Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tshirt Mania

I may be a day late and a dollar short on this one....but Emily, I vote for the navy! Wanna see Emily's DYE failure? I mean what else are you going to do besides put them in the closet for another year? (that's what I'd do).  I am totally scared of dying anything unless it involves tye  I should experiment though, confront my fear if you will.  Can't wait for the update on that though, so keep us all posted.

Now as for our newest member of the family, did anyone see her new park blanket?  If not you have to see it.  To be honest, I'm a little intimidated just to follow that post.  I want to grommet everything now!  What a great idea.  And I love the size.  I may have thought to go smaller, but you were totally on the money, plenty of room and I'm so glad you didn't end up with a wet rear...UGH!  I HATE A WET REAR!


For Revel's 3rd birthday (yes almost 3 years ago), we had a painting party and the kids painted tshirts.  Well the other day I was rumaging through my craft things and found ...2....leftover shirts.  Now normally people would not be excited about such a find....BUT....hi, my name is Sheila, and I'm a leftover junkie.  I make it a policy to ALWAYS buy extra of everything so I can relive this exact experience over and over...can we all say HOARDER?  Anyway..they were size 2-3 which is on the small side of Ollie's current wardrobe size so I figured I had better use 'em or lose 'em.  Here is a pic with her and the regular white tshirt.  (I had to pay her in candy for these photos so they aren't good)

So for the first one I used the technique I used on the upcycled men's button down shirt project that Emily and I partook in.  I just seem to gravitate towards leaves (I always have).  But Ollie's is of course more colorful and I wanted to change the neckline seeing as I'm reusing a plain tshirt.  So here is what I came up with for the first tshirt.

 I used bias tape for the neck and cut the leaves and sewed scrap fabric behind the holes.  I LOVE the way it came out.  Now hopefully she can keep the spills on the colorful patches and not on the white tshirt...we all know that won't

Now for the second tshirt.  Ollie has a friend who turned two this weekend and so I decided she needed a shirt as well.  Check it out!

This one I took an old green tshirt and cut a tube the same width as the neck and attached it as a sorta cowl.  I then made three flowers...the same flowers I made for my new flip flops.  You can check that out here.  And then the pocket is made out of the green tshirt again.  I love love love it.  And hopefully Ms. Alexis does too.
Hope this helped someone out there with plain ole tshirts hanging around, I mean seriously, the possibilities are ENDLESS!

Joining the Club

So this feels little bit like the first day back at school, where maybe you know a few people here and there but mostly it’s new faces, and then the teacher makes everyone stand up and say their name and one interesting thing about themselves, and of course you end up going right after the obviously popular girls who always have something amazing to say about how they spent the summer learning to sail or were extras on “One Tree Hill,” and then it’s your turn  and suddenly you can’t think of anything interesting, at least not that you want to share with a bunch of people who don’t know you, and certainly nothing cool like sailing, and then you realize suddenly that everyone is staring at you and still waiting for the one interesting thing, and you still can’t think of anything, and really, who needs the pressure

Am I right??

So this is a little like that. I’m joining this blog as sort of a third-girl alternate, and it’s a little bit intimidating to follow along after Emily and Sheila because they are fantastic, creative women who do amazing projects. I’m really flattered to be asked to join in, though I forewarn you, my sewing skills aren’t nearly at their level so you’ll have to bear with me through anything that isn’t done quite the “right” way. (I have other crafty skills, I think – hope? -- that will balance this out.)

A little about me: I’m a full-time marketing manager and wife, and a part-time student and crafter, living right in the middle of the big city in the Deep South. I have two cats but no kids, which will have to wait until Alex and I get something bigger than the 750-square-foot shoebox we currently call home. I’m pretty sure that my only qualification for No Time for Pie is that my approach to things is usually, “It can’t be that hard!” (And, thanks to the Internet, it usually isn’t.)

And now, on to the crafting part!

