Friday, December 20, 2013

A holiday of crafting

This has turned into one BUSY holiday season! I had some hand made gifts already done for people, just had to wrap them, simple (right?). Well being the holiday season that it is, some family will gain additional house guests. I decided to make a few more hand made things for gifts (which I hope they like, I went for 'useful' types).

soft flannel + some basic sewing

= hankies for the guys! monogrammed and ready to use

I don't have a fancy sewing machine, mine is a 10+ year old Janome (my baby!). To do the monogrammed hankies I had to get creative. I applied interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric, just in the area to be monogrammed. On the right side of the fabric, I used chalk to write the letter I'd be sewing. I then used a tight zig-zag stitch to achieve the monogram, practice on scrap fabric first! may take several tries to get the stitch you want the right width. 

 fun fabric + clasp

= lanyards for your wrist! perfect for the teachers I know

The lanyards  fun to make too! They are for two teachers in my family (both ladies) whom I thought might enjoy something colorful and useful. I picked the fabric, cute it the length I wanted and about 4"s in width. You fold in the center of the fabric (lengthwise) then fold again, just like making your own bias tape {DIY bias tape from CailaMade, skip to STEP 4 on here!} and you can iron it for a good sharp fold. You just sew the sides, turn to create a loop and decide how to add the metal clasp. A easy, affordable gift you can make for just about anyone!

almost done! the place mats and coasters set
And I wasn't able to finish the place mats with coasters set in time for a winter gift. I had to get all fancy on myself, decided to add some sashiko stitching. But once I'm done it will looking aha-mazing! I'm super happy with this freehand pattern I designed. I am also doing my own bias tape for the edges of these, since I didn't find a color to match. Sometimes that is a great way to match fabrics, just make your own bias tape - problem solved! 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Hanukkah

This year Hanukkah falls on the same date as Thanksgiving. There are children's painted hand prints of turkeys that also appear as menorah. Greeting cards for Hanukkah with silly turkeys. And this event of colliding holidays won't happen again for a VERY long time (no, really! read why here). So I hope you can enjoy some of both holidays this year, with some wonderful foods and festivities!

I decided to make my own flame-free menorah. It is all wooden, hand painted (I even made the white embossed mantel it is on) it has just 8 branches (instead of what you may often see, the 9 branched type). Since I don't need to light any real candles I stuck to 8 for my handmade menorah. We have pets including cats, I didn't want them to get curious over candles thinking "Oh look what the people did! Candles lit up, lets just go check them out with our jumping on things and big fluffy tails" you see my reasoning now?
My husband fried up some latkes which, by the way, are heavenly potato goodness! And I spent several weeks making a paper wreath by hand. It's all taped together (on the back, not visible on the front) and I'm really pleased with the finished piece. It is now hanging above our TV for all to see and brighten up the winter season.
 I hope everyone has a warm and festive Hanukkah 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Holiday madness begins

Hello, how are you? It's been chilly, Autumn weather has settled in. The foliage is here and it's really lovely this week - the trees change from greens to reds, oranges and golds. We dressed up and decorated for Halloween this year. We greeted trick-or-treater's with candy, stickers and our little dog in a costume (he was a Bat). The next day I had to go to the grocery store and... they already had the winter holiday decorations up! The madness, the headache of it all! And the music - already Christmas music in many stores every time I go in *sigh, too early stores*.

My etsy shop is ready for the holiday season ~ I even updated my shop banner for it *so visit my shop HERE if you like*

Each holiday season I try to craft some hand made gifts. I really prefer to invest my time in those to give them buy too many store items to give. You recall I'm already making my mom some items for her kitchen ~ so guess what? A friend moved recently and asked if I could make her something nice for her new place! So of course I would help ~ I was delighted she asked me *and flattered*
I asked my friend to pick the fabric she liked best - a almost navy blue hue with ivory print. From there I bought the backing (the white fabric came pre-quilted, yippee!) and I used bias tape to finish the raw edges. Her set includes place mats, coasters and I made her cloth napkins to match too. I hope this hand made set helps her feel even more at home in a brand new place. 

The gift for my mom, still in progress. I decided to make this pattern by hand, so it may be skewed in spots. But I think the colors will match her kitchen and she can easily wash all these fabric items. It's been a challenge and a delight to make it! I enjoy making my own patterns at times to try them out. 

