Sunday, November 29, 2009

Not enough to call a real sewing project!

Anyone who knows Demi knows her world is all princess. I made this outfit for her. All I did was cut jeans from an old adult pair of jeans. I made them with an elastic waist. Took me about 10 minutes to make them. I then used some ribbon I found at Walmart (think it cost about $3) and added it to the bottom of jeans. I bought a $4 top at walmart and carefully added the ribbon across the front of it. I thought that because it was such a cheap and easy project I should share it. Project took under 30 minutes to whip up.Here are the jeans I stated with. I almost made a BIG mistake!!! My MIL gave me the jeans and I thought they were normal jeans. I folded them one leg on the other and I was ready to cut them to Demi size when I glanced down to the hem and noticed one leg was LONGER than the other! My MIL did NOT alter the jeans. Whom ever gave them to her did the hemming of the jeans. My MIL is a very fussy seamstress and would have never done something like that. It looks like the type of thing I would have done when I was younger. The person who id it used large stitches with white thread (my mil would never sew without matching her thread). You can see the stitches here.

Here you can see my finger on the bottom leg with the other leg laying flat on top. It's a half inch off at my finger and over one inch off at the one end! LOL!
Photos below are of new hem and trim.

The top.
Close up of top. I put the ribbon right over the gathered seam. Putting it up a bit (just above the gathers) would have been easier but I didn't like how it looked. I chose line up the center of the ribbon and put that right on the seam. I had a lot of fabric under the bottom of the ribbon compared to the top because all of the gathers are under it. I took my time and kept it lined up and had no problems. I am very happy with the ribbon placement. I think next time I need a quick outfit or want a very small project to pass the time I will make another outfit like this.

Panda Crazy

The weekend before Thanksgiving I got some time to sew some clothes for Demi. I was going to embroider gnomes on a pair of jeans when she tossed a fit yelling gnomes are old men and not good for her. Demi wanted "girl jeans". I took a look at the other embroidery designs I had been making and noticed I had a panda that was almost finished. Demi yelled panda's are also not a girl thing and will not be good for her. Quick on my feet I asked her what about a panda with a pretty bow in her hair. Demi smiled and said that would be a great girl thing. I finished making the panda design and got the embroidery machine humming. It quickly got panda crazy at my house. First I made her jeans.
Then I added a panda to a cheap walmart T-shirt.

Next I made panda barrettes.

and panda socks.

Demi loved it. Zee did too. The night before Thanksgiving I decided to make one for Zee. I only got 3 hours of sleep but I did finish her outfit. I was too tired to remember to get a pic. Below are action shots but they don't show the outfits much (sorry about that). Here is Zee with Mike's girlfriend.

Here is Demi with Rob's mom.
The jeans I made by cutting up some old adult jeans. The shirts were $4 each walmart. I spent about $0.80 for 2 sheets of felt. Total cost was around $8.80 for 2 outfits.

Monday, September 28, 2009

My Daughters first wearable sewing project.

Demi sews a lot. I try to keep her busy with many types of sewing projects. She is now 4 years old and has just finished a project for someone (a baby) to wear. She hand embroidered a dog on some fabric and then sewed the sides and top shut (with a bit of my help using the sewing machine). I am such a proud mama! It is a little doggy hat for my cousin's baby (her baby shower is this weekend). The embroidery isn't perfect Demi made a few mistakes with the outline near the tail and the ear. We tried to fix it a bit by adding the mistakes into the design when she stitched the tail and ear details on the dog. I love things that look handmade and this has a very handmade look to it. I am so tempted to keep this and put it on a doll or stuffed animal. (sigh)... This will make it to the shower (even though I really really want to keep it) BUT the next embroidery project Demi makes is going in a frame on my wall!!!! I took pics of her doing this project and I will post them on my homeschool blog I am posting a week in advance on that blog so the pictures should show up by next week. The hat is nothing to make you can find patterns similar to it all over the web. I didn't use a pattern (I made it from a sleeve of a knit shirt). I know the hat isn't an original idea but I might post how I set it up for a young child to make herself. I will try to post how to make this project simple enough for a preschooler to do by the weekend on my tutorial blog I did set this project up a tiny bit different for her than I would have if I was doing the embroidery myself.