First – Emily, I don’t know what to tell you about the dye. I’ve never had it do that so strangely before – just the one panel? Can’t hurt to try the navy, I’d think? Surely better than purple. Take some pictures of what happens. I don’t know that it’s really a “fail” when it’s an unexpected reaction not due to anything YOU did…

Continuing on, it’s Park Blanket time!

So one of the reasons we live in a tiny, tiny condo is the location – two blocks from the big city park. We spend a lot of time in the park, especially in the spring and fall when there are festivals, movies on the lawns and concerts. I had been thinking for quite some time that I wanted a nice big park blanket to sit on for these events, and I could not find one ANYwhere that did everything I wanted (waterproof, large enough to sit many people comfortably, lightweight) while also being inexpensive.

Solution: Make my own!
Problem: No money/time/motivation.
Solution, Part 2: Hancock Fabrics giant sale (!!!) + friends in town for BIG music fest!

I really shouldn’t go in Hancock Fabrics unsupervised … but I did, and I got sidetracked by the remnant section which was featuring waterproofed fabrics (like what people put on restaurant tables) and giant sheets of upholstery fabrics. So I got carried away and bought a bunch of waterproof tablecloth fabric in this pretty black-and-white swirl, and then got lucky with a comfy houndstooth print (which, if you don’t know and/or are not from the South, is the print associated with the University of Alabama football team, the Crimson Tide – my husband and I both went to undergrad there, so I was pretty excited to find it). I bought 4 yards of each type of fabric, because I wanted a BIG blanket (and, well, they were on sale…).

ANYwho, here is what I went through to make this park blanket. It’s entirely possible (probable?) that there are many ways to improve upon this, but at least now you’ll have a starting point.

First, I gathered all my supplies – the two fabrics, plus some batting and some red thread (Roll Tide!) for an accent color.

Then, I cut both fabrics in half, which gave me two pieces of each fabric that were each two yards long. Then I sewed each two-yard piece to the other two-yard piece, so that I ended up with a sheet that was four yards by 54-ish inches (whatever the height of the bolt of fabric was).

At this point, it occurred to me that I should add a batting layer in between the fabric layers so that every single rock or stick wouldn’t poke us in the bottom every time we sat down on the blanket (this is a very real possibility, per prior experience with low-quality park blankets). I already had some batting from a previous project, and here was the perfect time to get it out of my (overstuffed) closet. Because I was using what I had, it was much narrower than I would have purchased otherwise for this size project, and I had to sew it together in strips to make up the size of the overall blanket.

Then, I laid out all the fabric layers on the floor to measure on top of each other, because the waterproof fabric was slightly shorter/smaller than the houndstooth and I wanted to make sure they all matched in size. (Also I am lazy, and so anything that keeps me from having to measure, I am all about.) I ended up cutting off a strip from the houndstooth fabric that was 4 or 5 inches wide, which I used later for another part of the project. (This also leads me to a big tip – NEVER throw any scraps from a project away, because you will likely end up needing it for something later on. Trust me on this.)

After I was sure everything lined up, I pinned it all together in reverse -- the two patterned fabrics were back-to-back, and I pinned the batting to one side. Then, I hemmed all the edges together except for a two-foot stretch on one side. This is exactly like you would make a basic pillow, by the way, only on a much larger scale.

Then there’s the hardest part (for me) of this whole thing: Flipping it right-side-out/inside-out to get your fabric facing the right way, with the batting inside. This is why you leave a two-foot hole.

NOTE: This SEEMS like a big hole right now, but that’s before you start having to pull out all the fabric in the entire universe through this tiny opening. It’s never-ending fabric, and batting, and more fabric…. So resist the urge to sew it as closely as possible, and just content yourself with knowing that nobody will ever see or notice the hem when you close it from the outside anyway.

