Monday, November 15, 2010

Twin Baby Quilts

Now that my sister has had her baby shower (not to mention her girls!) I can finally show you the quilts I made for my nieces.

They both look like this:

You'll notice there are 3D yellow flowers in the top right and bottom left corners. I made each quilt the same but made one with yellow flowers and one with pink flowers:

That way they could tell their quilts apart from the front. The yellow flower one is backed in yellow snuggle fleece and the pink flower one is backed in pink.

They each have jumbo white rick-rack as a border in the front:

The fabric comes from the Lucy Fun Flowers collection by Lakehouse. I just love the happy, bright colors. The fleece was thick enough that I didn't have to use any batting. And I followed the tutorial for machine binding found here. If you are interested in trying to make a quilt, the Basic Quilt Along Series at Make and Takes is a great start. It's written by Amy of Diary of a Quilter and she is a great teacher! Quilting is really not hard once you get the hang of it and I encourage even novice sewers to give it a try. Make a table runner or a small wall hanging first so you don't get overwhelmed.

For these quilts I adapted a pattern that came with my new Flying Geese Ruler. I basically cut it in half and then added borders.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween Costume: Part III - the Finale

Hermione Granger is finally complete! I spent the entire afternoon and evening of the Thursday before Halloween making her wizard robe. I used McCall's pattern 3789:
We did View B but I changed it up a bit. I didn't add the hood and I made it one piece in front (you can't tell from the pattern's photo, but the front of the robe is open). It took a little thinking on my part - something I don't enjoy, ha ha. But it turned out great and "Hermione" is happy:

Although she could also pass for a choir girl or a federal judge....

But for us, it's Hermione Granger with a purple wand and pink glitter shoes!

(And her personal copy of Hogwarts: A History.)

Halloween Costume: Part II

Hermione needed a Griffindor tie for her costume. Unfortunately, Harry Potter is not as popular commercially as it once was so it was impossible to find gold and maroon striped fabric to make the tie. I had to get creative.

I ended up purchasing a half-yard (more than I needed) of maroon cotton sateen and a spool of gold grossgrain ribbon. I figured I'd adhere the ribbon to the fabric to make stripes. Yes, I'm crazy. But it did work. Here's how I did it all:

I started by following the Little Tie Tutorial from Sewing in No Man's Land. I made my pattern on a piece of wrapping paper, cut it out and then pinned it to the fabric:

I ended up cutting it out with pinking shears to prevent any fraying. Now it was time to make the stripes. I cut a bunch of strips of Heat N Bond the same width as my ribbon:

Then ironed them to the fabric:

I cut off the excess so I wouldn't gum up my iron and ironing board. Then I removed the paper backing and ironed the ribbon on. For some reason I didn't take a photo...? Anyway, it was time to hem the bottom of the tie. I deviated from the tutorial and simply folded over the bottom, pinned it:

and sewed it together with a 1/4-inch seam allowance:

I did the same thing on the other side and then turned them right sides out and pressed:

The next step was to sew the back seam:

Then turn it right-side out and press:

Then, following the tutorial, I made a neck band with a strip of the sateen and some velcro. I followed the instructions for turning the tie, but because my fabric was so stiff with the ribbon, I didn't get the look I was going for:

No neat little knot at top. So. I scrapped that idea and did this instead:

Gasp! I just cut up all my hard work! But it's okay. I took that middle section and turned in the raw edges like so:

Then I threaded the neck band through it and tacked it in place with a few stitches:

Then I turned it over and tacked the tie at that back center seam:

And folded the bottom in half and tacked that in place:

And when you turn it around you have the illusion of a windsor knot:

Much better!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Halloween Costume: Part I

This year Carlie wants to be Hermione Granger (from the Harry Potter series) for Halloween. I need to make her a wizard robe, a Griffindor tie, and a magic wand. I also couldn't help but think a Hermione costume wouldn't be complete without a copy of Hogwarts: A History, since she quotes from that book all the time. So I made one:

I was lucky enough to find a paper mache book (the hollow kind) at Joann and some black corrugated paper in the scrapbook section:

I painted the book black with acrylic paint. I dry-brushed gold paint onto the corrugated paper to give the impression of gilded pages. I also painted gold accents on the spine and outer corners and then penciled in the title:

I had to open an MS Word document and use the Old English font to get the look I wanted. The "H" is really difficult so I Googled "Old English H" and found a simpler version. Then I used a gold paint pen to fill in the letters:

Then I measured and cut out strips of the corrugated paper and hot glued them to the sides:

You can see it's just a hollow form:

Good for storing Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans or some Chocolate Frogs. And since it's made of paper and hollow it won't be too heavy to take Trick-or-Treating.

