the t-shirts. Next, I went around the letters with a zig-zag stitch.

I think they turned out really cute!

And my kids LOVED them!

Happy Belated Holidays!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Coming Up for Air/Holiday Goodies

So much for keeping up my blog! This past semester really kicked my "you know what!" In addition to teaching three math classes at a nearby high school, I was taking classes of my own, and trying to study for the "math test from hell," which would label me as "highly qualified" to teach secondary math in the state of AZ. Oh, and throw in the normal, everyday household and child-rearing stuff. And since I wasn't quite busy enough....I was training for a 1/2 marathon.

Sanity? Saaaaanityyyyyyyyyyyyy! Where aaaaaaaaaaarrrrreeee yoooooouuuuu?!?

Oh! There you are....buried in my crap storage sewing room!

Now here we are, on a two week winter break. The 1/2 marathon is run (2 hrs and 18 mins!), the monster test is taken (and passed....woo hoo!), and I'm not taking any classes at the moment. Time to catch up on some projects!

And the first one to tackle was teacher gifts. I pulled out two of my most fave tutorials.

First, the lanyard tutorial from my dear friend Tracey over at sew.simply.creative. I've used this one many times now, and it's always a crowd pleaser!

I let my kids go through my "stash" and choose the fabrics that they thought their teachers would like. This is what we ended up with:

Next, I pulled up my other favorite tute, the tea wallet from Is It Naptime Yet? I used the fabrics my kids chose, paired with coordinating fabrics. Then I filled them with a variety of teas.

And of course you need something to drink the tea out of! I just love these reusable mugs that have that coffee shop "paper cup" look with the convenience of a dishwasher-safe plastic!

And we all know one of the best (and most important!) parts of gift giving is the presentation. I found these adorable apple ornaments at JoAnn fabrics, so I added the teacher's names on the front and a message from my kids on the back and used them as the gift tag. The gift bags are just basic drawstring bags made from some cute Christmas fabrics.

I think they turned out quite nice and the teachers loved them!

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Where Oh Where Has My Little Blog Gone?/Chicken Little

SOS!!!! My blog has been hijacked by life!!!

I know, I know. I said that when summer rolled around, I would get back to it. Well......

Summer was CRAZY busy around here. Camping trips, Disneyland, Las Vegas, swim just flew by too quickly. My kids have been back in school for just over a month, and life doesn't seem to be slowing down. I'm still taking classes working toward my teaching certificate, and just last week I started teaching two math classes as a long-term substitute for the same school I subbed at in the spring. So once again, my plate is full.

But I have missed sewing and crafting, and I have really missed sharing it all here on this blog. So I am still going to try to keep it going. My projects may not be as big and my posts probably won't be weekly, but I'll still be around and I hope you will be too!

Chicken Little

My mother is an avid yard-saler/thrift-storer/antiquer (I think I just made up those words). She always finds the best things, and she has more stuff than she knows what to do with (I'm going to send American Pickers to her house one of these days....). So anytime I go to her house for a visit, I shop. And I always end up coming home with a box/car load of stuff (much to my husband's dismay).

This summer when I was there, I saw these chickens hanging out on the buffet table in her dining room.

And I suddenly had to have them. Don't know why...I don't collect chickens. I just really liked them. She picked these up at a yard sale. Someone, somewhere, sometime carefully hand-stitched these.

So I kidnapped these and brought them home. Now to display them. I started with a frame that I picked up for 1/2 price at JoAnn's.

Next I grabbed some burlap from my "stash" that I had left over from who knows what and my trusty glue pot.

I removed the matting from the frame, and then using hot glue, I covered the cardboard insert with the burlap.

Then I placed my chickens on the burlap, using a little piece of tape on the back to just hold them in place while I put the frame back together.

It took about 10 minutes from start to finish and I think it's quite a cute addition to my kitchen hanging above my baker's rack (another thrift store project!)

What do you think?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Missing In Action

I know, I know. I've been Missing in Action....for about a month. So why I did I just drop off the grid? Well, where do I start?

A few months ago, I decided that I'm ready to re-enter the work force. Both of my kids are now in school all day, and although I have lots to do and can keep myself busy, I was feeling a little lost. So I took steps toward doing something that's always been in the back of my mind....get my teaching certificate. I have a B.S. degree (writing B.S degree always makes me much of college really was BS!) in Civil Engineering, which means I have a bazillion math credits. One class shy of a Math minor. So what do I want to teach? High School math, of course.

First thing I did was obtain my Substitute Teaching Certificate, thinking I could sub a couple days a week to pay for my classes.


A good friend of mine is head of the math department at a high school not too far from my house. They had a math position open up when the long-term sub in that class just didn't work out. Did I want the position? I would have been dumb to pass up the opportunity.

The long and short of it: I am now teaching 3 Geometry classes and 2 freshman Honors Algebra classes until the end of the year. It's hard...but rewarding. I'm their third or fourth teacher this semester, and they certainly have tried to get to me. I have one class full of horribly behaved challenging kids that might drive me to drink, but there are enough great kids that I'm really enjoying it. Plus I can count my hours in the classroom toward some of my coursework on my teaching certification.

