Tag Archives: sewing

Feels good to get back into things

29 Aug

I haven’t done anything purely crafty or artsy in a while. It’s all been home DIY projects. My sewing machine was packed away during the move. I brought my paints with me when we stayed with the in-laws, but they too sat in their bag enjoying a long rest.

For W’s birthday I thought it would be fun to do a bean bag toss game, since we were having a backyard party. I didn’t want too many activities outside besides his new play set, but we needed at least a few other things to do. Turns out Walter needs to practice his underhand throwing anyway!

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I figured this would be a good project to get my feet wet again since it’s very easy. Sewing squares together for reusable napkins is how I started sewing in the first place! I did the exact same thing but I filled them with lentils before I sewed them closed. Finishing the first one felt really good. And my machine only got mad at me once for trying to sew through a lentil.

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We also made our own board! Walter did the design and painted everything. I only taped the lines, and Dave cut the hole. I also glued on the letters that W painted. The glitter lines between the paint were a little more hands on and involved all three of us. Dave was excited to find glitter everywhere for the next few days. W placed and painted the white stars as well (while we held the stencil). We were thrilled with his patriotic spirit!

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Living in a staged house isn’t quite like Arrested Development, but close.

22 Jan

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The house is certainly the prettiest it’s ever looked, but all my books are packed away and most of my crafts placed inconveniently in the back of the guest room closet. There are barely any personal photos to find around the house and the garage is about to burst with “extra” furniture.

I left my sewing machine out but I either have to use my knee or one of my hands to press the foot pedal since it’s on an end table (that used to be Dave’s craft table when he was Walt’s age). I wanted to make some place mats for us to use at the kitchen table (to tie the room together!), and I must say that my little ones were quite helpful.

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Sensing that I needed to accomplish something…

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…Petra pre-warmed my fabric. While there was a sewing needle in it.

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And Walt tried out the pedal for himself.

But yeah, the place mats did turn out great, and I got some chuckles in the process!

Many “crafternoons”

21 Sep

This week I have been very creative… or at least productive. Having an upcoming baby shower (and a person with a new baby to whom you want to give a present) will do that to you. I also completed a much overdue project in the nursery: curtains for the window to replace partially broken shades.

I love our cute, Walter-sized duffel bag very much and thought it would be a great present to buy and fill with little gifts for friends. That, however, got expensive, so I decided to make my own using this tutorial — thank you crafters who share free patterns/tutorials! It is smaller than I expected (because apparently I don’t equate measurements with real life), but it’s super easy and is adorable.

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The girlie version.

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For a boy!

Already quilted fabric is very expensive. So is pre-made webbing. I’ll have to do some bulk shopping in the future if I want to make these on a regular basis, cause with the zipper (which was a first for me and surprisingly easy to do) it was almost as expensive as buying a factory made one from China/Amazon.

I’m almost done with the curtains. One is a little too lopsided for my Type A personality, and I need to sew on the ribbon to make it easy to undo them and tie them up. The whole point of replacing the broken shutters was it drove me crazy to open them to look out at the pretty, tree-filled view. I made them blackout curtains, which we’ve never used before with Walter, because, well, why not?

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Cutsie koala fabric.

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Ta-da! Looks so cozy in his play corner now!

There are several more projects ready to go (cut out and everything!), but for now I’m happy to have gotten some things done that have been on the back burner. Go, mama, go!

Christmas Stockings

18 Dec

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I’ve always thought it would be cute to have stockings for our family, but before now I never wanted to spend the money to get matching, personalized ones. After seeing some cute ones at the Holiday Market, I thought to myself, why don’t I just sew some?

Google led me to Sew Like My Mom and I used her tutorial for Christmas stockings. Instead of doing applique letters I plan on cross stitching our names on the front. Maybe after our hectic holiday season. But they were really easy and fun to do! I got a Riley Blake fat quarter bundle from Etsy (for $16) like she suggested and in a night or two I was done!

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Also, the Mantle Clip stocking holders we got are amazing. Those things aren’t going anywhere, and they’re not in the way or obnoxious. Everything turned out great!

Spruill Holiday Artist Market

13 Nov

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It’s the beginning of Mamastock!

I’ve always been a fan of holiday markets, craft fairs, festivals, etc. Tomorrow is the opening of the Holiday Artist Market at the Spruill Gallery in Dunwoody that my BFF Jen$ organizes, and for the first time ever, my stuff will be on sale! They only have local artists participate, there are a lot of awesome crafts,  and when I started my sewing Jen asked if I wanted to be in the market. Of course I couldn’t turn that down!

I am very excited to see how interested people are in my wares. It will be a good venue to test pricing and demand, if any. I am proud that things I have made will be on sale, and I only hope this is the beginning.

Spruill HAM
Opening is Thursday night from 6-9pm, light refreshments provided.
See you there!

How to make crib rail covers

18 Sep

Since I don’t really have a desire to make and sell many of these (except for friends if they want them), here’s how I did it, for all you crafty mamas out there.

I used two yards each of cotton duck and cotton muslin fabric. I wanted something durable but also lightweight for easy washing. Always pre-wash your fabric before sewing.

I measured how wide and long I needed each of these covers. Since I don’t have seamstress tape, I used scrap fabric, marked how long I needed it, and held it against my straight ruler. I only wanted it an inch or so past the railing so it wouldn’t cover up much of the open space of the crib. For the front I needed it to be 50″ x 18″ finished. Because the front piece was larger than my cut of fabric, I put a seam down the middle and needed two pieces of 26″ to sew together. For the two sides I needed 27″ x 10″ finished.

