Thursday, April 30, 2009

Kitchen gift set (Easter gift for my mom)

My favorite person to make things for is my mom. I love how she gets so excited and makes a big deal out of anything I give her. She always makes me feel like whatever I make is the best thing in the world and how it is just the thing she needed. Do all moms say "this is exactly what I need. I was just telling your Dad yesterday how I needed to go shopping to pick up something exactly like this"? I get that warm, happy, good feeling seeing her face light up. It is the same feeling I would get when I brought her home my art work from elementary school (at age 5 or 6). I guess my Mom has had years of experience in getting excited and pretending the crafts made by her children and grandchildren are the best in the world. She is very believable! I guess that is why I try to make her at least one of anything I make.

I made her up a little kitchen gift set for Easter. I know Easter isn't a "gift giving" holiday. BUT I wonder why not give gifts? It is the biggest most important holiday and day in the Christian religion why not celebrate with a little handmade gift? In past years I would give her a plant but she no longer wants to invest the time in caring for plants. I started thinking about how she loves spending time in her kitchen. That inspired me to make this set.

I started with this hand embroidered chicken. I LOVE this cute chicken. I found the chicken pattern here.
Isn't it the cutest chicken ever? I love hand embroidery and had lots of fun doing it. Most of the time I like using my own designs for embroidery but I could never draw a chick this cute so I was thrilled to find this pattern.

Once my chicken was done I decided to make it into a pocket for an apron (that is why it is pocket shaped in the picture above). My apron sewed up quick. I did not use a pattern I just took a piece of fabric folded it (so it was double layered) rounded the bottom and added straps. I quickly ran into a problem can you spot it?
I hear you all saying how can I miss it? That chicken is so WHITE! It looks REALLY BAD!

I had to unpick my little chick and age her a bit. I coffee dyed the pocket and sewed her back on the next day.
That's better!

I think the coffee dye gives it the look of an apron that has been used for years and years.

I figured out how to fold it so only the pocket shows and the ends tuck neatly inside the pocket. Cute little package! Don't you think?

To go with it I made up 2 finger tip oven mitts.

I then took a dish cloth out of my completed knitted project stash. I have been working on knitting myself a stack of dishcloths but I seem to give them away almost faster than I knit them. I hope by the time I get my kitchen painted to have a couple made up for myself (I can dream can't I ). Maybe I will have one made for myself before my torn worn out one falls completely apart. It has a tear in it and I don't think it will hold up much longer. It gets washed in the washer every day and looks a bit sadder every day. I am worried it is going to fall apart.

I cut up a couple yards of netting and whipped up a pot scrubber. If you do a google search I know you will find a few free patterns on how to make them. Here is a link to what looks like a bunch of them and maybe even more here. I can 't read patterns (I really hope to learn someday soon) after seeing a picture of a scrubber I cut up some strips of tulle and using my crochet hook went around in circles increasing to the middle then decreasing to end. It looked a bit flat when I finished it so I stuffed the inside with a strip or two. I used my ends to chain up to make the loop handle. I think I might have overstuffed it a bit. I have no idea on how it works because my Mom hasn't used it yet (she doesn't want to get it dirty). LOL! My only reason for making this was to add a bit more handmade to my handmade gift. To be honest it cost me more for 2 yards of fabric to make one (about $2) than it would have cost me for a pack of store bought scrubbers (about $1 for a pack of 4). BUT it was a simple and fun thing to design myself. I like small simple things that I can play around with my hook and create something myself. It is kind of like doodling on paper only using a hook to do the doodling (I think 3D doodles are more interesting than paper and pen ones). If you haven't ever designed your own pattern you can grab some tulle and a crochet hook and see what you can come up with. After all you can't mess up a pot scrubber! No mater how you knit or crochet it up I am sure it will scrub a pot! I imagine you could make them in a frog shape, grape shape, apple shape, flower shape, square shape, triangle shape, and just about any shape or color to match you kitchen or in a way that would make you smile when scrubbing pots!I covered an empty coffee can and put in some wooden spoons. I saw a covered can online several months ago but I searched and couldn't find it again (I hate it when that happens). I had to come up with my own way to cover a can. All I did is make a bag a bit over double the length of the can. I stuck the closed bottom of the bag inside the can and pulled it over the front of the can. I used elastic to sew the bottom so it would cup around the can. It worked out great. My cover looked bad until I got the thought of adding the elastic to the outside bottom. I am happy with how nice it turned out (great for a first try and a rushed one at that).

View of inside of can.

Front of can. I did another coffee dyed embroidered chicken but I didn't stitch as careful as I did the apron (I was running out of time).

Bottom. Don't you think that elastic gives it a nice fitting bottom?
The cover can be slid off the can and tossed in the wash if it gets any splatters on it.

