Saturday, May 29, 2010

Thank You For Holding...

...I appreciate your patience. I understand that you've been unattended for quite some time, but I'm sorry to report not much progress to show off. Here's what we've been up to:

I was putting together 2 tutorials, but neither worked out. Here's what that was all about:

I need a new cover for my calendar/checkbook bundle that I always have with me, but when I measured it all out I didn't leave enough room to slip the calendar into the sleeves! I think it'll fit a regular checkbook, but I haven't checked that out yet. Pretty disappointed about that.

And the curtains... Gus has been up with the sun at 6 am and taking very short naps, so I planned to block out the light from his very bright bedroom. I wanted to make roman shades out of mini blinds (tutorial here), but when I looked for the blinds that I thought that I had for those windows, I couldn't find any. Not wanting to buy more stuff for these curtains (I mean, I've already invest $4 in a bed sheet!), I had another idea--to encase a cord on the back of the curtains so that I can pull them up and tie them off into relaxed style roman shades. That did not work. At all. So, the farthest I've gotten is draping them over the curtain rods. Just. Lovely.

I've also been working on a swimsuit for a friend (since last September! *cringe*) but it looks as tho it's going to be WAY too short-bodied. However, she's in Maryland so I'm just going to have to finish it and send it to her to see. Looks nice so far. But that won't do much good if it doesn't fit.

And then there's the blue shirt. I'm making a top, and I'm not done yet, but it seems that every move I've made with this shirt has been a wrong one. I'd like to put ruffles and/or flowers on it, but I've screwed it up so badly so far that I've decided to take a small break from it before trying anything new. I don't think that poor neckline can take many more mistakes, and I don't know how it's not been fudged beyond repair yet. Discouraging.

But there have been a few successes here and there. The black flower that I made for our lovely MOPS helper was such a hit that I made three to sell. This is a huge accomplishment for me, even tho they're simple little pieces, because it's been a LONG time since I've had the energy to make anything to sell. One is earmarked already, but the other two are up for grabs, as soon as I can manage to list them in my Etsy shop (or sooner, if you email me or leave a comment request!). But before I do that, I need to make sure I still actually HAVE a shop--it's been that long since I've tended it. :(

Also, my kiddos found a large white fake flower in my crafting stuff and Little Miss requested that it be made into a hair flower. So, here's that... Pink button in the middle. She's worn it almost every day since I made it.

And I'm done with the official mock-up of the pin piece to the wedding veil that I'm making. It'll all be white, and I'll use frey check on the chiffon parts to give it neater edges, and it'll be all-around neater all over, but this is basically it. I like it! But of course, any suggestions are more than welcome, as fabric flowers are not my forte.

And one more pin that I made a while ago, completely out of reclaimed materials (except the pin back). This one will go on Etsy, too.
So, there you have it. What I've been up to for the last two weeks or so, outside of laundry, cooking, cleaning, and the rest of life. The weather's warmer here now so we're getting outside more, which just means it'll be harder for me to get crafty things done. But stick around. Hopefully I'll have some more energy to do more soon.

Have a wonderful Memorial Weekend!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

This AM In the Craft Room Part II: Lacey Yoyo Button Pins

The other projects I did for MOPS were these cute little things. They're incredibly easy, very versatile, and I probably have no reason to do a tutorial for them except that I did bother to take pictures, so... why not?!?! :) FYI: I made 2, so the pics have 2 of each part in them, but I'll write the tut for only one. Here goes...

Start by cutting out a circle about twice the diameter as your finished pin will be.

Sew a long running stitch along the edge of the circle. It should be wide so that you can pull it tight and close the opening. A finished edge is not necessary because it will be covered.

Pull the running stitch tight to close the circle.

For the lace layer, I estimated how much I would need to make the appropriate sized flower, cut the length, and sewed long a running stitch along the bottom. I then pulled it tight to gather the flower, knotted the string to stabilize it, and then whip stitched the end edges closed (right sides facing).