(SECOND NOTE: Don’t think to yourself that you can add the batting in later, like stuffing a pillow, after it’s flipped right-side-out. After I got trapped inside the thing with a bunch of batting around me and flailed around like a cat stuck in a plastic bag for 20 minutes, I realized I was making it harder than it should be, got back out of it and then flipped it back inside-out and sewed it on properly. Learn from my mistakes.)

So anyway, now you have this lovely spread of fabric. You can now sew shut that two-foot hole by folding the fabric under/inside on both sides and hemming it (I did not take a picture of this because I forgot, so let me know if it doesn’t make sense). Voila, le blanket!

At this point, I decided that I wanted to get fancy and have a nice way to keep the blanket all rolled up for carrying purposes. I tend to stockpile things like elastic and Velcro (you never know when you might need them), so I had a strip of two-inch black elastic and a box of sticky-backed two-inch black Velcro. (See? This is why you keep everything. Hoarders R Us over here.)

To figure out where to put the elastic, I had to test-roll the blanket up several times to figure out how to do it most compactly, and then I marked that spot on the hem with a pin and wrapped the elastic around it to see how long it needed to be to wrap tightly, also marking with a pin. Then, I sewed the Velcro onto the end of the elastic and at the spot on the elastic where it would overlap and “fasten.” (I know, it’s a terrible picture, sorry.)

Remember that since you are wrapping around the blanket, the Velcro will be on the top of one side of the elastic (on the end) and the bottom of the other side (in the middle), in order to fasten (it has to overlap).

I then attached the elastic to the blanket itself, at the spot that I pinned. I reinforced it multiple times here, since I’ll be yanking it tightly around the blanket on a regular basis. (Please note that if what you have on hand, like me, is sticky-backed Velcro, it will sticky up your sewing needle. I go through a lot of sewing needles because I dislike pinning the “correct” way and I tend to break them, so this doesn’t bother me, but take heed if it will bother you.)

Now, remember that strip of fabric that I had left over? Here is where it comes in handy. I realized I wanted a strip to carry the blanket over my shoulder, since we do have to walk to the park and schlep it around at that point. I had originally planned to use ribbon but decided it wasn’t rigid enough, so I ended up using the leftover fabric by sewing it into a tube and then hemming the ends (I also ran one stitch right down the middle of the strip to make it lie flat). You could get much fancier with this, but I just wanted a basic strap. I was worried about needing a shoulder pad, but it turned out the blanket was so light that it didn’t need one. Additionally, I attached the strap straight to the elastic, not the blanket, because I wanted all the “extraneous” pieces to my blanket to all be stuck on the same corner so they could be tucked out of the way and also it centered the strap for carrying.

Now, I had this nice houndstooth blanket, what more could I want? Oh, just an Alabama “A” on there, to drive home the team-spirit point. I had on-hand a bunch of sticky-backed felt (yes, I like all things sticky-backed, it makes life easier) in red, which was perfect. I pulled up the Alabama logo online, and drew out the “A” on a sheet of paper (you could print yours out; my printer was out of ink so I free-handed it. Yay, semi-useful graphic design degree). Then I cut it out, flipped it backwards, and traced it backwards on the back of the felt (so it would face right-way-round when cut out of the felt.)

Then, I stuck it on one corner, and hand-sewed in a few stitches at corners that I thought might not stay down.

At this point, you could stop. But I was on a roll, so I borrowed/stole an idea from Infarrantly Creative (is it still stealing if I credit her?) to keep the blanket from getting wind-borne in the park. This is really, really simple, yet SO amazingly wonderful: You put grommets in all four corners of the blanket, and then stick golf tees through them to make it stay in the ground. (I KNOW, RIGHT?) This is really easy, you just have to buy the grommet plier kit for 3/8” grommets, which is just the right size for a golf tee, and grommet each corner. (See full directions on Infarrantly Creative’s blog here.)

(I reinforced my corners since I figured they’d get pulled on a lot once people sit on the blanket.)

