29 June 2011

My plan is working

Guess what Hubs said the other day. "When we have a house you're definitely having your own room for this stuff." This stuff being sewing stuff mainly. I knew my master plan was working it wasn't completely a bad thing to leave fabric scraps all over the place when I have to stop mid-project. Mwahahaha!

I'm kidding, I didn't really plan that. But I was excited to hear that hehe. It would be really nice to have more than a corner of a room for everything. If only I had gotten that on tape so I could really hold him to it. : )
So this is the project behind the scrapfest that led to him generously offering me an entire room to hide my messiness. (Although let's be honest, pretty much every project spends at least one night on the floor of the living room and/or office...sorry Hubs) I made a small table runner for a shower I'm having in a couple weeks (actually by the time I'm getting around to finishing this post it is THIS WEEKEND). We didn't have anything that would really go with a baby shower/polka dot theme but I did have lots of polka dot fabric. Probably too much, actually...maybe I should branch out a bit.

Here are the detailed "plans" for the project. I wanted it to be a bit wider, but the black fabric I had for the back wasn't wide enough - remember I was dealing with scraps here.
Originally I wasn't going to use any batting, but then I remembered I had a bunch leftover from the tshirt quilt. So I thought why not? It will give the table a little added protection from hot things and wet things. Plus, I love adding things to a project to make it even more time-consuming!

Steps to making a table runner out of scraps when you have little to no time:
  1. Make a rough sketch and plan your dimensions.
  2. Cut fabric and forget to add in seam allowances on at least 2 of the sections.
  3. Realize your scrap of fabric for the back is about 1/4" too narrow, but go with it anyway.
  4. Stack batting, then backing right side up, then top wrong side up. (So right sides of the fabric should be touching)
  5. Sew everything together around the edge, leave an opening to turn it right side out and clip the corners before you turn it right side out.
  6. Realize you shouldn't have just gone with it when your fabric was too narrow because now you have a big fat hole in the side of your table runner.
  7. Photobucket
  8. Since you have no time, just sew up the hole and plan to put a giant bowl over that section of the table runner. Plan to sew across the table runner (to prevent the batting from bunching) and do something to disguise/fix the hole later.
And you're finished! I would seriously consider skipping #3, which would also allow you to skip 6 and most of 7. I guess this is one of those do as I say, not as I do situations.
I'll let you know how many of the party guests are horrified that the table runner is all funky on one side. And I hope to get some good pictures of it in action (read: the messed up side covered up by food) this weekend!
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24 June 2011

Book Tote

I won't tell you how long this has been no the couch with only one strap. I started to wonder if it could work with only one strap, but I suppose a tote for large books with only one strap is a bit impractical. So I sewed on...eventually.
I saw this idea somewhere on Pinterest, but neglected to pin it so I don't know who thought of this. Props to you, whoever you are, because even Hubs jumped on this idea. I picked up some sale canvas-y thick fabric (I really have no idea what it is since it wasn't on a bolt, but I do know it does not iron well, which helps explain the wrinkles). This was pretty simple to put together.
The tricky part was the words. I probably could've finished in no time with a Silhouette, but alas I don't have one. I printed the words out on cardstock then cut them out with an exacto knife. It seemed like that part took forever, but I finished eventually. Next I painted in the stencil with puff paint, but I kind of spread the paint out so it wasn't really puffy when it dried. I didn't use a brush, just the paint bottle so it isn't completely uniform.

I let that dry for...mmm....not sure, but possibly overnight? I spent too long cutting out letters and painting in stencils to risk any smears. Then I sewed all the pieces together, except for the last remaining strap. That can remain unsewn for many days. : ) You can see I wanted to make the straps extra sturdy so I sewed them on in pretty much every direction.
I'll leave you with some pictures and inevitably a song stuck in your head...You're welcome for that. : )
And the big book tote hanging on big books:
This is my "wow this book is getting heavy, I wish I could just take a good picture already" face (the bag was full of books too by the way).
In case you're wondering, although I'm pretty sure you weren't, that Animal book I'm holding was my sole source of entertainment when we first moved here. I had no internet, no tv, no furniture (and Hubs wasn't even living at home). Just a borrowed air mattress, a fleece blanket and the animal book that we bought when we got here. Pretty sure I flipped through the whole thing! Haha. Note to self - pack dvds in the car next time we move!

I hope you like the bag, I couldn't resist making it once I saw the idea! And I guess I should point out that we do go to the library on a semi-regular basis and come home with a big stack of books so this will come in handy for us. Thanks for reading!
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21 June 2011

The last few days

Wow, creative title. You'll have to excuse that, I just ran 6 1/2 miles and I guess I lost my creativity somewhere along the way. I feel like I have a bunch of stuff to share so instead of doing a few different posts I thought I'd just cram a bunch of stuff into one, so here goes.