OK enough of my chatter! Here is the hat!Isn't it very CUTE????? I LOVE IT!!! I think it is beautiful art (considering the artist is 4).

Below is a close up of the embroidery.

I hope to have my project finished up by tomorrow. My baby shower gift is something that kind of goes with this hat. I hope I get my project done before the shower. Fingers crossed I will have pix to share tomorrow of my project!

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I just noticed that this poor blog has been left getting dusty for a very long time! Sorry! I have done a lot of crafting but I don't remember what all I made. I also got off track with taking pictures of my projects. I remember making my dad a BBQ set for a gift (I embroidered an apron, oven mitts, and pot holder. I made my mom a set of embroidered bath towels for her birthday. I made a ton of summer clothes for my girls (and lots more late in the season to wear to the beach). I made both my girls hooded towels (plan to embroider them someday to make them look nicer). I made several little things for some of my friends. OH! I am still working on a pair of socks for my mom. I NEED to get back into the routine of snapping a quick pic and post a few notes here. I am still working on my girls fall/winter clothing. I will remember to set the camera by my sewing machine as I do some crafting this week. We have babies galore popping up in my family so I plan to do a lot of cute baby gift projects. I hope to have pix of a new finished project by tomorrow night.

Monday, June 22, 2009

sorry! I will be back in just a few days.

I will be back soon. Life is a bit crazy (and a bit ugly right now). I did have to take a tiny break from crafting (I went almost a week of no crafting). I realized that I need to create things (have craft time for myself) because it helps me forget some of the ugly things in life. I am now back to crafting but as many of you know I am dealing with a bunch of ugly, unkind, and bothersome things in my life right now. Adding to this difficult time is Zee hasn't been sleeping so until I get some sleep I don't think I will know how to properly deal with all the troubles that keeps popping into my life. I hope after some sleep everything will be OK. Sleep and letting time pass sometimes have a way of working things out.

I am so lucky to have my family and some wonderful friends who have been by my side. My friend Kris is a life saver (OK, that is a bit extreme BUT she is a true tear saver). Kris is one of my best friends (we have been friends for 12-14 years now). Over the last few weeks she has called daily and helped me stop crying and even start laughing so many times (more times than I can count). She has her hands full with her 2 autistic children yet still has time to help me with my dumb little problems. I love her and feel so blessed to have such a wonderful friend who lets me know I am not alone when life gets a bit ugly.

I will be back with nothing but happy thoughts in the next couple days. I promise to find a way to push ahead and put the ugly stuff behind my by the end of the week. I will also start posting again by next Monday on my family/school blog. Nobody wants me to post on that right now because all I would do is cry and complain about more the little things that are bothering me. By Monday I will be back to my happy self! I promise!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Them darn socks!

OK, I am about to eat my words!!! I am sorry everyone! I know I said that I doubt I would ever learn to darn socks. Well that is true I didn't ever think I would want to darn socks! AND I didn't really learn how. But I did end up taking a stab at sock darning this week. To tell the entire story I first need to show you one of this years finished projects I haven't shared yet. Here is a picture taken end of Jan. beginning of Feb. of some socks I was working on.
It was my first time knitting 2 socks on one set of circular needles at the same time. I love this method and it was very easy for me to pick up. I was knitting 2 socks at the same time on 2 sets of dpns and that was a more complicated way of doing things and required 2 sets of sharp dpns in my lap (not very safe with little children climbing on me). If you are wondering the sock yarn is NOT one I would recommend to anyone. The yarn is Moda-Dea Sassy Stripes Yarn. The color is called vintage. It is a sport weight sock yarn. IT STUNK! As in the smell! It had a very strong odor! Rob thought it smelled nice. BUT he didn't have it in his face forever! Not a skunk stink more like a excess dye or sizing smell. I have bought some fabrics in the past with the same smell. It smells kind of like new denim jeans. The cost was about $5 for a small ball so it was $10 for a pair of socks and I don't spend much over that to buy wool sportswash, no odor, sock/fingering weight yarn. Next time I am yarn shopping I will pick the wool and skip on this stuff! HOWEVER, if I needed some sock yarn and it was on sale or the only sock yarn I could get my hands on I would buy it and give it another try (I don't hate it enough to refuse to ever use it again I am just stating that I have knit with several yarns that are a lot nicer yarns for about the same amount of money I spent on this stuff). The yarn was a bit thicker than the sock yarns I am use to using and it squeaked on the needles. It is an acrylic yarn and I wonder if it squeaked because it was acrylic or because I sized down the needles a size to knit them a bit tighter (in hopes they would hold up longer). As I was knitting them my hubby suggested I make them longer socks. Because of that I knitted and knitted until I used every last bit of yarn. It took me forever to finish them ( I worked on them for over a month). Here they are!
I think I finished them just before my parents came home from Florida. I think that was the end of Feb. This is the only picture I have I didn't have time to wash or block them I ran them over to my mom. She told me she could smell the odor but thought the smell didn't smell bad to her (but she didn't have them in her face for a month). The smell did wash out after she washed them.