Yes, I'm insane. For some reason I get a kick out of creating stuff like this. You know, pointless, non-income-generating stuff. Ha ha! But at least now Hermione will be complete.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Spider Puffs

I made these cute spider puff clips for Caralie to wear this month. I saw something similar at Target and figured I could make my own.

The googly eyes are hysterical. And I even gave them their own bows so they could be "girl" spiders. Here's a list of materials needed if you want to make your own:

Super-stiff black glitter felt
2" black pom-poms
googly eyes
light-colored chalk
alligator clips
4" of 3/8-inch wide black grosgrain ribbon for each clip
hot glue and glue gun
skinny purple ribbon for bows (if desired)

STEP 1: First draw legs on a piece of cardstock. I based my legs around a quarter-sized circle as seen below:

Cut out the legs and place on matte side of felt. Rub with chalk:

Cut out felt legs:

STEP 2: Hot glue pom-poms to legs (glitter side up), then hot glue googly eyes:

STEP 3: To make ribbon-covered clips like the ones above, hot glue one end of ribbon to bottom of clip as shown and wrap around hinge:

Now glue ribbon down to top of clip and wrap under and glue to the inside:

This gives the clip a little more grip in the hair.

Now glue clip to underside of spider:

STEP 4 (optional): Make tiny bows and glue to spiders:

Now you have some cutie-patootie spider puffs!

Caralie was so excited to wear these to school today. They even stayed put when she twirled around in her new Halloween skirt:

I'll post about that skirt later. I made it using the Circle Skirt Tutorial from MADE.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I live in the desert of Arizona where summer lasts at least 6 months. Some people like this. I do not. Fall and Winter are my favorite seasons (because I've never lived in Wisconsin) and I don't get to truly experience either in this area. Yesterday was the "first day of autumn" technically, but it sure doesn't feel like it here. It's not even on the horizon. So I took matters into my own hands.

I bought the two candles seen above. They are the cheap $3 candles from Wal-mart and I LOVE THEM. The one on the right is called Mulled Cider. At first I thought I somehow managed to buy the only candle without a label, but then noticed the other candle says "Easy Peel" and realized that such a directive was most likely irresistible to a certain 6 year old. I bought a Pumpkin Spice candle last year and used up every last drop of wax, so I was glad to see they still carry it. They also have one called Warm Apple Pie that is delicious (I got it last year, too).

I'm surprised that such a cheap candle can have such an effective scent, but I'm not complaining.

Also on my list of Currently Can't Live Without This and What the Heck Did I Do Before This Came Along:

Blue Bell Caramel Kettle Crunch ice cream. If you are local, check Albertson's. Vanilla ice cream with caramel popcorn (and, yes, it's crunchy!) and a caramel swirl. This was brought to a family birthday party recently and I was instantly converted.

This ain't half bad either:

Crappy photo, but delicious ice cream! Too bad it's a limited edition flavor. I hate it when they do that. It's chocolate ice cream with marshmallows, chocolate bits, and a graham cracker swirl. And it's slow-churned, meaning less fat and therefore downright healthy. In a sugary sort of way.

So go get some of this fabulousness before Fall really is here and it's too cold for ice cream. Then go light a candle and think of me.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fun Fall Craft Link!

It's Fall!!! (Somewhere.)

I found these today on V & Co.'s blog. Click on the link for a tutorial for making fall leaves with crayon shavings and wax paper! We've all done it before, but it's nice to have a refresher course so you don't gum up your iron. I think these look fabulous and considering Fall is my favorite season and I don't get to enjoy it here in hell Arizona, I'm making these (maybe tomorrow!) with my daughter so I can at least pretend it's here.

Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy summer, but I'm a firm believer that summer should last no longer than 3 months (hello, 6+ months in AZ!!) and should never get over 100 degrees in a dry heat or 85 in a wet heat. Does anyone know where that blissful nirvana exists? You know, the place where it only snows in December for Christmas and then stays above 45 for the next 2 months? If you find it, let me know. I may even pay you a finder's fee!


Since making these myself, I have a few helpful hints:
  • Instead of using your ironing board, place several sheets of newspaper on your kitchen counter top. You'll have a flatter surface and the newspaper will absorb the wax. I didn't want a waxy towel - not sure how to clean that.
  • Your iron needs to be at least as hot as the Rayon setting to get the wax to melt appropriately to spread it around.
  • Use a new paper towel with each batch to avoid getting a waxy build-up on your iron.
  • Have fun mixing all different colors. Our favorite leaves were a mix of violet red, peach, spring green, and metallic gold. I also did one that was orange and violet that I like as well.
  • I ended up making my own leaf template that was a little simpler so that my 6-year-old could cut it out easily. It's only about 3-4 inches across. And I like it!
  • We found that the simplest way to shave the crayons (after scraping them with scissors - no fun) is to use the sharpener in the back of a 64-count box. Just open the bottom and pour the shavings onto the wax paper.
Now go make some of your own if you haven't already!