Monday, December 6, 2010

Tutorial: Boxes!

Who would have thought that I'd have time for a tutorial?? I didn't even think I'd have time to scratch my nose these days, but somehow it occurred to me to photograph this quick project. Okay, so it's not a hard project, but still...

See, here's the thing: I HATE spending money on disposable things!! And I feel very warm and fuzzy about reusing materials. This adds up to, among other things, reusing packaging materials to mail my Etsy orders (most of the time). MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) recently sent me an envelope of goodies that was reinforced with two 8.5" x 11" (notebook paper sized) cardboard sheets. I decided to try to make a box out of them, as they were pretty sturdy pieces of cardboard. And here's how it went:

Your finished box will be about 4.5" x 7" x 2" when using 8.5" x 11" sheets and following these measurements.

Start with 2 sheets of cardboard. Mark lines 2" in from all sides (2 inches is the depth of the box--change that as you please). Cut one side of the square in the corner, on all corners.
Be uniform in your choices of which side to cut. It'll look better that way.

Fold on the lines so that your sides come in toward the middle. Fold the corner flaps in, like in the photo.

Apply a good amount of hot glue or other strong glue (especially if you're mailing this box) to the inside of the corner flap.

(Folding to the inside or outside works--I just thought this way seemed more stable.) Hold the flaps down tightly until the glue hardens. Repeat for the remaining 3 corners. Be uniform on all corners.

Repeat all steps with your other sheet of cardboard. There is a VERY tiny (1/8" or less) difference in the size of the boxes. To make this difference, just move your lines in about 1/8" more from the edge of your second box. This will allow one to fit inside of the other, giving you a top and a bottom.

And there you go, a completely free, eco-friendly, customizable box!
Wrap it up, cover it with fabric, stamp it, paint it... whatever suits your cause.

So I'm thinking that using greeting cards could make adorable small boxes, and cereal boxes are probably the perfect size for this project. But really, it's a great way to reuse just about any pieces of cardboard that's big enough to fold up. It's fast, easy, cheap--oh, there's a very inappropriate joke in there somewhere... Anyway, I love it, so I just thought I'd share.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Welcome Home, Oliver!

I cannot think of how to start this post. The past week brought much happiness and much grief.

First, the baby! My 8 lb 5 oz, 19.5" long son was born at 11:39 am after a mere half hour of hard labor. I was induced at 7 am, had my water broken at 10:30, and there he was, just over an hour later! This was by far the shortest, easiest labor and delivery I've had, with the best results in regards to my body.

Here he is:
Oliver Daniel Jamison Schanzmeyer!

I truly believe that the ease of this birth had everything to do with the short chapter I managed to eek out of a Hypnobirthing book about relaxing through breathing so that you can let your body do what it's supposed to, rather than fighting against it. I didn't have much time to practice this time around, but for our next birth, I definitely plan to read the whole book and practice the techniques ahead of time. Perhaps that last half hour will go smoother!

The birth of a child can easily be called the happiest moment of one's life. My happy moment was followed less than 24 hours later by one of the saddest; my sister Brenda, at 40 years old, passed away unexpectedly. She was disabled and had been having medical issues that were never able to be resolved before she withered away. She died with a bad kidney function and high blood pressure after a period of intense weight loss.

The circumstances surrounding her death have left me with profound grief. It's such a confusing time, something to awful riding hot on the heels of one of the happiest events of my life. I'm trying to focus on the positive: I didn't have to labor and deliver a baby after she passed, for example. As hard as this is, I think that would have been near impossible.

And then, two days later, the Thanksgiving holiday brought a load of family to our little home, another happy day tinged with sadness due to Brenda's absence. Her favorite thing in the world was socializing, spending time with her family, playing with her niece and nephews. I missed her buzzing about, clearing the table too early, telling stories about her dog chasing skunks and licking her face. Who would have thought those things did, indeed, need to happen to make it feel like nothing was missing?

Now that we're back home (services were Friday, and we packed up our toddlers and newborn and made a seemingly LONG day trip out of it) I'm hoping to get to rest up and sort through everything. Here's another picture of our favorite part of the circle of life: the beginning.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Etsy Shop Update: Warm Weather State of Mind

Here we go, the latest crop of warm goodness in my Etsy shop!
Thank you, again, to the lovely Nicole for helping to bring the products to "life"!

