Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

Last night we went to a Halloween party at a local school and Little Man won second place!

But let's be honest, I was more excited than he was - validation for all that work on my crappy sewing machine!

We had a great time, thank you to the local firemen for putting on this event.

Baby Girl has a fever so she didn't get to go and won't be trick or treating tonight either. I am really happy that I decided to make her costume so large, it will easily fit next year and she will be more likely to actually walk around wearing it.

 Wonder Women won first place and the Garden Gnome came in third - how cute are they?

I picked up this blue wig at the grocery store and boy was it itchy, I guess that is the trade off for a $6.00 wig. I also tried to do some Jerseylicous make-up but my husband just said it looked like normal make-up. Oh well, it felt like heavy eye make-up to me.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Glitter Pumpkins

I watched Martha Stewart add glitter to whole pumpkins the other day and thought I would try a variation on our carved pumpkins.

I added white glue to the desired area and then sprinkled with orange glitter. I forgot that the glitter was going to end up everywhere. I tried to wipe out the access but after about 5 minutes I realized that it didn't matter.
Our bedazzled pumpkins
Baby Girl wasn't as excited about getting messy as I thought she would be. Poor thing has a fever. Little Man kinda sorta helped, but mostly just asked "Whatcha doing?" 

 I like the affect but think the technique can be improved upon. I am open to your suggestions.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Raven or Black Chicken - You decide

Originally Baby Girl was going to be a mummy like her brother, but seeing as my sewing machine and I are taking some time off from one another, I needed a different idea that would require little to no hand sewing. I thought a bird would be easy to make and I was right!

Please forgive the poor images. My good camera is broken and I am using a point and shoot that my toddler son has claimed as his own that has no lens cover - desperate times call for desperate measures.

I bought two boas from Joann Fabrics and a plain black turtleneck (3 sizes too big) and leggings from Wal-Mart. I wrapped the boa around and pinned it to the turtleneck and then pinned some tufts to the shoulder and then down the arms. I bought the turtleneck larger so I could get regular clothes under it if necessary and so it would hang longer like a dress.  To make the beak, I took some black construction paper and folded it into a triangle and then hot glued it to a stretchy headband, add some more feathers with some more hot glue and call it a day.

Once again my model is napping but I promise to post some pictures of them actually wearing the costumes. The raven looks better with a little body in it.

My mother-in-law said I should have bought a white boa and made her into one of her Polish Crested Hens, which in hindsight would have been hilarious - c'est la vie.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Another Polyester Flower Tutorial

Polyester Poppy Tutorial
Not that the Internet needs one more fabric flower tutorial but really is one more going to hurt?

No picture this week for the cocktail, not sure why, but it just didn't happen. We did 7 and 7 which was okay, but not my favorite. Now I have a big ole bottle of Seagram's 7 and I am not sure what I am going to do with it.

 - 2 oz. Whiskey, straight grain
 - 5 oz. 7-up
 - 1 wedge Lemon

Mix and serve in a highball glass. Garnish with the lemon.

For the flowers you will need:
1. Cheap fabric that is made of polyester so it will melt - a quarter of a yard will make a lot of flowers
2. Heat source - candle or embossing gun
3. Needle and thread
4. Scissors
5. Template if you feel that is necessary
6. Buttons
7. Hot glue gun
8. Bobby pin or clip you want to affix your finished flower to
9. Cold water to dip your burned fingers in 

Step 1: (I always here New Kid's On The Block "Step By Step" when I type that out)
Cut out about 5 or 6 circles in whatever size you like. We did 3 inch diameter circles.
Step 2:
Clip small slits into the circle until they almost reach the middle.
Step 3:
Hold circle over your heat source and watch it melt. I found that this step went really fast and it was hard to hold melting plastic. Please be careful. In one tutorial I read the gal recommended holding it with a hemostat, and if I had one handy I would have used it.
This is where having the cold water on hand is nice.

Slightly melted but not burned - it is a fine line.
Step 4:
After you have all your petals melted, place them on top of each other and sew together. We found that if you scrunch the middle up while stitching you get a fuller flower. Don't worry about your stitches being neat because you are going to soon do Step 5.

Step 5:
Attach a button to the middle of your flower either by sewing it on or with your trusty glue gun.