I had lots o' fun with my sister here. We went down to the coastal path one day to check out the seals and the view and such.
And since I showed a silly picture of her last week, I thought it was only fair that I show you how never to pose for a picture with a tree.
Do the opposite of that pose and you should have a stellar picture! We also drove around after sunset to look at houses and beachy ocean stuff.
Nevermind the crazy disheveled hair, I didn't think ahead to picture time when we left the house.

Aaaand some big news....I'm an aunt for the first time! My sis-in-law had her baby on Monday and we are so excited! We waited 9 long months to find out that it's a girl! (Honestly I think everyone else was more impatient to find out the gender than the parents...or maybe that was just me, haha) I can't wait to go visit, I wish I could go see them right now! In fact, I was so excited I may or may not have made the cutest little gift for her today. : ) I'll share pictures after she gets it...wouldn't want to ruin the surprise!

The last thing I'll squish into this little bit of everything post is that I just reached 50 followers! Back in the day when I had less than 5 I never thought I'd see this day. So thank you for reading!! I may try to do a little something special to celebrate : ) Hope everybody is having a great week so far!
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19 June 2011

Clay - not my favorite medium

So my sis is visiting this week. Yay!
(Hopefully she'll still read my blog after I posted the picture she told me to delete...love you sis!) I thought it would be fun to try something new.
 from one of my Pinterest boards: link
Aren't those cool? Yeah, and didn't seem too hard so I picked up some clay at the craft store. Weellll have you ever used this stuff? Here are the detailed instructions:
Really, Sculpey?? That's all you can give me? How about a 6th line or something. No tips on making the shape or what to do when your clay starts smoking in the oven? Since I know absolutely nothing about clay I got two little packages. I thought that should be enough for a few little bowl plates...wrongo.
And we used hot glue sticks to roll it out...real professional-like. What? I didn't want to stain my nice bamboo rolling pin.
Not the best method, in case you're wondering. Also, you should probably use one package per dish unless you want your dish to be somewhere between cardstock thickness and 1/4". After lots and lots of futile rolling, it was time to cut out our dishes.
I knew there was a reason I kept those tiny plastic swords.  They worked like a charm (it's about time something worked right with this project)!
I had this idea to use a toothbrush holder I found in the bathroom to give it some texture.
My practice pieces turned out pretty cool...not so much on the actual dish.
Time to cook these things! We put them on oven-safe bowls so they would curve up on the edges.
We'll gloss over the part where there was a funky smell coming from the oven and perhaps a tiny bit of smoke coming off the clay. Apparently I didn't have the cooking time exactly right.
Looks like they didn't exactly turn out perfectly.
Oh well.
We still had the pearly clay to work with! Let's get this disaster over with Yay! I went for a mini tree that would hold my hair ties. My sis went for her initials and a flower. I had to hold mine up with thread because it wasn't exactly structurally sound before I baked it.
Andrea's turned out well...
Mine, not so much...this is what I saw when I opened the oven to stick Andrea's in.
I thought maybe I could fix it, but turns out I definitely couldn't.
Oh well, still fun to spend time with my sis and learn that I much prefer sewing to sculpting! More fun from our visit coming this week : )

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14 June 2011

Water Bottle Pockets

Well, Hubs has figured out what this whole sewing thing can mean for him. I don't like the elastic in my workout pants...no problem, my wife can sew! I want my too short pants turned into shorts...no problem, my wife can sew! There aren't any drink pockets on my favorite backpacks...you get the picture.
Not that I mind lending my sewing skills. It's kind of nice because if you haven't noticed, most sewing projects are more cute than manly. So this week's project was adding water bottle pockets to two of his backpacks. We end up always carrying my backpack when we go on hikes because its the only one with pockets for our drinks, but I think Hubs prefers his backpack.

I've done all of the figuring for a Camelback water bottle (picture below), so if you happen to have one and you happen to have a backpack in need of another pocket, you're in luck! You'll need some backpack-ish fabric (1/4 yard is plenty), elastic...and I guess that's about it other than thread and my super-helpful instructions (that's the blue sticky note).
This assumes you have a 3 1/2" wide section on your backpack to work with. Rectangle should be 7 3/4" tall and 7" wide. The diameter of the circle is 3 1/2" and I cut a straight line across it so it would be easier to attach to the backpack. The elastic should be about 4 1/8" or 4 1/4" long. You could definitely go longer, but I wanted it to be able to hold smaller plastic bottles as well.