One of my personal favorties...

And these fantastic babies...
Pink Cashmere Leg Warmers!

I'll go ahead and include this gorgeous ribbon and bead necklace, too, altho it's sold already. I plan to make more like it...


Thanks for looking, and
Happy Shopping!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Little Miss Patriot

Imagine my surprise when my three-year-old came out with this one day, start to finish. We've spent quite some time since discussing what all the words mean. I'm completely in LOVE with this video, so I have to share it with you!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Would-Be Shop Addition

I just wanted to highlight a recent project that I was extremely happy with--and I wasn't the only one!
One of the items I've mentioned as needing to be listed in my shop was this lovely black top. It's made of an Eddie Bauer wool blend skirt. I turned it into a racerback tank dress/top and designated my darling friend Jessica try it on and give me an idea of what size it should be. And I always like to see how my things fit real bodies--you learn a lot from that!

Well, she saved me from the photographing and listing process by snatching it up for herself--a lucky condition of living close to me, I suppose. :)

She accessorized the heck out of it, putting together the most awesome outfit I've seen in a long time! The black flower pin came with it, but what's that on her wrist??...

Could it be the beaded cuff I made for her bday, like the one listed in my shop?!? :D
What a great look, Jess! Great job!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pirate Shirt Tutorial Part I: The Body

Sorry for the shabby drawing--I'm a visual learner, so I thought some may appreciate pictures, no matter how sorry looking! :)

This project is better suited for those with some sewing ability. While it isn't what I'd call "hard", I can see where it is not exactly a beginner-level endeavor. But don't lose heart! If you have a knack for sewing, certainly give it a go, if perhaps on a toddler scale. I constantly surprise myself--you probably will, too!
These instructions are for an adult-sized pirate shirt. Scale it down accordingly for children or toddler sizes.

1. Use a button-down shirt that fits your buccaneer as a pattern guide. I'll call this shirt the "guide shirt". The pirate shirt will be pulled on and off over the head, so don't use a tight shirt or a shirt made of stretchy fabric as your guide shirt.

2. Close the shirt front (i.e. button the buttons). Turn the shirt inside out. Tuck in collar and sleeves, and smooth out all the layers of material as flat as possible. Fold it in half at the middle (where the buttons are), so that you're looking at half a shirt body.

3. Get a width of material twice as wide as the full body of your guide shirt. Fold it into 2 layers (one wide of shirt body). Fold in half again (half the width of the shirt body). Lay your folded guide shirt on top of your folded pirate shirt material, lining up the folded (middle) edges. Cut out around the shirt, leaving an inch for seam allowance on the edges. This can be cut down later if it's too big, but you're better safe than sorry by allowing more fabric than you might need.
*You may want to make the shirt longer than your guide shirt, to allow for a belt or sash at the hips. This is especially the case if your pirate will be wearing tight leggings--cover up that booty! Consider this when cutting.

4. Unfold layers. You should have 2 identical pieces that look like the body of a shirt. With right sides together, sew together the shoulder seams and side seams. Be careful not to sew your arm or neck holes closed.
*You may want to leave 4-5 inches open at the bottom of the side seams for ease of movement, if the shirt falls at or below the hips (which it probably should in any case).

5. Designate one side as the front (shouldn't matter which). Trim the front neckline lower than the back by two inches or so. Cut a straight vertical line, about 4-5 inches long, down the chest of the shirt, beginning at the middle of the neckline. This will be the slit that laces up the front.

6. Make sure it fits your pirate, and make any necessary adjustments; take in the side or shoulder seams as needed. Finish the bottom edge.

Now you're ready to go on to the other parts of the shirt!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Etsy Shop Update: Keeping Warm(ers!)

I just finished listing FIVE items in my Etsy shop!! That's right, FIVE! That's a bunch, and it takes a while to put the listing together, so I'm a little tired at the moment. :)

I may seem to be going a little warmer crazy. Perhaps it's because they're so stinkin' cute. I keep finding beautiful sweaters that I want to turn into hat/scarf/arm warmer sets... and so I do!