But all crafter's must keep in mind - don't forget to make yourself something now and then! I went to JoAnn fabrics a while back *and had amazing self control* and picked out this flannel fabric for a pattern I already had. The pattern is an older pajama one with tops & bottoms, it is Simplicity and has misses to women's sizes. Always read the sizing information on the pattern because it is NOT like traditional clothing sizes at all. You have to measure yourself typically to find what pattern size is correct and many patterns have illustrated instructions (on the paper inside) on how to do this. 

I adore the flannel print! Look at it, just look! It has an orange cat, white bunny and brown bear. It has different things in the background like a bicycle, little houses and toadstools ~ ahh, it simply called to me. Is it strange I love this sort of print? *laugh* I mean it's not going to be seen outside the house so I can pick whatever cutesy print I desire. I hope everyone can enjoy some quite time during the start to the holiday season. Don't over do it when you go shopping - bring a list! And if you like to gift handmade things start making them now and you won't feel rushed. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Fabric charm bracelet - How To!

Hello everyone, welcome to Autumn! For a while there I thought it would never arrive, we had days of hot, muggy 80*F weather {yuck!} and I even had to dig out some capri pants. But after a weekend of heavy rains it seems Autumn has returned.
So sorry I am lazy at blogging, I just manage to be busy offline a lot. But as promised a short and sweet DIY How To project! All I used for my project was: fabric, sewing machine, metal snap, any metal charm you like.
Ok so lets this going, shall we?

I picked a blue cotton fabric, pink and solid ivory

Start by cutting some strips of fabric, one from each color. I cut about 8"s long and perhaps 1" to 3/4" in width. You may pick a different length or width depending on how wide or skinny you want your bracelet to be.

pick your metal charm for bracelet

I picked a metal rose colored arrow charm. It came from a store bought bracelet - but, it was far too small for my wrist. So I removed the pieces that attached to the ends of the charm. You can see this charm has holes at each end, which made it easy to use for a DIY bracelet!

my fabric strips - turned into a braid!

I took my fabric strips I had cut, folded them in HALF and just sewed them. Let the edges be raw for a chic cute homemade style! Then you simply braid your three fabric strips - as seen above. I then sewed my braided fabric to some ribbon on the back. Start at one end and just freehand stitch the braid to the ribbon - no need to be fancy. I used a pink shade of thread, it blended in and you couldn't see my stitches. 
Is yours all braided now and sewn to the ribbon backing? Good job! Now I just laid my braided piece out over my wrist - to get a measurement. I then laid my metal charm on top, I marked where to place the CHARM with some pins (as seen in above photo). 

all done - ta da!

Once you have the position for your charm, sew it on. To finish the bracelet I used small metal snaps for a closure. You can always just tie your longer braided pieces at the ends, or add a different type of closure. Here is an Etsy link for types of bracelet closures you could use. That's it!
I hope you enjoyed this fun fabric bracelet with charm. My coming posts are about my shop re-opening for the holidays {visit it HERE!} and my upcoming gifty-type projects I'm making.

Monday, September 16, 2013

New season, new projects

Autumn is fast approaching (officially in a week!) and already I am thinking of new projects and Winter gifts to make. So here is a peek at what I am working on! I promise to return shortly with more photos and some "how to" for the super simple fabric bracelet!

Arrow charm fabric bracelet
The fabric bracelet was a lot of fun. I will share next time how to make one and you can easily customize the size. The cute rose gold colored arrow charm was from a too small bracelet I purchased. So if you ever happen upon something you love but it won't fit - don't fret! You can always personalize it and make it your own at home with craft supplies.

And this is a sneak peek at a Winter gift I am sewing. It will be part of a handmade set of place mats to match someone's kitchen. It's the first time I have honestly tried to do a quilt-like pattern. I wanted it to resemble an arrow, it will be sewn to a solid colored piece of fabric. I hope to make some matching coasters and cloth napkins too. 
I will have a longer post soon enough with more photos! I hope everyone has been doing well and is enjoying the change of seasons. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Cotton summer blouse

Ahh summer time, for us (in Kentucky) it feels as though it's winding down. Today has been cooler, sunny and even quieter outdoors. The cicada aren't humming as loudly anymore, the tree frogs at night are not as often heard.