To finish it I needed some gift wrap so I took a canvas bag and embroidered one last chicken. This chick is not nearly as cute because I rushed and the thick canvas bag wasn't nice to embroider on.
Here is the completed set.

It all fit nicely inside the bag.

My mom was thrilled. I don't think she uses any of it. I told her I would only give her this handmade gift if she promised first that it would all be used. Even after making that deal with her she refuses to use it! She has all of it displayed around in her kitchen. I imagine she might someday own the longest lasting pot scrubber (I would bet money it is still sitting looking new on a soap dish next to her sink with the bow still on it 10 years from now). I hope she uses it and wears it out before she remodels her kitchen.

I would like to make a few more sets like this (not all with chickens). I would like to have a set for myself and a few more for some of my friends who spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It wasn't one of my quickest projects to complete but it was still a lot of fun to make.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Quilting and other bedding for my girls

Below are all things I made back in Feb or early March.

I spent some time trying to learn how to quilt. I started with a tiny doll quilt. I followed the instructions found here.

I did do a little bit of hand embroidery on it (I love doing embroidery). I wrote my daughter's name.
A few tiny yellow flowers.

Then I did this lovely little block (it is only a 2 or 3 inch block). I embroidered all the little flowers. It is a little special "I love you" for my daughter. You have to look real close to see the tiny embroidery.I free motion quilted it. You can see that best by looking at the back side.

It is a very tiny quilt. You can see that in the picture below of my 18 month old covering her dolly.I guess it is a good thing little Zee can't read yet because I didn't make her a dolly quilt of her own yet. She doesn't know this one says Demi on it so please don't tell her.

I have caught the quilting bug. I see 100's of quilts in my future.

This is my second quilt.
This one was a bit larger. It is about crib size (both my girls still sleep in tiny crib size beds).

This time I used the stitch in the ditch method to do the quilting. Then I bound it. I LOVE BINDING QUILTS!!!!
I ended up making 2 quilts that are almost identical. I needed to have one for each girl. I am now working on a couple more quilts and hope to have them done soon.

I wanted a quick sew project one day so I whipped up this shaggy blanket.

It's the blanket hanging over the back of the bed. The baby bed in the picture belongs to my youngest. It is out on my porch in pieces right now because I am painting it. When it is done it will go in the room with her big sister. She has been in our room for 18 months and it is time to move in "the big girl room". The blanket was a kit I bought 4 years ago and never took the time to sew up. YAY! Another finished project done and out of my WIP box!

I then made this fun little pillow.

Now I want to share my favorite of all the things I have made so far for my girls' room. I love everything about this pillow! It only took me a couple minutes to sew up. BUT! I spent hours figuring out how to decorate it. I stayed up and worked on it until 3 or 4 am one night. I had to be up that night anyway because my youngest was cutting teeth and unable to sleep. I played around for hours designing this. Now that it is done I could make another in about an hour. I am sure you can see it is a very simple design. It is just a pillow case sewn sham style. I made the normal sham opening side (back side on most pillows) the front. I sewed buttons along the smaller side of the sham opening and then loops on the larger side (just long enough to hold the pillow sham closed. I then added some tiny bows at the top of each loop. Then with the tiny bit of ribbon left I made tiny little bows gathering each corner. I then stitched the centers of all the bows with needle and thread so my little girl would not untie them.

Here is a close up of the cute corners.
Close up of button loops.

Demi LOVES IT!!!

Sorry about the wrinkles in the pillow. I couldn't iron it because it was impossible to iron with a teething baby in my arms.

I have a lot more things for my girls room in the works. I plan to make rag dolls, more pillows, more quilts, sheets, curtains, a rug, table cloth..... and lots more. I will share as I get things made up.

bridal veil turoial is now done.

You can see it here.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Wedding crafts

In a soft sweet voice I hear

Oh Mama, (said my girl age 3)
Mama could you please help me,
Mama, I NEED to get married,
I have on my blue dress,
I just need a hair fing (thing).
You know that special hair thing,
That one for a girl in a dress.

LOL! I love the way my 3 year old looks at the world! I did what any other mother would do. I let her and her brother mix up the brownies themselves (even crack the eggs) while I ran off to my craft box trying to save the day.

2 minutes later (5 if you count getting out supplies and taking pictures) and I came up with this.

and then I made this for little sissy.

It was a no sew 2 minute project. If you want to read the full wedding story you can read it here.

The tutorial on how to make this veil can now be found here.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Feb crafting a birthday gift for a knitter.

This ended up being a 2 part gift. I had plans to have it done and time and I did meet my deadline. BUT! I came up with more ideas to go with it as I was making it so this gift was given at two different times. I hope by the next knitter's birthday comes around I make time to make all of this and not run out of time. This was fun to make and I plan to make one for all my knitting friends.

