Monday, November 30, 2009

Family Christmas Stockings

This is a re-post from Don't Take the Repeats. It's the origin of the massive amounts of felt that I now own, and by far my favorite project to date. I just wish I had kept the pattern I made so that I could easily add another one for Little Butterbean next year. Oh well.

Over the past year or so, I have developed a love of handmade things. Esty is a website that should be banned from my computer. I've spent entirely too much time and money there.

Those who know me in real life know that I am not creative outside of music or cooking. It's just not in me.

Or so we thought.

now present to you, the family Christmas stockings, made by moi,
because I was too damn cheap to purchase personalized stockings. Well,
that, and the ones I found that I liked wouldn't allow the 11 letters
in my son's name.

I do believe I am officially crafty.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Felt Tree Garland

3011020_3011021_FeltHolidayGarlands_alt_F308This adorable garland has been tempting me for a couple of years in the Land of Nod catalog. However, being the cheap cheapo that I am, I refused to drop $30 on some felt tree garland.

Thus began a valuable lesson in crafting. Sometimes, it's worth the money to just buy the darn thing.

I had a ton of felt left over from my Christmas stocking project last year. I'm not so good on the estimating, and since I was making them from my own imagination, I bought "a little extra" just to be sure. I could now wallpaper our family room with felt, but that's beside the point.

I figured the felt wasn't really a cost, because if I didn't use it for this, I was just wasting it anyway. However, I probably spent $15 on sequins and other decorating doodles for the trees. Then there was the expense of the ribbon and glue.

Not to mention, the expense of the time involved. It was time consuming. Just ask Lovely, my stepdaughter. She spent about an hour gluing the trees onto the sequin strands.

So, meh. Felt tree garland. It's cute, but I would just buy it from Land of Nod.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey Hand Shirt


From here, Kevin claimed to not see any turkeys. He may have been right, but he wasn't wearing his glasses as usual.


From here, you can almost see the very first French Knots I ever successfully completed.


And from here, you can see that it is indeed a very minimalistic turkey made from Little Bird's hand, and there was another one made from Mama's hand.

It was my first foray into using embroidery thread to accent an applique. I have decided that I need a hoop if I'm going to try it again. I might also need someone who doesn't refuse to wear his glasses to help me gauge whether or not there is actually a turkey on the shirt.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Zipper Pouches

This is the first year that Little Bird has had teachers. He goes to Mothers Morning Out one day a week at our church, and he has four teachers. Halloween was my first excuse to try something handmade for them.

I found some very cute fabric on sale at Hancock's one morning - just so happened to be on my "Morning Out." I bought a couple of yards of each because I didn't know how much I would need. Let's just say that Bird's teachers from now until he's in middle school will likely be getting the same zippered pouches for Halloween. Ahem.

My friend JC told me about these pouches and gave me the link to the instructions.  My first two attempts were quite disastrous. What I have found about sewing though, is that if I don't give up - if I plow through and finish something, that I will usually figure out what I've done wrong and how to do it right the next time.

Since I didn't take a picture of any of the pouches, I cannot offer any proof that in fact, I did figure it out and whip out four of those puppies in about 90 minutes. But I did. I just had to get the knack.

What I learned in this project is that I can cut out a straight line to save my life. I have a cutting board. I have a self healing mat and a rotary tool. I have the right tools I think, but I always end up with a random rhombus. Lovely.

Another lesson for another day, I suppose. But you would think that I could cut out a straight friggin' line.

We put some Halloween candy and a gift card to the brand spanking new Trader Joe's in each bag and gave them to his teachers the week of Halloween. Again, I may be setting the bar too high to live up to in the future, but that's alright. I'll just keep doing what I can when I can.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Teddy Bear Costume

IMGP1159A few months ago, Little Bird started saying the word "Bear." It was so cute with the w at the end of the word, instead of an r. Right then, I decided that he should be a "beaw" for Halloween. Just so I could hear him say it over and over.

Sometime in August, I bought a Butterick's pattern for 99 cents on sale at Joann's. I hadn't used one of their patterns before, and while the zipper instructions rocked, there were some other things seriously lacking. As in, it never told me to sew the inside legs seams. I mean, I figured out to do it, but I wasted quite a bit of time worrying about when to do it.

Really though, it's the best looking zipper I've ever done. I think I finally feel like I know how to do one now.

The costume had four components: the body, the hood, the mittens, and the spats. I wanted to add a round belly in a contrasting color, but I ran out of time, and I also didn't want to mess with my fabulous zipper.

The mittens and the spats were easy enough. I left off the elastic strap that was supposed to hold the spats to the bottom of the shoes. It just seemed like overkill. The spats stayed on just fine without them. I never tried to get the mittens on, because it was so hot here for Halloween. Of course, the year I decide to dress my poor child in a fake fur suit, it's 80 freaking degrees on IMGP1186Halloween.

 The body was pretty standard, and other than them leaving out the inseam instructions, I didn't have any trouble with it. Well, until I got to the neck. I really need a good lesson in finishing a neck. Especially when it comes to bias tape. I cannot figure out bias tape to save my life.

The hood was the biggest disappointment. He looked like a cross between a very cuddly teddy bear and a fuzzy cone head. I don't know what I did wrong, but I'm sure it wasn't supposed to turn out so, well, pointy. I lined the hood in some material that would have been better suited for a really soft baby blanket, but I wanted it to feel good on his little baby head. Aside from almost causing him to have a heat stroke, I think it did feel good. I was surprised at how willingly he wore it, honestly.

I guess this is now a tradition. The homemade Halloween costume. Let's just hope my children have simple tastes.