So onto the project at hand ~ my finished summer blouse! This was much fun to make, I learned a new seam as well. But first, a few photos and I will then share the pattern and how it went.
I probably mentioned before, but here again - Simplicity pattern #1693 : short sleeves, tank top, 3/4 sleeve blouse tops. 

Please note, the bell-like sleeves. These I had originally not intended to add the elastic to (at the hem). But when I tried it on I noticed, the sleeves were very wide! I didn't like that look so I added some elastic and just made sure they were not tight. It worked out well considering I used cotton fabric for this top - which you can see, wrinkles like nobodies business. But it's meant to be worn and it will be, very much so. It's a comfortable fit for me (I picked the size 12) and have a button closure to the back.

You can not see it but this has a middle back seam. The top openings at the neck (as seen above) and has a simple button closure. Be sure to learn what size pattern is best for you - too small, you won't be able to move your arms - too large, it will be far too lose on your body. I learned the French seam for this top: it leaves no raw seams on fabric inside. The pattern came with easy instructions on how to do this seam. I'd suggest practicing on some scrap fabric before applying this to your sewing project. 
As summer turns to autumn I am already itching to sew another top! This time it's one of my Lisette pattern I purchased on sale earlier this year. It is a 3/4 sleeve top and I was delighted to find some fabric with hints of yellow in it (my new favorite color!). it is this pattern here, the Continental blouse top. I hope everyone is enjoying the end of summer and gearing up for some cooler temperatures! 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Summer sewing, about done

Hi everyone, how has your summer been? We had bouts of rain, then hot sunny days. The cicada have been singing up a storm for weeks now! And at night, I can hear the tree frogs chirping away while lightening bugs (or firefly's) brighten the warm evenings.

So what has been my summer projects? Well, I did the fun chalkboard labels (which are very handy I might add) and then my interest moved to sewing clothing. I tried my pattern on some sample fabric I had, to get the sizing right. If you have not sewn clothes before please note: it is NOT sized like store brand clothing! You have to learn your body measurements before you shop for a clothing pattern. Which brings me to this very handy site with a very handy article on this topic ~ A Fashionable Stitch! Here she discusses in simple terms how to read and find your size before pattern shopping (follow this link). Don't disrepair if you get overwhelmed by the patterns for clothing - many patterns brands now offer step-by-step instructions you can follow online. Here is my sneak peek of the current top I am sewing!

My fabric is a light weight cotton with polka dots on it. I just need to hem and sew the bottom, then add a button and loop at the neckline. The pattern I used is perfect for getting a hang of sewing clothing - I wanted to get into it again so started simple. Simplicity pattern 1693 misses blouses, tank, short sleeve and long sleeve tops. 
And I will be adding more blogs to my list of favorites. I do realize many of the blogs I enjoy no longer have new posts (so sad!). But I found them to be enjoyable, have wonderful crafty info and fun to read. So soon enough I will share my finished top ~ have a good week!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A little pantry project

It has been a fairly soggy start to summer here. I felt like I was solar powered, because the lack of sunshine was making me so cranky & tired. Sewing was lagging behind greatly ~ just didn't have the energy to do any! So instead I found a faster (and fun) project to try out ~ chalkboard paint!
Oh am I ever smitten with this paint, I had never ever tried it before! A friend encouraged me to buy some chalkboard pens to go with them (which I highly suggest) which lets your text stay put and not smudge but will wash off with soap and water later.

here are my supplies: chalkboard paint, a sponge 'brush', blue painters tape and wooden squares
I used blue painters tape to add some decorative edges to my pieces. And I purchased thin wooden squares to act as 'labels' for my jars I would later use. I taped my wooden pieces down to plastic, painted them over and it says to let them dry overnight. I ended up doing about three coats of paint total on mine.

see the cute edge design? try a scissor with a design on the blade (often in scrap booking aisle)
Once dry you remove the blue painters tape to reveal your design! I added ribbon to this one since it had a hole already drilled. 

pick the correct crafting glue for your project, this was good for wood on glass
Pick a good crafting clue to suit your project. I used one type called 'Goop' and it will work for gluing wood, glass, metal and more. I made sure to let my glued on piece sit over night. You wouldn't want your new chalkboard label to fall off later!