OK, I know you are now wondering what this has to do with me eating my words. Well my Mom got a snag in her socks and ended up with a hole. She sent them back to me to fix. Here is the hole in the toe.I noticed the heels are already worn very thin and looking like some tiny holes are starting. This set of socks I am sure I knitted them for long wearing heels. I knit them tight and the yarn is a strong acrylic. My Mother LOVES her hand knit socks. She had to wear them a TON to have them this worn out like this by the end of May!
I didn't have any yarn to match so I took 1 inch of yarn off the ribbing of both socks. My hubby thought I was confused in how to fix socks when he saw me taking an inch of the knee when the hole was in the toe (I laughed at that). I used the yarn I took off the top to sew up the hole in the toe (I am sure I didn't do a proper darning but I did my best at fixing the hole. When I look I can see the spot I mended but it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb. After fixing the hole, I went over the heels adding a bit more yarn (added a layer of new yarn). I copied the stitches to make the heels thicker making them two layers thick. I hope that helps the socks hold up longer. I now see that my Mom loves all the socks that I make and I think the best way to fix the wearing out sock problem is to make her up a large collection! She now has 4 pair I knit for her but I see that isn't enough! I hope to get a few more knit up over the next couple months. Then maybe she will have enough to rotate so they hold up a bit longer.

Here is the mended socks. This time I did wash them and block them. I hope they last longer than 3 months this time!
Here is a close up of the fixed toe.
Here is a close up of the fixed heels.
After I finished them I thought how cutting out the heel and adding a new afterthought heel would have been quicker. I like making afterthought heels when I knit socks I just need to remember to do that on my sock mending. The socks don't look as good as they did new but they don't look real bad so I guess they are OK. I do hope the thick heels hold up a bit longer. 2 layers of sports weight, acrylic yarn, tightly knit should hold up. I will let you all know if it doesn't.

I guess I am now a person who darns socks! I never thought I would ever want to fix socks! I am the type of person who will often start a new sewing project so I don't have to use a seam ripper to pick out a small seam. Spending a few hours fixing things has never been my thing..... I guess I am getting old! What's next? Stuffing bread in my purse? I can't do that! No, seriously I can't do that.... the bread crumbs would get all over my knitting projects in my purse. I always have a pair of socks I am knitting in my purse. A roll or a bread stick would mess up my socks. I would not like to spend hours picking crumbs out of the knitting.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Kitchen towel embroidered gift set

My husband's brother lives out of state. He and his girl friend have just came in for a visit. I wanted to give her something a bit more personal than the gift card my hubby bought for her. I decided to try to make a set of embroidered kitchen towels. I didn't have time so sew or knit anything so I bought a set of towels and embroidered her name on them. I am thinking that with the name Oleksandra she probably doesn't own many things with her name printed on it. She is from the Ukraine. I used red thread. Why red you ask? I LOVE a splash of red in kitchen decorations. I keep making things with the bits of red that I want to have for my kitchen then keep giving them away. I am determined to eventually get my red in my kitchen I hope once the paint is on the cupboards and the next round of birthdays is over to sneak some free time to make myself some red stuff for my kitchen.

I didn't want her name in the middle of the cloth so I turned the dishcloth corner facing down and wrote Oleksandra's Kitchen on the corners facing outward.I wrote the same on the center bottom of the towels (but flat across the bottom). 4 dishcloths and 2 dish towels.

