Thursday, November 23, 2017

DIY holiday garland & Shop Local/Support Handmade

It's that time of year ~ time to break out some seasonal decorations! Each year I do enjoy making something new. But to start, I am putting up a faux berry & fruit garland I made. This is a very easy do it yourself project for the beginner! Almost every craft store will start to bring out the holiday decorations and supplies. They might have leaves, fruits, berries, flowers and pine (all faux) in bags or sold as a pack. It's easy enough as picking out what you like and stringing them together. Many are made with foam as the main body, such as the ones in my photo. So it's easy to use a large needle and thread to make the garland. As an added decoration to the garland, I used cut pieces of ribbon tied on every few inches.

faux berry & fruit garland

As winter approaches I will begin to put more up and will share them! Including my new front door decoration this year: a rustic metal star. But now for a bit of 'shop local' this year!

Every year I encourage shoppers to consider buying from small local businesses. This year is no different with small business Saturday coming up. This is held each year to encourage people to go out to their own small shops within their town or city. By shopping small you help support local business & local artisans. You can also do this through websites such as Etsy, Artfire and more. When you buy from an Etsy seller such as myself  help skilled artisans, seamstresses and crafters. I use my skilled trade to create products that are high quality and learnt from three generations of family. You also help by reducing how far a product must travel to reach you PLUS you get sweat-shop free goods!

fair trade small business locally

I went out earlier this week to avoid the chaos of shoppers. I was happily surprised to find a small shop devoted local artists & fair trade goods for sale. They had local artists and crafters goods for sale with the promise of everything being sweat-shop free. You might be surprised to learn how many brands today are made in sweatshops. But don't fret, many high quality brands are made without the use of dangerous sweat shops (and sadly, child labor) such as these brands. Be sure to do some research if you want to try and support well made, ethical brands this holiday shopping season.

Monday, October 30, 2017

A handmade Halloween

A fun & frightful Halloween to you! I hope you are in the holiday spirit and ready for a evening of trick-or-treating, maybe you prefer a scary movie marathon or going to parties. This year I wanted to show some of the Halloween decoration I have made in the past. And a glimpse at the Halloween costumes my spouse and I are wearing this year.

I love lanterns and used paper bags for jack-o-lanterns. You simply cut the face or design onto one side, then spray the bag with glitter. I use battery powered candles inside, so no fire risk here! The cute skeleton was a bought plain wooden decoration. I painted it with acrylic paint and used a all-weather purpose sealant. I then added a bow and some tulle to it. But my large hanging ghost is made from scrap fabric I had. You make it like a pillow case, I used felt for the eyes and mouth - and just poke a hole at the top. 

To fill the ghost body, I take a old plastic bag and stuff it with whatever I have: other plastic bags, some stuffing or even crinkled up paper. I use a stick to make the 'arms' stay out. If you want to view a video of it, please visit my Instagram page. 

And now to marvel at this years Halloween costumes! Our costumes are part thrift store part handmade. The capes are handmade and I'm very proud of them. This year our design was Sith Lord and Apprentice from Star Wars. It was so much fun dressing up and I took our photos. I also did our makeup for them as well. 

The Force is strong in us! I hope you have a fun Halloween and get many sweet treats. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Finished ~ sage green dress

It took me months, but it is finally done! The sage green full length dress is finished! It had been put on hold several times due to fostering adorable kittens (see previous posts) and just needing the space in my craft room to lay out such loooong pattern and fabric pieces.

This was the first sewing on my dress. I had done the back zipper and was trying it on for fit. To anyone who sews, you may already know that pattern sizes aren't 100% accurate. I used Simplicity pattern 1137, misses & women's sizes. But even with my measurements the fabric had more stretch to it then I anticipated. I had to bring in the bust and torso and bring the hem up by at least 3"s. 

I also decided to give this dress a square neck. I wanted something delicate but with ribbon. I found a beautiful ribbon with gold thread and sewed this on completely by hand. Don't be afraid to add embellishments and decorations that suit your taste. The actual pattern suggests flowers (the pattern includes directions) at the neckline. But you could add lace, embroidery or even jewels. This pattern can be a challenge if you are unfamiliar with sewing clothing. I'd suggest it for intermediate or those comfortable with sewing & altering their own clothes. 

And hey cool cats ~ I'm on Instagram now! Just follow my link and the new icon on my page to follow me. I include current DIY, short videos on projects and always a pet photo (or five). Here it is: Craftinessbyb on Instagram 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

DIY from scrap to hair clip!