finished labeled mason jars!
I found everything I needed at the craft store. They sell the thin wooden shapes/labels for about 35 cents a piece. The paint is in a big container and will last you for many projects. The pens came in a four pack, they work much nicer then regular chalk. I already had glass mason jars sitting around, so no cost to me on those! I hope you have fun experimenting with a new medium this summer - it's even suitable for the kiddies. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Summer break

It's summer for us in Kentucky, warm and sunny days ahead. But with this has come about some changes for me. To start, my etsy shop is on hiatus until further notice. Sometimes online selling doesn't amount to much. And I don't want to lose my passion for crafting, arts and drawing to dwindle because I felt it turning into a 'job'. This blog, my pages, will still be active - my etsy shop isn't going away.

time for a healthy break

In other news! I can finally show off the finished product of my friends wedding gift. She and her fella needed something they can wash, use daily but also be appropriate for them both. I decided on thick flannel fabric (in ivory) and cotton print fabric. I did some hand stitching in the sashiko style to the printed fabric. The rest was all machine sewing for lasting durability. I really hope they get years of good use out of these: four coasters and four place mats.
the finished wedding gift

I hope to spend some of my summer learning to sew new apparel fabrics and patterns. I have a few tops I'd love to figure out with some pretty fabrics. And I really want to venture into sewing linen. I have a good summer pant pattern perfect for linen fabrics! 
I hope everyone has a wonderful start to their summer. Stay cool, enjoy some summer company and grilling too. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Springtime and weddings

For Spring it sure has been warm here in Kentucky. In fact, several days felt like humid Summer already moving in. I really want to start sewing a few pieces of clothing for my wardrobe. But I wanted to start small, by adding to a plain tee shirt.

my pan collar tee shirt

I had been seeing so many tops with these cute collars. I like the Peter Pan style best and decided to freehand a collar pattern on paper. I used a printed fabric with a solid, heavier weighted fabric on the back. 

collar pattern laid out

I machine stitched the collar fabric together. Then to finish I hand stitched it to the tee shirt, to get it just right. I added a large button I had to the center where the collars met ~ and tad-da!

I also have two special projects to start up. One friend recently wed (Omedetou gozaimasu  Di-chan!) and another soon to be. I want to make something useful and washable: cloth napkins and matching coasters. I know, not terribly exciting but they will be used for sure.

I still have my 20% Off SALE in my etsy shop ~ so be sure to stop by! And I hope everyone is enjoying the Spring season and blooming flowers. (sale has expired)

Monday, March 25, 2013

20% off Sale!

Come on over to my etsy shop (here!) for the new Spring SALE! 

sale has expired

Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring time, finally!

I don't know about you lot, but I was getting tired of winter. I love all seasons, I'm thankful Kentucky (where we reside) has all four! But snow, sleet, cold temps? I had enough of that by yesterday *thank you Nature!*. We seem to be readying ourselves for the April showers, which I personally welcome. I have some great multi-season muck lucks (rain boots, willies). They have a removable liner and these super cute owl print on them!

So yes, the crafty stuff! I've been playing with a few things between teaching my JoAnn classes. First, some super simple hair ties and headband.

Green: store bough, Pink dot: made, Red headband: made
I first bought the green one you see above. It's full, soft and attached to a simple hair elastic. I loved it so much but the store didn't have any others. So at the craft store I found the pink polka dot flower piece. It was sold in the scrap book section. But it was easy to apply to a hair tie with a little glue, felt backing piece - that's it! The headband piece; I purchase elastic (mine is gold tone) and just added some large beads, the felt red flower (again, scrap booking supply) and glued it all on with felt backing. 
The store bought one is just sewed on, I think mine is more secure
Natural light shows the true colors!

And of course, I can't go long without sewing something. I swear, I need rehab or something (ha!) I decided on a top from the awesome 'One piece wearables' pattern book. I've raved about it many times, I bought mine online. It comes with full patterns for most of the books projects. And if it doesn't require a pattern (like the top below) it gives very easy to follow instructions on measurements.

I used a soft cotton fabric, bias tape neck
I made this in a few days because I didn't want to rush it. I ended up altering the sides a bit and gave it a boat neck. I used matching bias tape just at the neck opening, the rest was a rolled hem of about 1/4" on the sleeves and 1/2" at the bottom. 
Close up of neck detail
My neck opening was creeping up and bothering me. So to fix this, I just added some pleating! 