So right now, I'm working full-time and taking classes. Doesn't leave much time for sewing. :( But when summer comes around, and the school year ends, I'll be back at it!

Wish me luck and Happy Sewing!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Wrap It Up! A Reusable Sandwich Wrap Tutorial

This is only my second attempt at a tutorial (my first, a hooded towel tutorial, can be found here), so bear with me!

Today, we tackle what has become an invaluable item in our house: the reusable sandwich wrap. As I've written before, the idea behind these isn't new. Pioneers had to wrap their lunch in something. The beauty of the sandwich wrap is that not only do they cut down on the number of plastic baggies that you use, but they give you a nice, clean surface to eat on....a portable placemat! And they add some cuteness to the lunch box.

So here we go. The way I like to make my sandwich wraps.

You will need:

  • Fabric of your choice for the outside

  • Washable (or wipeable) moisture-resistant fabric of your choice for the inside [I use rip-stop nylon, but you can use laminated cotton, oilcloth, vinyl-coated fabrics, or PUL, just to name a few]

  • rotary cutter (or scissors) and ruler

  • velcro

  • thread (I always use'll see why later!)

First, cut your two fabrics into 12" by 12" squares using your rotary cutter or scissors.

Why a 12" x 12" square? Because my engineer (in a former life) brain likes nice, neat, even numbers. And 12" goes so nicely into a yard, don't you think? It just maximizes my yardage. And I have found that unless you make giant "Dagwood-style" sandwiches, this size sandwich wrap works just fine.

Next, we need to cut your velcro. You need a 2" piece of the "fuzzy" side and about a 3/4" piece of the "rough" side.

Now it's time to attach the velcro pieces. Your 2" piece is going to go on the right side (printed side) of your outside fabric. Using a ruler, center the velcro along the diagonal, about 1-1/2" from the corner. Pin.

The 3/4" piece of velcro will be attached to the right side of the inside fabric. Again, using your ruler, center the velcro along the diagonal about 1-1/2" from the corner. Pin.

Now it's time to sew! Stitch around all four sides of the velcro. And this is why I use white it won't show on my white velcro.

Repeat for the inside fabric.

Place your two squares right sides together, making sure that the two velcro pieces are at opposite corners diagonally from each other.

Now, you can pin it into place. But depending on what fabric you've chosen for the inside, you may not want to prick holes in it with pins (some plastic type fabrics are not self-healing and you don't want holes showing later). So I use some alligator-type hair clips to hold my squares together while I sew.

Stitch around all four sides, leaving a 2" (or so) opening in the middle of one of the sides.

Clip your corners. Be careful not to cut across your stitching!

Turn the squares right side out through the 2" opening, using a bodkin, pencil end, crochet hook, or some other object to get the corners. Then press your sqaure on the outside fabric (if your inner fabric has any plastic in it, it will melt!)

Finally, the finishing touch. Topstitching! You could skip this step if you want, but I think topstitching just finishes it off. I so love topstitching.

Now you're ready to wrap something up! Just place your sandwich in the middle, fold in the two sides (the sides are the non-velcro corners),

Fold up the bottom,

Then fold down the top!

And there you go. A reusable sandwich wrap!

Now go start sewing!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Be Mine

My poor, little neglected blog. I didn't mean to leave you unattended so long, but this darn thing called "life" keeps getting the way. Kids, housework, running a 1/2 marathon.....etc. etc.

I have been sewing, I just haven't had time to stop and write about it. What have I been working on? Valentine's Day.

Last summer I found this adorable Alexander Henry "For My Valentine" fabric on the clearance rack at the fabric store. I just love the vintage look of this fabric.

It was only a couple bucks a yard, so I bought the rest of the bolt, which ended up being about 5 yards. I had no idea what I would do with it at the time, but I knew it would make something cute.

First thing I whipped up was this little number for my daughter:

My daughter wasn't in the modeling mood, so I had to use my mannequin, who my daughter calls "Maggie." The skirt doesn't quite fit the mannequin as well as my daughter, but you get the idea.

It's a drop-waist, layered twirl skirt with a double ruffle trim. This has become my most favorite kind of skirt to make. It's fun to make and easy to adjust to fit different sizes.

I paired the Alexander Henry fabric with a solid red cotton and this red & white floral print:

I love how the "flowers" in the print are little hearts. Perfect touch for Valentine's Day!

The other item I made with this fabric is my pillowcase-style dress, which I wrote about in detail here.

I love these cute little dresses. They can be layered over shirts with tights or leggings or just worn on their own as sundresses.

I've sold a couple of the skirts and the pillowcase dresses for some special little girls. I still have enough fabric left for a few more projects, but with Valentine's fast approaching, I think it will just go back into the "stash" until next year.

What kind of Valentine's Day projects have you been working on?