Hello, how have you been? It's the dog days of summer and it's just winding down now. Hot, humid and cooler in the evenings. The pets want to nap all day and I don't blame them!

What I have today is a DIY project from scraps you might have in your craft supplies. Every now and then we buy something that had a big flower, button or decoration on it. So I remove these and set them aside for some later use. I had a thrifted top that had some large decoration in fabric, I took one off. I decided it would make a great hair clip and almost resemble a fascinator.

scrap fabric and old earring

So above is the scrap piece from the thrifted top. It's almost like a deconstructed flower with pretty lace, raw edges and quite large. I wanted to add to this and again picked through some of my craft supplies. I found an old clip-on earring with no mate. I used some pliers to remove the earring from it's backing and laid them out. I also had an old mis-match barrette and that is what we will be using for this.

the back of the scrap piece we will turn into a hair clip

Now, before we decorate our scrap piece we need to make a back for it and attach the barrette. Turn your scrap piece upside down, so the back is facing up. Trace around the shape roughly and cut it out. 

cut out felt piece

this part will clip to your hair

I cut a small slit in the felt to allow part of the hair barrette to slip in (see above). This just helps hide it from view and lets you stitch it to the felt piece. 

Turn your felt piece over and stitch the barrette to the felt. I simply stitched around the metal to make sure it's secure. If you can not stitch your barrette to your felt, you can use glue. I would suggest a glue for metal or plastic and lets you attach it to felt. A very good crafting glue for many types or material is E6000. It can be used on metal, jewelry, fabric and plastics. 

now for the added decoration!

Once you have the felt attached (stitched or glued on) it's onto the next fun part! Take your decorative piece that you are going to be using. Remember I had that old earring I took apart? I took the beads and laid them out until I liked how they looked. I decided to stitch the beads to my fabric piece. If you are unable to attach decorations with thread you can always use that same glue I mentioned above (the E6000 or other fabric glue). 

You take your decorated piece, as mine is seen above (in the photo) and you will attach that felt backing to it. Now you can easily glue the felt backing (with the sewn/glued barrette) to your decorative piece. Be sure to let it dry well, often left to dry over night. 

You can repeat this for almost any number of materials! You can use tulle, netting, ole scraps of fabric and more. Play around, lay them out, glue or stitch and create something new!

finished piece

I hope you enjoyed this fun DIY project! I will certainly have more to come. But for now, I'm trying to cut a full length dress pattern and perhaps crochet some. Enjoy the end of the summer months friends!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Natural fabric dye & fostering

Hello and welcome to Summer! The heat is on, the evenings are longer and the days are relaxing. I decided to give something a try which I have never done before, natural fabric dye. The idea behind this is to try alternatives to traditional chemical dyes. You can find many posts online dedicated to this practice with many ways to do it. I tried a method of soaking the fabric in white vinegar for a few hours, rinse, then try to dye it.

boiling blueberries

I would boil some fruit such as blueberries (I also tried spinach for green and turmeric for yellow) and place the cotton whit fabric in the boiling pot for about an hour. 

straining turmeric

I then let the fabric soak in the colored dye water for a few hours, rinse in water and line dry. But how did it go? Well after I gave them a second rinse the color hadn't taken very well. I think in the future I will have to try a different method for this. Because as you can see, after the first rinse and line drying, they color was quite bright.

sadly the spinach for green ended up a pale yellow

But what else is going on in my home? Good thing you asked, because....

foster kitten Sherlock
foster kitten Watson

Meet my foster kittens! About 7 weeks of age about now and starting to explore my home. I named them, if only for a way to address them beyond "kitten 1 & 2" since most shelters tend to re-name kittens when they are ready for adoption. So please meet grey & white Watson and all grey Sherlock. 
Now I've been doing this for over six years now. Shelters of all types often need volunteers with the space and time to open their home to homeless pets. They are not always young, some can be several years old. They could have been feral, from a family that could not care for a litter or a surrender-by-owner situation. And it's not just cats but dogs, rabbits and other animals that need foster care with shelters nationwide. I specialize in socializing cats, correcting behavior (with positive reinforcement, such as take them directly to a scratching post to learn it) and how to live in a household that can be busy, noisy and have other pets. 

our dog Choji relaxing with Watson

So if you ever want to help locally I'd suggest finding a shelter and stopping in. You may be required to take a course (often for free or a small fee), some shelters ask you to supply litter and cat food (others supply it for you) and they may have their own guidelines to follow. I can share pictures but I can not reveal the shelter name or when these two are available as per their guidelines. But if you have the time and space to spare, do consider giving back to your community and volunteering with a shelter!