Grab your hot glue gun and layer in this order: 1. Yoyo. 2. A plentiful circle of hot glue. 3. Lace flower (right side up!). 4. A healthy dollop of glue. 5. Button.

For the back, I cut two small felt circles and glued a pin back to them. I then attached that to the back of the yoyo with hot glue.

Let the glue harden, and there ya go! I love these. They weren't anywhere near as complicated as the black flower, but they fit the personalities of the ladies who received them perfectly. And they're cute!

Think about putting these on a hair clip, headband, elastic band for a corsage... the possibilities are endless!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

This AM In the Craft Room Part I: Punky Pretty Black Flower Pin

I've mentioned before that I make the flair for our MOPS group's Thank-You baskets that we give to our guest speakers. As an end-of-year thank-you, we're also giving these baskets to our Moppets workers (those angels who watch our drooly children). We have 4, and I need to make 3 baskets (the other one's a guy, and we give him a gift card). One of the 3 ladies is a teenager who is gorgeous, has very dark hair, wears a lot of dark colors and chunky boots and such. She's the sweetest thing, and a little goth. I wanted to make her something that would go with her punky style, but something that's pretty at the same time. So, going off the flowers that I made in practice for my friend's veil, I made this black one with tiny green beads on plastic wires, whisping around the outside. Pretty, but edgy in black with raw edges here and there. I LOVE it! But I couldn't get a good picture of it to save my life!
Anyway, here's how I made it:
I started with a length of fabric. This was left over from another project. It's not long; probably about 12 - 16 inches. It gets wider toward one end. That part's optional.
Fold it in half lengthwise, tuck in the short ends, and run a gathering stitch down the long raw edge.
My machine gathered mine for me. Not sure what that was all about, as it was at its regular setting. If your machine doesn't do that, loosen your tension and lengthen your stitch as much as possible and pull your bobbin thread to gather it.

You'll need a long rectangle for the back, to attach the flowers to, and a bunch of squares for the middle of your center flower and for the outside flowers. I can't remember exactly how many I used. Probably about a dozen for each end flower, and 5 for the middle of the center flower. They don't have to be perfect, or the same size.

Run a circle of hot glue in the middle of your backing and attach your center flower piece to it in a spiral shape. Glue all the edges down well.

For the whispies (what else would you call them??), I used fishing line that I found in a box (what was THAT doing in my craft room???) and some tiny green beads from an ill-fated barefoot sandal project sometime last year. Cut about 6 inches of fishing line, pinch it in the center, and pass a flame near the tip of the loop. It will cause it to crease. Thread a bead on the line, dab a TINY drop of hot glue on the crease, and immediately slide your bead over the glue.

For all the pieces with a raw edge, I used this method:
Take a square. Fold it in half. Fold in it half again. You now a have 4-layered square. Run a needle through the folded corner. Repeat with as many pieces as you need to achieve your desired fluffiness.
Run a few stitches in and out of the folded corner to keep it stable.
Tie it off and trim your thread.
Dab a ball of hot glue in the middle of your center flower. Layer the following:
1. Whispies, centering the middle in the glue ball.
2. One unfolded square, centering the middle onto the glue ball.
3. More glue.
4. Your folded, stitched squares (the little flower you just made).
You now have your completed center flower! Take about a dozen squares and repeat the folding and stitcking it on a needle parts.
Once all your squares are on your needle, fan them out. This will give the width you need. Stitch them all together so that they don't move.
Make 6 more of these.
Put a few squeezes of glue on the corner of your side flower. Lay 3 whispies across it, at the middle of the whispie.

Lift up the side of your center flower and tuck your side flower, glued end first, under it. Put all the glue you need between the center flower and side flower to stick it well.
Glue the side flower to the backing. Make sure it sticks well.
This is what you'll have:
Repeat for the other side.
Trim up the backing once your side flowers are in place.