Step 6:
I used a large bobby pin that I found at Joann Fabrics and sewed my flowers to the end. In hindsight I should also have used some hot glue to add some strength. You may also like the idea of attaching a couple flowers to a piece of felt and then gluing the felt to a hair clip or pin.
Here is my friend Audrey's finished product. Not only does she have a beautiful polyester poppy she also has great hair.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It's Not You, It's Me

Ouch! How can something so generic and boring hurt you so much? I understand that less than one percent of unsolicited manuscripts get purchased which is about the same odds being injured by a toilet this year or finding a four-leaf clover on the first try: both 1 in 10,000. I am not going to lie though... I was hoping I would be the lucky person that they wanted to fly out to meet and start working with right away, can you say sequel? I knew that wasn't going to happen after a couple months went by and I hadn't heard from the publisher, but a girl can hope.

Now I have to decide if I want to continue to try and find a publisher or a literary agent. Nothing needs to be decided today, I think I will tend to my wounds and go camera shopping.  Perhaps it is poor form to post my rejection letter, but I am proud that I put myself out there. I still believe my book is a great idea and I will comfort myself knowing that Martha Stewart's first craft book was also rejected.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Yarn Pumpkins Don't Rot

I should be working on costumes but decided to make this cute crocheted pumpkin instead. Is it bad that I get excited when I finish a project and my son can identify the object? As I typed that I realized that maybe that made him sound a little dim-witted, which isn't what I was intending. I am sure you understand what I was trying to convey. 

The pumpkin turned out a little smaller than I had hoped but I think the pattern can be easily adjusted to make a bigger pumpkin. Here is the pattern if you are interested in making one yourself.
Crocheted Pumpkin

Okay, off to swim lessons. From the slow, deep breathing on the couch I think that means waking my little man up after he insisted he wasn't going to take a nap.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Good-byes Suck

First Fishing Trip With Grandpa
 This morning we dropped my dad off at the airport shuttle and the whole drive back home I listened to my son cry because he wanted to go to NY with Grandpa on the airplane. This was the first time he really understood what was going on and it broke my heart.

Moving 1600 miles away from your family is tough but once you have kids it gets so much harder. When we moved here to Colorado I thought it would be a short-term stay and then we would eventually make our way back to the East Coast. Ten years later and I have a hard time even imagining what living in that time zone would be like.

We are lucky that my husband's parents spend half the year here with us and I really wish I could convince my parents to do the same.

This was a great visit with my dad but I wish that every visit didn't end with a sad good bye and so many months between seeing each other again. 
Fishing Trip Number Two - For the record - Fish 2/Fisherman 0

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fall Bag

Some girls like shoes or jewelry, I like coats and bags. Not to be mistaken with purses, bags must be able to carry a plethora of goods including, but not limited to; cell phone, diapers, wallet, current yarn project and camera.  Here is my latest crochet creation, the Derek bag by Che. Like the majority of the items I crochet or knit I found the pattern on Ravelry

This was my first attempt at lining a crocheted bag and it was a learning process. I started out with a cute nautical print canvas but after destroying that with my seam ripper I found this nice utilitarian brown in my fabric box.  I am pleased with the end results and now I have to go find a coat that coordinates with this lovely new bag.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mummy Halloween Costume

When I was growing up Halloween in my house meant go down in the basement, dig through the dress up bin and see what you can come up with. I am bound and determined to make M and G's costumes for as long as they let me and hopefully it teaches them some life lessons about thrift, creativity or some other equally valuable lesson you see fit to insert here.

I found an online tutorial that showed how to make a "simple" mummy costume using an old sheet, knit shirt and pants. Perfect for both kids right? Wrong! I think my sewing machine has it out for me. I must have rethread it 50 times (no exaggeration) and was able to create this.

Mummy Costume For A Toddler
In theory this is a great beginner costume because you don't need to sew straight lines and messy adds to the effect.  I didn't have white pants (imagine that for a 2 year old) so I used some old blue sweatpants. I figure it will be dark and no one will notice but me. 
M loved helping me rip the sheets into long strips but still refuses to try it on. I have faith that come Halloween he will love the idea of dressing up as a mummy. As for G - I am moving on to plan B and think she will be a raven since it will require very little use of my sewing machine.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tissue Paper Flower Decorations

I am what you might call thrifty or cheap, depending on if we are friends or not. When I was planning G's first birthday I wanted decorations that I could also use to decorate her half of her bedroom. The room is pretty boyish with the blue paint, airplane light and dinosaur wall slicks around M's bed. Other than a random doll and all the girl clothes in the closet you wouldn't know a baby girl also sleeps there - until this weekend.

ummmm... maybe I should fix the sheet next time.
Tissue paper flowers are insanely easy to make. Fold about 10-15 sheets of tissue paper into a fan, tie in the middle with some string, cut the ends into a round shape and floof. I hung them with the idea of making a deconstructed mobile and think that was achieved.