I had to let them sit a few minutes before wrapping (notice in pix below the one on the top left is darker it is still damp).
Travis (my 9 year old) made her a bar of lavender soap (lavender in color, scents, and seeds inside).
He wrapped it with a bit of paper and a ribbon.I then put the soap on top of the towels and tied it all up with a matching red polka dot ribbon.

I hope she likes it (fingers crossed). It is hard to make things for people you don't know much about. I know she doesn't like dishwashers and always washes all her dishes by hand. I remember her saying that and that is the reason for this gift. I hope next time I see her I can find out a bit more about the things she likes. She is a very sweet soft spoken girl.

My hubby and children are off delivering the gift now. Demi (my 3 year old) added a picture she drew to go with this gift but we rolled it and tied the bow on when she was walking out the door. It was a very cute picture but I didn't have time to grab the camera.

WOW! 3 post in one day!! Maybe I will catch up with all the pictures of my crafting. I shared all the crafting I did so far today. That is a step in the right direction.

Embroidery gifts right hot off the machine.

My pictures are not perfect. I had to snap them very quickly. I just finished this project today. My hubby and children have just drove off to deliver it.

This set was a very late Mother's Day gift for my MIL. My husband had plans to buy her something but he changed his mind (I think she didn't want or already had what he had in mind) so I made this up instead. We haven't seen her in the last couple weeks so I even though I feel bad about rushing around I guess she doesn't know that it was a very late put together gift. I started this 3 days ago but my youngest just cut a tooth and was very fussy yesterday and the day before so it took a lot longer than I had planned. I made her up a set of embroidered bath towels. 4 large bath towels, 2 hand towels, and 2 wash cloths.

I added in 2 washcloths with her name on them for face towels (I bought 2 extra wash clothes to start this project in case I made a mistake). I didn't make any big mistakes so I wrote out Emily on them and tossed them in the gift set.
My son made up a bar of lavender soap for her (he dyed it yellow and added bits of lavender to it).He wrapped it in a bit of paper and we tied a ribbon on it.

We placed the soap on top of the towels and tied it all up in a large polka dotted ribbon.

I don't know if she will like them or not but I would love to get a gift like this. My sister made me up a set of embroidered towels a few years ago and I love them. I think it is one of the best gifts I ever received.

A bit of strange needle felting

Back in April I spent a few nights doing some tiny needle felting projects.
Here is a tiny frog and heart (I was going to attach them to something but my youngest 2 children took them for little play toys.
I made some tiny hair clips.

And a monster for under the bed. This crazy guy is only 3 or 4 inches big. He hides under the beds. We now know him and are no longer afraid of monsters at night.
I know the frog, heart, and monster might look a bit strange! I had lots of fun making them. Felting is my fun time. It is a color outside the lines play however I want time. I never worry if someone else might like it. That is also the reason I don't give many felted tings away as gifts. I doubt anyone would enjoy my felted projects other than my children.

This isn't "felting" but it is felting supplies and I think adding it here is a good way to do a bit of catching up (I still have 40-50 projects to post from this year). Here is some yummy dying I did. It is very soft merino roving dyed in yellow, pink, and blue (in shades that moved me that day). I love to play with dyes. I have as much fun doing it as my children have finger painting or playing in playdough.

4 small projects shared lots more to go. I don't think I will ever catch up!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Summer shorts using the felting machine

I know I mentioned that I recently got a felting machine. I got it just a couple days before Mother's Day. I embellished 3 pairs of shorts with my new machine. Shorts are made from my old jeans. I know you must get tired of hearing made from old jeans over and over. The good news for you (bad for me) is I am running out of jeans. I will have to start using my fabrics soon (I might even use some of the beautiful Japanese fabrics I got for Christmas). Are you wondering how I have been sewing with an old stash of jeans for 3+ years now without running out? My large collection of jeans came from my hubby moving up in size 2 or3 times, add to that my HUGE collection of thin clothes (before I became a mom), and jeans given to me to make things with (thanks to my Mom, Dad, and MIL). My own large collection of old (thin) jeans have been tucked in a cubby in the back of my closet out of the way for years. I now need that space to store my new sewing machines (my family is getting tired of having 4 machines on the kitchen table all at the same time). I figured the best thing to do is to embroider one day, sew one day, serge the edges another, and embellish (use the felting machine) another day. That system I hope will keep the fabric and supplies tucked away and I will only need to move one machine at meal times. In the next week I hope to move whatever machine I am using out on my porch to use when my children are playing in the yard. When that happens my kitchen table should be free of my messes.