Hot glue a pin on each end on the back. This is pretty wide, so it needs two.

And you're done! It really is lovely in person. I'm absolutely tickled with how it turned out. And I hope I'm not the only one!

Part 2 of This AM in the Craft Room will have to come later. I just received word that I might be let out of the house for an hour or two tonight sans Little Miss and Gusto, and I have a lot to do before I go!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I've been asked to make a wedding veil! The only veil I've made so far is my own. Before I knew how to sew, when I was crafty-minded but not actively crafty, when I wielded only a hand-held needle and thread, I made my own. It wasn't hard. It wasn't even a challenge. Tulle, a comb, a handful of store-bought flower confetti, and a yard of trim, it was the antithesis of complicated. But holy cow! Have you SEEN the price tags hanging off those little lengths netting??? I couldn't even pay my half of the bills when I got married, and I certainly couldn't shell out that kind of dough for something that I knew (even then) I could make myself. But I digress...

This veil is not going to be as simple as mine was but, of course, it's going to be way better! My major obstacle: other than the bride being 3 hours away and communicating only via Facebook and not actually being able to see the dress, there are literally more flower choices (for the clip) than you could talk about in a year. Go try looking up all the ways you can make a fabric flower! Jeesh... But we're getting somewhere!

The other day, as I have 4 children under 5 underfoot, I get a creative kick in the butt (it always happens at the least appropriate times!) and I whipped out these practice flowers for the clip. I think we're going to go with the ones with the petals, and perhaps a little crystal flair on the sides and middle.

I guess the point of posting this, really, was just to share what I've been up to. (I'm always feeling bad about not being "busy enough for the blog"!) I haven't really thought about adding any to my Etsy shop, or advertising my veil-making services. Idk, whaddya think? Anybody got any ideas for these easy-to-make, pretty little flowers?

Other than making my 2 y/o and her little friend
the happiest dressed-up girls on the planet? :)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

All Alone Here

Now is as good a time as any, I suppose, to let the cat out of the blog bag: I'm pregnant! Baby #3 is due November 21st, so it is not likely that you'll see us away from home this Thanksgiving. However, we just got a very comfy !!VAN!! (this excites me so because I have wanted to join the minivan mom club for quite some time) and it almost makes me want to go somewhere far away, just so that I can stick in a dvd and have a long, quiet, comfortable ride with the kids--something that I'm not sure I've ever had. Anyway, back to baby. We're not planning to find out the sex. We've got one of each already, and I think it'll be awesome to hear, "It's a ___!" and not to have known already.

So you're probably confused about the title of my post. I'm not alone because I'm pregnant. Since Saturday, my husband has been in France for a work trip. He's a chemical engineer, and he had to go learn about how to make something new so that his company here in Iowa can start churning it out and you can begin to enjoy it in your toothpaste and chewing gum. I hope that doesn't constitute a trade secret. :P I have tried to stay busy--and I have--but the difference in my productivity pre- and post-pregnancy is downright depressing. Remember when I tore out a cabinet system, cleaned it all up, and refinished the wall in 2 days?? I haven't even gotten the tiny bit of trim in our kitchen painted in the last 5 days!! I'm keeping a list of what I've gotten done while he's away, and so far this is it:

1. Matted the kids' picture in the living room.

Ooo, impressive, that should have taken all year!
Ugh. I'm just too tired! (I'm trying to avoid the word "lazy" here!)

I am almost done with the kitchen trim, to be fair to myself, altho it's taken me a lifetime. But no pictures can be taken this week, as Hubby took the camera with him and our crappy little back-up camera doesn't seem to be working anymore. Probably because it's tiny so Little Miss deemed it "hers" and carries it around whacking things with it all day. But, because we all hate posts without pictures, I'll leave you with this one. It was on my computer. I would like to have a scene like this running thru my back 40 some day. We're talking land here, btw.

Have a great weekend, if you don't hear from me sooner!