If you are going to do this yourself I recommend a ladder and not the balancing on the side of the crib as I did.

Tissue Paper Flowers and Fabric Bunting
When M came home and saw them he said "Mom, did you see the flowers that grew on the ceiling?" Mission accomplished.

If you are looking for where I got the blankets that are pictured you should check out RockyTopDesign on Etsy. She made both and G loves them!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Crocheting With Beads

Looking for a super simple, yet elegant gift to give this Christmas season? Allow me to recommend the Understated Necklace by Sharon Hanson. I found this pattern on Ravelry and was able to create it while watching one episode of Project Runway. The most time consuming part of the whole project was either picking out which beads I wanted to use or chasing the runaway beads around the floor.

Like most patterns I run across, I ended up altering it slightly. Instead of creating a loop for a button hole I opted for a toggle closure and I switched the beads up to be all the same size in a 3 - 2 - 3 pattern. I also wanted a little more space between the beads so I chained eight in between each set of beads.

This is an excellent beginner piece for those learning to crochet with beads and every time I have worn the bracelet out it gets noticed.

Sharon Hanson is the owner/designer of Knot-Cha-Cha in Portland, Oregon and kindly offers this tutorial free of charge.  Find the pattern here!
The necklace version - please ignore the coffee stain!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

First Quilt

When I was in the third grade my mom tried to start a quilting club with my teacher and some other moms and kids. All I remember was the first, and possibly last meeting, where we learned about cutting out squares. So from my calculations it has been about 23ish years since that first quilting lesson that I actually have a finished quilt under my belt.

My mom makes beautiful quilts so the bar was set pretty high on this one. She helped me square it up and add the borders. Thanks to You Tube, I attempted mitered corners with some success.

No sleepy flowers or dull prints here. I used a baby animal embroidery sampler and also covered G's feet in fabric paint and tried to get her foot prints. After three attempts I picked the block that looked most foot-like and then outlined the paint with embroidery floss to emphasize that they are footprints.

Not too shabby for my first attempt. It was a humbling experience to say the least!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Oliver + S Music Box Dress

This project started with a mantra that went something like this:
I will follow all the directions.
I will press my seams.
I will take my time while cutting.
I will read and then reread the directions until they aren't in Greek
I can do this.

Oliver + S Example Dress
What I love about Oliver + S patterns is that they are written for the person who has just cracked open the box of their first sewing machine. The Music Box dress gets their easiest rating and I would have to agree. I messed up the inverted box pleats but I guess that is what I get for trying to sew this at 10:00 at night with a two year old (I have no idea why he was still awake) "helping" me.

This dress is in the 18 - 24 month size and I haven't tried it on Baby Girl yet but the top feels small to me.

I love the pin dots but think I might applique a matryoshka doll to the bodice or skirt - that is if it fits her. Next time around I am going to opt for the simpler version of the skirt with one or no pleats or perhaps try and sew it without the help of my two year old assistant.

And for the record - I did follow most of the directions, I cut out the fabric slowly and carefully, all the seams were pressed and I think I pulled it off.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cocktails & Crafts - Beaded Bracelet

At Little Girl's birthday party my friend had a kick-ass beaded bracelet on that she graciously said she would teach us to make. The design is based on a Chan Luu bracelet and a tutorial can be found on Cut Out And Keep.

Audrey invented at fabulous cocktail which for the purpose of this post I will call the Yummy Pulp:
  • Pink lemonade
  • Sprite
  • Clementine flavored vodka
  • Pureed clementines
  • Ice
  • Sugar rim if you like
Mix up in the ratio you desire and enjoy. The pumpkin in the picture was just our attempt at food styling.

Here is the beginning of my bracelet. The hardest part was getting the beading started but once you get on a rhythm it gets easier and almost meditative.

Yummy Lunch!

Chan Luu Inspired Bracelet
The biker chick version.
I still have to add the bead glue to finish them off and since the kids are both asleep right now I think I will head outside now.

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