First, fold over the top of the rectangle to allow a gap for the elastic. Pin it down and sew across.
Feed the elastic through.
Make sure you pin the end when it gets close otherwise you'll end up with the elastic floating around in the middle and that won't do you much good.
Now you can sew the ends so the elastic stays in place. This side has been sewn, but since I used black thread I highlighted it for you.
Alright, now you're going to pin the circular piece to the rectangle. Pin it to the finished side (the one that will be on the outside) of the holder.
I didn't cut things with a very big seam allowance in mind, so I had less than 1/4" seam allowance. After it's attached it's looking kind of like this.
Now for the challenge - attaching it to the backpack. I marked off where I wanted it to go with a white marking pencil. Should be 3 1/2" between each side at the top and it will taper a little bit toward the bottom. I hate to do this to you, but you're just going to have to figure out what stitch is easiest for you and go for it. This is the second one I've done and I was way more frustrated with this attempt. This backpack was pretty thick so I was having more trouble.
Make sure you tuck the unfinished edges under so everything looks clean. After you go around the three sides you may want to go over the top inch or so again on each side. My first attempt already needed a repair because the thread at the top stretched way out (don't worry, I added some length to the elastic for this version and it made a big difference in the ease of getting the bottle in and out).
So it holds a larger Camelback bottle as well as smaller plastic bottles. Aaaand they don't even fall out when they're upside down thanks to the elastic! Have you had any weird sewing/modification requests?
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11 June 2011

Good Saturday!

I normally don't give you a run down of every little thing that goes on, but today I really scored so I wanted to share. First, I woke up and my motivation for running was zero. Thankfully I was running with someone so I couldn't bail. We did 6 miles and almost matched our race pace. Then Hubs and I went to breakfast with our usual crew and tried some new pancake flavors! (we order the same thing pretty much every time so this was branching out for us : ) Raisin walnut (which was surprisingly good) and raspberry white chocolate (which is basically like a dessert pancake...I may have a new favorite).

Don't worry, I'm getting to the really good part. Hubs had a softball scrimmage so I went looking for a new shoe holder. Trust me, it was a necessary purchase. Here was my sorry excuse for a shoe holder (that didn't even warrant a picture with my camera, hence the poor phone quality pic):
That thing was fairly functional at one point, but clearly it was not made to last. That picture makes it look like I have way too many shoes, but really they all just kept falling out so I had a pile of shoes building on the floor. I wasn't terribly optimistic about finding a good shoe holder because, lets face it, they're kind of hard to find. This is probably my second or third.

But thanks to the good people at Real Simple, I found a winner (and no, Real Simple did not sponsor this post I just reeeally like this product). Seriously, I love the new shoe holder.
It has 18 shoe pockets (I easily fit any pair I had in a pocket), 2 boot pockets and 8 elastic-y pockets on the side for flats or flip flops! I stuck a Real Simple magazine (kind of fitting since the organizer is from Real Simple, but really that's the only magazine I subscribe to...did you hear that Real Simple? Yeah, I'll be waiting for a call about your sponsorship) in each of my boots and now they're standing up nicely instead of being crushed under the shoe pile.
Doesn't the whole area look way better? (Don't focus on anything but the shoe organizer, I know the closet could use some work.) You might have noticed there's a pair of shoes still out. Let me assure you, they could've fit. They're my "need to do something dirty/outside" shoes, and were found too dirty unworthy for my brand spankin' new awesome shoe holder.

Sorry, enough with the shoe holder, I know. But really, if you need one head to Bed Bath and Beyond and pick one up, it was only $20, even less with the 20% off coupon. Onto the real deal of the day! On my way to BBB I saw a sign for a yard sale, but didn't stop. The sign was still up on the way back and now had a 1/2 price piece of paper taped to it. So I couldn't pass that up, and it turned out to be literally around the corner from our house.

I pulled up and what did I spot right away? A whole table full of fabric! Since everything was half price now it was $1 per yard. Can't beat that! It's a good thing I had no cash on me : ) I did have $2.50 in change, and I used it!
Over 2 1/2 yards of fabric for $2.50. Yay! And it doesn't smell funny or look old (that can be a serious problem at yard sales). It seems like pretty good quality and I could tell from her selection of books she quilts a lot.
I briefly thought about going with one color scheme (there were lots of reds and pinks that would've gone together), but since I never have anything planned ahead of time I just took what appealed to me the most. Hopefully I can think of something fun and summery to do with the green seersucker fabric! So that's my Saturday (or at least the first 2/3 of it)! Off to a pretty good start for the weekend : ) What's happening with you this weekend?
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