And then, you just add a little baggie to put the tees in (I used one from an old beach bag), and this can tuck right into the folds of the blanket when it’s rolled up. (I know, second bad picture!)

I may grommet everything in my life from now on, it was so easy!!

So, here is the blanket rolled up (it came out very small and light-weight):
And here is the blanket in use (yes, I am holding an adult beverage; so is my friend Patty, but you can’t tell since it’s in a cup and not an enormous beer can):

Right after I put the blanket down, those three women right behind us asked where I’d gotten it and could they buy one. (!!!)

Also, the ground was REALLY wet, so we got to seriously test it out, and I am happy to say that the waterproofing worked perfectly. I had to hang it over my fire escape to dry the underside off when I got home, but it dried in about an hour, so no issues there. It was a great step up over the damp bums we saw at the music fest all day.


Emily and Sheila, thanks for letting me into your circle, I can’t wait for the next project! :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Total DYE failure.

No, that is not a misspelling of DIY.

This was a DYE failure.

Back in college I spent most of my time in the costume shop and one particular area that I loved the most was using the dye vat. It was one of those huge soup kettles and you could fill it with water and heat it up and empty it all without lifting anything. I was always amazed at the changes that could occur to a piece of fabric with just a few granules of dye. I liked mixing colors and stirring it all around and testing little strips to see how the fabric reacted and what changes were needed to achieve the color you were looking for. It was my version of a science experiment.

So while I was at home the other day with a sick Sam I figured it would be a good time to try out a project I had been meaning to do for awhile.

We have a desk from Ikea in our room that holds our massive computer. The desk itself cost me about $20 and I knew from the get-go that I would be sewing a skirt/cover for it so I wasn't concerned with aesthetics, just cost, when I purchased it. I also had a large piece of glass cut for the top which brought the total to about $60 for the whole thing. (You can see the glass in the video from here.)

I had used some old tab-top canvas curtains from my mom to sew a skirt for it. They were cream colored and I had planned on dyeing them so when I took the glass off for the photoshoot I figured it was a good time to go ahead and wash and dye the cover.

I was inspired by this post from Sherry over at YHL and since we have the same washing machine I just followed her instructions.

 Basically what you do for a front loader is dissolve the dye packet in warm water, dissolve a cup of salt in warm water, pour salt water and dye water into washing machine and then add the wet fabric. I used the Heavy Duty cycle with an extra rinse.

Sam woke up mid-process so he had a good time staring at the washing machine go round and round.

But then I took the cover out and noticed this...

Bummer. So here's my question. I also have a packet of navy blue dye. Do I go ahead and try to dye it navy blue and see what happens? Or do either of you have any other brilliant ideas for masking this? It's one out of three sides that has turned sort of purple.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Xmas Inspiration

Pant Stretcher Conundrum
They do look very similar...BUT...what are the things at the ends? What do they do?  They look like the hook onto something.  hmm.  AND I want to see the magazine rack.  POST IT SISTER!


I always start to plan around this time for my favorite time of the year.  Most of you know about my handmade Christmas resolution and Project #1 , Project #2, and Project #3, so you know where my head is at already.  And yes I can admit that I am insane...but're reading this so on some level you have to admit you enjoy  Alot of people have been pinning Christmas items on Pinterest and it's fueled my fire.  So I thought I'd share some of my inspirations with you and maybe get your feed back on how we can achieve and what you guys LOVE!

I LOVE antiques and I would LOVE to find some antique handpainted ornaments.  AND to top it off I saw an antique drying rack just like this at the antqiue store just the other day.  I LOVE THIS!

Do you use a tree skirt?  I used this idea last year and loved it.  As many of you know from this post, I have a little dog who LOVES to mark his territory and that includes Christmas tree skirts.  Our first Christmas with Revel I handmade stockings and a skirt to match and T ruined it.  So whatcha think?

How about this curb appeal?  BEAUTIFUL! 