Part one (part given on birthday)
A knitting needle roll. Back at Christmas a knitting family member asked how I made the knitting roll I have to hold my DPNs. I made a mental note that if she didn't make herself one by her birthday that I would make one for a gift for her. She said she wanted one to hold taller needles (more than just tiny dpns). I thought an empty needle roll wouldn't make much of a gift but I know she wanted it to hold all of her needles so filling it with needles would defeat the purpose. After a lot of thought I came up with adding one set of knitting needles (just so she would know what the gift was, a pair of scissors because when I am knitting I am always wishing I had scissors near by, a couple measuring tapes (another thing I like to have near when knitting),a set of dps because I remember a couple months ago she had lost the only size 3 dpns she owned, some stitch markers (because they are pretty), and a needle book because I loose mine all the time and thought a place to keep them sounded good. Here is how it looks finished
I am sorry this was such a bad picture of the needle roll. It is the only picture of the outside that I have.

Stitch markers. You can find a ton of free tutorials on how to make them. Here is the one I used. I love how they turned out! Pretties for knitting. I now think all knitters need pretty jewelry for knitting. I had so much fun making them! I didn't want to stop making them.Above are a few more stitch markers. The two on the right (ones on large thin loops). I did my own thing when making these. I just strung beads on wire, bent in a loop and twist close (sticking the end back in the top bead of course). I made them because they are larger and will fit on big needles if she is working with chunky yarn. They are not as pretty as the other ones but they might be useful someday.

A pocket for a measuring tape.

A needle book.

inside of book. I did clip all the strings before giving it away.

View of needle roll all open. When I was making this I tried to think of all the things I would like to have when I am knitting. OK truth is I was thinking of all the things I can't find because I don't have a "knitting set" to hold it all. I feel I waste a lot of time looking for all this stuff (needles, scissors, rulers and such) when I could be having fun knitting.


When I was making the needle roll I started thinking how a bag to hold the knitting might be good. I don't know about this knitter but I know for myself a bag to keep my WIP knitting project in (to take in the car and such) would be handy.

.....I know you must all be noticing how all my crafts seem to work around what I think I would want. Strange part of this is I never take the time to make things for myself so I never know how they work out.

OOPS.. Sorry got off track! Back to the bag. I thought putting pockets to hold needles on the outside of the bag might be a good thing. I thought of all the times I am knitting in the car (with hubby driving) and digging in my purse for another size needle or a crochet hook. Or even worse all the times I realize I didn't grab an extra needle or a crochet hook to finish the project. Because of that I thought pockets on the outside would make it easy to stick what you might need before leaving the house and making it easy to find them (giving one more time to knit). I wanted strong handles but didn't feel like running to the city (an hour away) to get some nice bag handles. After a bit of thinking I realized I could make my own handles using my leather stash (I use leather to make my girls soft shoes and slippers). The handles to this bag once used to be part of my leather biking jacket (did you know I was once a girl on the back of a motorcycle I even once owned a bike of my own). I kind of chuckle thinking how part of a leather fringed biking coat is now living as handles for a knitting bag for an older lady. When making the bag I decided to put a larger pocket to hold books. I figured knitting books or patterns are used by people sometimes when they knit (not me because I haven't learned to read patterns yet I hope to find someone with lots of patients to teach me someday). I don't remember (and wasn't smart enough to take pictures) where I put the pocket. I think I put a large pocket on the other side of the bag (same as the front but no tiny spots for needles) just a large pocket to hold a large 3 ring binder.

I dyed up some dark blue sock yarn. I have to admit I LOVED the dark blue yarn and kind of didn't want to give it up. I hope to make some just like it for myself someday. The other skein of yarn is some worsted weight, hand spun, hand dyed merino yarn.

close up of handles.

close up of pockets to hold extra needles.
close up of hand spun yarn.
finished project. One knitting bag with a few things for the inside. I took a 3 ring binder and printed off some free knitting patterns to fill it for her. She doesn't have the internet and has to buy all her pattern so I thought she might like it. I printed off little girl things, dish cloths, scarves, sweaters and such. When she came over to visit and I gave her the gift I let her use our computer and printer to finish filling the book with things she might want to make someday. Last thing I did was whipped up some sock blockers. I found the tutorial here.

I feel bad the gift was given on 2 different days. I think it would have been a lovely gift if I had the bag with needle roll, yarn, sock blockers all inside with the pattern book in the outside pocket. I will do it all together for the next one. I should make the next one up for myself because when ever I make something it takes until the 3rd try to look real nice. I plan on making up this set for all my knitting friends for birthdays. I don't really have that many friends that knit. Maybe I will have to make them to give to a few knitting acquaintances? Times like this I wish I could get more of my friends knitting! Hmmm... I might have to try to teach a few non knitters to knit.