Monday, June 27, 2011

Garden Tour

Between my internship and classes I've had very little time for blogging in the last week.  

But I have been working feverishly on a project...

... except it's for the handmade gift exchange so I can't share my progress with you.

Instead, I have a tour of our garden for you.  (I took the pic of the irises earlier this year - they're long gone now.)

Can't claim credit, though.  This is all my mom's handiwork. 

Look!  Squash! 

I did actually plant a bunch of vegetables... 

... not much to show yet, but as soon as there is I will have pics.

Love the trellis.

The peonies are also long gone, but they are one of my favorites.  They remind me of my grandfather - he always used to plant these.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Baby Gift Sweat Shop

The other day my sister asked me if I could make her daughter a tactile blanket (like a Taggie).  "Sure thing," I said, since I always love adding new projects to my W.I.P. list. 

Then I started thinking about all those pregnant women in my life...

... and turned my sewing room into a sweat shop of epic proportions for making baby shower/baby welcoming gifts.  And sort of went a little crazy and may have added way more ribbon to my stash than I could possibly use in a lifetime of making these things.

There are a bunch more planned, but I figured I'd show off a few just for fun.

Probably should have ironed them before I posted them, but since I hate my iron you know that wasn't going to happen.  :)  Some are cotton, some are flannel.  Most are backed with fleece and one is backed with this jersey knit I had on hand.  These are great for busting through your fabric stash and remnants.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Chalkboard Closet Doors for my Son

We moved in with my parents a few months ago to make things a little easier as I finish grad school, but until recently my son's room has been woefully neglected.  I've finally started sprucing it up a bit. 

Part of the problem has been that while I have wanted to paint a mural on his wall, there was no available surface.  Two walls have that wood paneling and the other two have this horrible texture (BTW, if you know a cheap DIY trick for removing texture from walls, please share it with me).  That left the closet.

The chalkboard that was in my last post - my son loves to write on it.  All the time.  So much so that I rarely get to use it.  I decided he needed one of his own.

I took down the old closet doors, which had this beat-up map glued down on it as long as they've owned the house (which is quite a while).  I gave them two coats of chalkboard paint and then painted this mural over parts of the chalkboard surface with acrylic paints.

I also gave the mural part 2 coats of clear poly-coat varnish so that it would hold up to the abuse of a two and a half year old.

I added a couple cup holder hooks and a pair of $1 metal buckets from Target to hold the chalk and the eraser.  I also bought a pair of matte black closet door handles and I had to buy one more tube of brown paint - otherwise everything else came out of my stash so I think the whole project cost me about $12.

Above is what it looked like before I "cured" the chalkboard surface (if you haven't used the stuff, that just means you rub the side of a piece of chalk all over the surface so that things erase more easily from it).

And here it is after it was cured and with the closet door handles in place.  I had a little fun myself before he got to it.

He'll see it later today and I am pretty sure he's going to love it.  :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Wading in W.I.P.s

Five weeks into summer and I am just hitting my creative stride.  And I am up to my ears in W.I.P.s.  

Urban Utility II has been sitting around for the moment.

I plan on giving this lifeless sweater dress a face lift.

The as-of-yet unnamed art quilt is in a holding pattern because I need to basically take everything off from this point and start adhering the bigger pieces to the fabric so I can start sewing them down.

My top secret handmade gift exchange project is in the works.

And this is a sneak peak at a project for my son that I will hopefully be able to post later this week.

And this... *GASP* ... is what my sewing room looks like at the moment and that's a problem (BTW, don't start cleaning and reorganizing unless you can do it all in one shot because walking back in on this is daunting). 

It's a problem because I start class again tomorrow.  And I should have a minimum of 200 pages of reading and a paper to write every week.  And my internship is about to ramp up in hours.  And not yet on my WIP list is the 400 baby quilts I need to make for all the pregnant women in my life.  And the only thing I want to do right now is anything on that WIP list and NOT the readings I am supposed to be doing for the first day of class tomorrow. 


Friday, June 10, 2011

Winner for the 2nd Craftopotamus Quiltaway!

Thanks to everyone who participated in my giveaway for Urban Utility I!  It was a ton of fun reading all of your comments here and on facebook and meeting a bunch of great "new-to-me" bloggers out there.  

Now, just one little click of Mr. Random Number Generator and ...

... we have a winner!  Ladies and gentleman, the quilt goes to...

Super congratulations, Marsha from Santa Rosa, California!  I'll be putting your brand new quilt in the mail as soon as I get your address.

And to all of those who didn't win today, I really really wish I could make one for all of you.  Seriously.  You all are what makes blogging worth while.  Besides, you never know when I'll give another one away...

In the meantime, I've got to get back to working on my gift for my Handmade Gift Exchange partner... so exciting!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Easy Breezy Beaded Scarf Tutorial

I love accessories.  Scarves especially.  I found this lovely fabric at JoAnn Fabrics and wanted to turn it into a scarf, but I also wanted it to have a little more body to it, so I invented this beaded scarf.

It's really easy and could be done with any fabric and beads.  So easy, in fact, I wrote a tutorial for you.

All you need is some fabric, beads, and matching thread.  The piece of fabric I started with was "58 x 46" (it was the end of a bolt) and I used 42 beads.  Probably a package of 40 to 50 should work out perfectly or whatever you have in your stash. 

I wanted to make the most out of the fabric I had without putting a seam in it, so I cut a large piece from the center and on the bias (roughly 20 inches wide, but I didn't measure it), like this...

You can save the two corner pieces for your stash.  Then I used my sewing machine to stay stitch all the way around the edges of the fabric:

Now make a rolled edge stitch by hand along the same edge.  All you do is fold the edge under twice along the stay stitch and loosely stitch it in place.

I tried to do this part by machine, but the fabric didn't cooperate and I thought the hand stitching looked better.

Now I'll show you how to make these beaded gathers.

Thread your needle with a long piece of thread, but don't knot the end.  Start from the back of the fabric and bring your needle through to the front...

Now weave the needle back into the front of the fabric about a half inch away and then back through again another half inch away...

Now slip a bead on the end of the needle.

Then weave the needle back in and out of the fabric again, keeping the stitches about a half inch apart.

Carry the stitch to the back again...

Then flip the fabric over and pull the thread through.

Pull the thread tight and make a knot.  Then make two more, just to be safe.

Snip the ends about a half inch from the knot.

Flip over the fabric again and... VOILA!   A beaded gather!

Now repeat all over the fabric, but space them out so that they are in rows about 6 inches apart and stagger them.  I alternated rows of three and four gathers, like you can sort of see in this really sad drawing...


Maybe this pic is more clear?


A bunch of beads and gathers later and... HOORAY... you have a new beaded scarf!