And who could have helped herself when spotting a pink 100% cashmere sweater at the Salvation Army??? Not me. I turned it into this:

It's GORGEOUS, and not just because it's on Nicole. :P

That's not all that I have ready to photograph, but unfortunately Nicole doesn't come in every size. I'll be spending some time this week trying to find a few more models for my larger-than-tiny dresses/tunics that are ready to list. Stay tuned!

And, as always...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Just Stuff

I really have been busy, but it seems that I've been doing more work for my Etsy shop than anything else. So I must apologize if anybody has missed my once-frequent tutorials or personal projects that haven't been around due to lack of time/energy/etc. I may seem quiet, but that just means I'm hunkered down over my sewing machine, or hauling toddlers around all day. Anyway, here are some random tidbits from the goings-on around our house lately...

Recently I took my first product pictures using a live model, my very gorgeous and gracious friend Nicole. They turned out very well! They definitely got my Etsy items noticed more, so hopefully she enjoyed helping me out enough to do it a few more times. Seems this is a great thing for business! And it's fun to see my stuff on a real body, too.

And today, when Gus and Hubby came back in from the garden, Gus ate about half of a giant red pepper, raw, all by himself, by the huge mouthful. Not terribly special, I guess, but it was funny and I got a couple of snapshots of it. This is also the kid who, like his sister, would pick basil leaves fresh off the plant and eat them. Not just one.

And Baby #3 has hiccups CONSTANTLY! It's cute, but a little annoying after a while. I mean, if I were twitching like this all by myself, I'd go stretch or change position. But nothing helps! So I just try to enjoy the fact that my darling fetus has a working diaphragm and not that it'll be jumping around like an Irish step dancer inside my womb for the next 6 weeks!

Oh, and how can I forget Gracie?? Remember my first serger project? Her mom was good enough to send me some pictures of her in the outfit I made. See how close you can get to a good fit by using existing clothing as a guideline? You really don't need a pattern all the time. What an adorable girl!

And that is all for this evening. Hopefully I'll have something more fun for you to read soon! :D

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Etsy Shop Update: More Ribbons & Beads!

This will have to be quick, as I am running out of nap time and am quite exhausted today for some reason. :)

These necklaces are getting so popular! I'm branching out into color--I know, quite a leap for somebody who designs clothing and accessories, no??--starting with red. I love this red necklace! It's just gorgeous!! I'm falling hard for how the ones with multi-colored beads turned out, too.
Couldn't. Be. Prettier!

I have listed 3 new necklaces in my shop this morning. They're all gorgeous and at $10-12, they're all very affordable!

Go check them out! And, as always,
Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I've Been Featured!

There's this great lady, Carlee, who's also active on the boards at, and she has this handy blog ( where she does reviews and giveaways and such, all geared toward moms. And guess who's on it today! :)

Check it out, and enter the contest for this black satin ribbon and green bead necklace! There are pictures there, too, and here are a couple from me.

Enjoy, and good luck!

My 1st Serger Project!

Did I mention that my wonderful husband gave me a serger for our anniversary??
There's definitely a learning curve to it, but luckily I usually fall on the good side of those. :P

This is officially the first project I have made using my new machine. My friend, who has an adorable little daughter, wanted an apron knot dress with matching pants.

She was going to get it from a talented Etsy seller who makes lots of baby clothing, but the timing was too crunched. Being much less busy than the average professional seamstress (I'm guessing, seeing as how I'm not one), she asked me if I could make one by the weekend.

Must be my daughter's propensity for only wearing things with hoods and pockets, but I'd totally missed this cute little trend in toddler clothing. Nevertheless, it's not a hard dress to replicate, so as soon as she gave me the material and an outfit that fit Little G already, I got to work!

The whole outfit took only a few hours (like... 3-5, including bathroom breaks and boo-boo emergencies), and I'm very happy with the results!

HOPEFULLY my daughter, with her bouncy blonde curls and brown doe eyes, will decide to stop dressing like she's going on a hike when she sees this outfit! :D

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Etsy Shop Update: Great Guy Gifts!

As promised, here is the other latest stack of ready-to-list handmade wares to emerge from my work room over the last couple of quiet weeks: Mini Rice Pack Sets!

These are fantastic for anybody, but these prints are particularly suited for the guys on your gifts lists. At the moment I have these 4 ready to ship:

They're pretty quick to sew up in almost any color or print--just ask!