Remember my obsession with burlap?  How about Burlap stockings?  SERIOUSLY! And check out the basket under the tree...beautiful!

Beautiful mantel!  And the white stockings are too cute!  Great mix of vintage and new.
And so I leave you with all of this inspirations.  What you do with it is your 

Pants Stretchers

Oh and I meant to tell you that I think your grandmother is right. Those stretchers look like an old version of this.

For a second I thought they might work for a shirt sleeve also but I couldn't find evidence of anything like that online anywhere.

But they are really cool looking. I just picked up one side of my neighbor's drop side crib to use as a magazine rack in the guest room. Oh the things you can hang on the wall...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Baby Photo Shoot

OMG, the shirt and dress for Ollie are awesome. Love it!

And a super thank you for picking up my slack on the blogging end. We had a photo shoot the other day for a girl I used to work with. She had a baby on Tuesday and we took these pictures the following Monday on Labor Day.

I made a video and everything to try to make up for my lack of posting. Aren't you impressed? ;)

Friday, September 16, 2011

New Duds!

Since I am featuring two sewing projects this post, I thought I'd share a glimpse of my sewing room that I am slowly but surely coming together.  I bought these little numbers two days ago at a HUGE antique mall in Bloomington.  On the tag, it said "Stretchers" and my grandmother said they may be pant stretchers but no one is for sure.  They do make great wall art though don't ya think?  I thought I'd share.

Now on to the business at hand.  It is getting cooler outside my poor children look like paupers because they do not have too many cool weather clothes that fit properly.  We had to go buy Revel new jeans last weekend because one day last week he got on the bus and I could see his ankles..POOR least his only in kindergarten..he doesn't know better  And poor Ollie is about in the same shape.  Revel won't ever wear anything I sew for Ollie it is then.  I had some untouched fabric laying around and we needed somethings with sleeves so here we are.  ENJOY!

                These pics were taken with the old camera    basically THEY SUCK!  Sorry!  But I wanted to attempt for you to see the back detail with the scallop edge for the button holes.  All in all it turned out well I thought.  And best part of all, it's a little big so we can grow into it over the winter months to  come.    

I love this dress and I love the length.  Won't it be sooo cute with some leg warmers?  Click the link to learn how to make your own little leg warmers.  Anywho. 

 Don't you love the hood?  I finally perfected my hood pattern.  Took me a while but I got it down now.  This is a super cute dress that will live with us through the rest of the cold months and can help us ring in spring as well.  Hope you enjoyed the inspiration!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Coffee Anyone?

Hi guys!  Before I get too far into this I wanted to start off with this little ditty.

You've all met Riley (all together now...Hi Riley!)  She is my problem child.  Yes this is my kitchen counter and we have an understanding that she won't get up there when we have company so I SEEM to have total control of my animals.  Most of the time she forgets our agreement but we're working on it.  ANYWAY!  This is a small casserole dish that I was drying some old bread I had to make bread crumbs.  Do you think she would have laid on it without the towell over it?  WHAT A WIERDO!

Anyway...this is going to be short and sweet seeing as I have grandma company this weekend.  Do you remember this post,   and the huge piece of wood that I happened upon?  Well if not here's a sneak peak at what it USED to look like.

BEAUTIFUL HUH?  Well I was looking for some cast iron casters but no such luck.  I got tired of nowhere to sit my cup or computer or whatever trash I have in hand.  Besides....everyone needs a coffee table.  So I was rumaging around in our outdoor shed and I came across a 4x4 in the rafters.  I pulled it down, cut it up, and....


Please ignore any messes....I do!  Anyway.  I added a little linseed oil and here we are!  PS this is Revel...isn't he handsome!  Such a terd...but looks like a complete angel...ha!

The top!

I'm getting better with this new camera.  I'm no photographer but at least we're in
Well hope you enjoyed!  Just goes to prove that you can make something just out of the things you have laying around you.