The first shorts I decorated with craft felt that I cut into a flower and a butterfly.

Close up of flower all the edges of the flower curl up a bit and look cute.The butterfly I did add a bit of hand dyed superwash merino to outline the wings.
I made them for Demi but Zee claimed them. She hugs them and yells for them when she sees them. The day Demi tried them on Zee screamed and yelled for them and even tried pulling them off of Demi. LOL! I decided it was best to give them to Zee because she likes them so much and Demi didn't care that much for them. They are longer shorts on Zee but she is happy with them so we are all happy.

My favorite shorts are this pair.
Front side.
Back side.

I used some yellow and white cotton dishcloth yarn to decorate them. I added quilt strips to the bottom. Notice this pair of shorts are not made from the bottom of jeans. I can get 2 pairs of jeans (size 18months-4 T) out of one pair of jeans. When my children are babies (newborn-12 months) I can get 3 pairs of shorts from one pair of jeans. I used my new gathering foot for my overlock machine (my family gave me for Mother's Day) to add the ruffles. I am not crazy about the gathering foot (seems to be more fiddly and takes longer than the clear elastic method that I normaly use). I hope in time it will grow on me. After looking at some clothes in the stores with the stitching showing I decided to leave the serging at the bottom show. I view them all as play clothes that will be worn playing in the sand box and at the park. they are made from old clothes. Because of that I didn't take the time to turn under the stitching to hem it under. They are my favorite out of the three. They fit Demi as long shorts and Zee as gauchos (wide leg crop pants). All I did was swirl some yarn and tack it down with the felter. Quick, easy, and fun!

The last pair of shorts are Demi's favorite. She insisted on wearing them the first 3 days after I made them. They never get put away it is right from the clean clothes basket to her body. I think she might even like them more than her dresses.

I made them from some merino roving I dyed.I love how needle felting dyed roving gives the look of water colored painting (I think that is what it is called).

Here is a close up of the big mushroom.and a closeup of the baby mushrooms.

Sorry I didn't take any pictures of the children wearing them. I am glad I remembered to snap a picture at all. I am sure I will have lots of pictures of my girls wearing them by the end of summer. I am sure everyone will be sick of seeing them.

If you don't have a felting machine but like any of the shorts and might want to make something similar let me say you can easily do this without buying a felting machine. Needle felting can be very cheap. Felting needles run $5-6 at Joanns for a pack of 4 needles. I started needle felting with a 4 piece assortment pack from Joanns. When I first started out I bought the assortment pack and the felting foam (that was about $3 or $4). The foam is not needed you can use any old thick pillow or foam. The reason for the felting foam is to give you something to stab the needles into. As long as the foam or pillow is thick or firm enough you will be fine (make sure the needles don't poke out the back side). I get a lot more than $5 of fun out of a pack of needles! I have seen some online kids craft projects that they say children can use felting needles. My son is 9 and I worry a bit that he might stab himself with the sharp needles so I let him use my felting machine (after I set the guard) and I plan to get him a clover felting tool. The stand alone needles I think are a bit more dangerous to use (for my 9 year old son who often gets distracted with what he is doing). I have poked myself with a felting needle many times and it does hurt. Of course I have poked myself with sewing needles a lot more than felting needles.

You can buy a clover felting tool that is a bit easier to use than the needles alone for a little bit more money. Joann's sells them for about $16.50 and you can buy needles to replace the ones in the tool when they bend or break.

This place has excellent prices on felting supplies The person who owns it I think is the list mom for the machine felting group. Her prices for hand felting needles and machine felting needles are a lot cheaper than any other place I have seen. When I need new needles for my machine or to use by hand I will be trying this place out.

If you live near me (NE PA) and ever want to give felting a try stop by and we can make a day of it!

I am in a bit of a rush I hope this post makes sense. I don't have any time to look it over. It is Sunday and my family is waiting for me to join them. I will be back in a day or two (I hope).