Ihope everyone is enjoying a change in weather and seasons. I have some new JoAnn classes to teach come April. I'll be teaching the adult 101 class plus - I'm being brave here (since I don't have kids, I tend to not teach them), but I'll be doing a kids 102 class. No sewing machines this time round *thank goodness!* just hand sewing of a cool Earth-themed fleece pillow. Happy crafting everyone! 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Hello class, I'm your teacher

Wow, what a good start to a new year! I found myself with a few etsy shop sales, gaining wonderful new fans on my fan page ~ and now, sewing teacher! So how did this come about anyways? Good question, so here is your answer!
My girlfriends suggested it actually. I had mentioned how well I've been feeling on a doctor approved treatment plan (for Fibromyalgia, which I have). I mentioned my desire to try to work again but... I couldn't work even part-time hours yet. It put's a lot of strain on me working PT hours. So my friends suggested "Why not try teaching at a craft store?" Yes, why not!
I had to fill out an application like everyone else, plus other things to ensure my background history and such. I am a 'contract instructor' for JoAnn Fabric & Crafts, this means I do as many *or as few* teaching of class courses in their store. I have over 20 years of experience in sewing & crafting. I started learning from age 5 or 6 on the sewing machine and other handy craft skills. They asked me to bring in several different examples of my current work, plus why I wanted to teach.
the classroom in the store, sewing machines are provided

I have so far taught: two classes (an adult one and kids one) plus a weekend 'open house' held in the store. If you live near a JoAnn's you can find out from the store when a open house is held. It's a great way to meet the class teachers in person, ask any questions, see sample work and sign up for a class or two.
I meet all the teachers on my first open house weekend. It was a delightful time meeting new students and learning about the other courses offered. Classes range from sewing, crochet, jewelry making and into cake decorating and advanced courses (for the seasoned crafter).
the open house greeting table
Here is the sample work I brought in to showcase: tote bag from freehand pattern, drawstring bag from fat quarters. I teach a basic adult sewing class and it comes with supplies (like fat quarters: pre-cut fabric squares)
my purple tote bag,  fat quarters drawstring bag, upcoming course pamphlet 

Please note: as an instructor under contract I only receive pay for teaching NOT for blogging or sharing in other media outlets. My blog is purely for fun and sharing my experiences. Other craft stores offer this to the public as well, like Michael's, Ben Franklin's and perhaps even Hancock Fabrics. If you have the skill and experience and want to teach, please call your local store and simply ask them! Often they need someone who specializes in one area to follow the course outline and teach their students. 
I have another adult class to teach next week, so I'm starting to get busy. I'm also working on my own stuff at home (I'll share next time) like some hair ties for spring and a upcycled shirt into infinity scarf! 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Cute kitten Monday!

New year right, so new things might be in the works! Not only do I have a good S*A*L*E going on (my shop HERE 15% Off) I have already made two sales this year! I hope a lot of my goods go to new homes so I can make room for some new items.
Also, my big goal: I hope to get involved with a local animal shelter. I have mentioned in the past I enjoy volunteer work, such as fostering kittens. You welcome in a kitten up for adoption, they become socialized and learn the ropes. Here are two we fostered being adorable!
Tohru (girl) was adopted out quickly

Sookie (girl) was our first *foster* and also adopted quickly

I know, look at the faces! I take the photos myself, send them to the person in charge of their web page and they share them. This helps the kittens become featured on the page for any upcoming adoption events. 
But yes, back to what I'd like to do. I'm going to talk to a person about possibly donating handmade toys for the kitties awaiting new homes. I also want to offer up my photography services ~ take pics of cute kitties playing with toys. I can use my Facebook fan page to show off these adorable boys and girls with my donated toys and link directly to the groups page! I think it would be a great match: my hand sewing talents for kitties in need, then use my own page to help them get adopted out and bring attention to the group. 
I have to arrange to talk to the right person in charge to see if this can be done. If it can do this, you will be seeing some "Awww! So CUTE!" photos on my fan page and here. Maybe I will make it into something like 'Cute kitten Mondays' to start off a week just right.

Friday, January 4, 2013

SALE starting Jan 7, 2013

Get the New Year off to a good start ~ visit my shop for a 15% Off SALE starting Jan 7th. Please note, the coupon code will not be activated until the 7th.
Hope you stop by, I have some items with Valentines Day theme to them ::: visit my shop sewingB on etsy