I put the muslin on top of the duck fabric, used a disappearing marker to measure my pieces, then cut them out together. Because of the seam allowance, I added an extra inch to each side (so I cut out 4 cuts of 26″ x 19″ for the front piece and 4 cuts of 28″ x 11″ for the side pieces). I pinned the right sides of the fabric together (first sewing together the fabric for the longer front piece) and sewed them together using a 1/2″ seam allowance. On the shorter ends of each rectangle I left a 3 inch hole so I could flip them inside out so the right sides faced outward once sewn together. I also cut the corners off (make sure not to cut the thread) before I turned them inside out so the corners will lay more flat. I then ironed them (how you iron them will be how they look when they’re top sewn). Top sew them as close to the edge as you want (I am usually a couple millimeters from the edge) with reinforcement stitches at the beginning and end. Cut off all your thread ends.

Then I took them to the crib and figured out where I wanted the snap pieces to go. I used the fabric marker to mark one side of the fabric – 4 each for the shorter pieces and 6 for the long piece. I used no-sew snaps, size 15, and put all the front ones on, making sure they faced the correct way (inside). One by one I did the matching back snaps, leaving them snapped as I finished them so the fabric would be flush when all snapped together.

Voila! Awesome handmade product! Feel free to ask any questions if something is not clear!

Homemade Crib Rail Covers

16 Sep

Yesterday was a very creative day. I spent the morning taking head shots at my church (we’re putting together a new directory), and the rest of the day I made crib protectors. Walt has done a good job so far gnawing at the railings, and when I went to Amazon to buy something to protect the easily scratched wood, a reviewer gave me the idea to make my own. I think they turned out pretty well. Simple design, fun fabric, and snap closures. Walt has already tested them out!

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I love using cotton duck fabric; so durable!

Here’s how I made them!

A Baptism and My Sewing Adventures

15 May

Walt was baptized on Sunday with two other babies from the church. It was fun because while the other, younger babies were well behaved, Walt was entirely unhappy being in Baron’s arms and cried during his baptism. A lot! It was funny, though, and the whole congregation laughed with us. The service was beautiful, and my mother-in-law threw a wonderful lunch party for friends and family afterward. The day was gorgeous, perfect temperature, the food delicious, and the company even better. Family drove in from Alabama and friends I don’t get to see very often came to celebrate. It was an absolutely wonderful first Mother’s Day for me!

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David let me sleep in by playing with the baby in the morning. Walt has started having trouble going back to bed when he gets up early. He used to get up at 5am, nurse, then go back to bed for a couple more hours. Mama liked that deal. But now he is drowsy while nursing and then wide awake when he’s finished. Even if the birds aren’t up singing yet! The day before they had gone on errands so I could get some work done, and they picked out The Sound of Music on Blu-ray to give to me. Besides being one of my favorite movies, it convinced me to want a beautiful wedding gown as well as four to seven children. If Maria can do it, so can I!

While searching the internet for a perfect baptism outfit, I decided there were none. Most of them were expensive and looked silly, especially the “boy” ones. My own baptism outfit is lost, and the Johnston ones fit smaller babies. I wasn’t quite sure what to do until I decided to make my own outfit for him. Like Maria, I should know how to make clothes too. I looked at dress patterns, but they were all so frilly. So I decided to make him a white linen john john (AKA romper). I found an awesome free tutorial online, and when I emailed the link to myself, I wrote, “Am I really going to be able to do this? We will see.” I apparently have great faith in myself. To be fair, the tutorial seemed very confusing until I started doing each step; then it made more sense.

My initial sewing adventures started with a onesie I shortened into a shirt for Walt. The long onesie fit him weird but it was cute and I had bought it from a thrift store so I thought, if I mess this up I’ll only be wasting a couple dollars. But it turned out OK and he wears that shirt all the time. I did it to another shirt. Then I wanted some napkins sized appropriately for a baby because I felt I was wasting too many paper towels at mealtimes. Thinking it would be easy to do and fun and would save me the hassle of spending lots of money online, I did that too. They even turned out cute!

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I’m not really sure what possessed me from going from an easy square project to children’s clothing, but hey, I like a challenge.

I made the pattern:

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I worked day and night, and night and day. While it isn’t perfect, it turned out perfectly!

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And with a sweet day shirt underneath, it was beautiful on my little boy. He looked like an angel. And we got compliments on the outfit before people even knew I made it!

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And that’s why, if you think you’re going to get a present from me in the future, it’ll probably be handmade. Or a used book. Because I love used books!

Day and night. Repeat.

3 May

Every morning as the house wakes up, I go around opening the shutters, letting in the early light. We let in the day, and at night, we close up again, cozy together against the darkness settling around us. In between we play, we clean, we talk, we leave, we return, we cook, we read… so many things fill up our days.

I have started looking forward to when we add another baby to our family. It shouldn’t happen for a couple years, if all goes as planned, which we know doesn’t always happen, but at least I don’t start hyperventilating when I think about being pregnant and giving birth a second time. We’re used to sleep again (though I wish Walt would get up a little bit later in the mornings), I’m able to leave the house in an efficient manner, and everything on the whole seems like more fun than work. I’m excited about Walt being an older brother one day.

I may open my eyes in the morning happy to be awake, or dreading the long day, but either way, I’ll soon find myself in my pajamas, reading a book, finishing a glass of wine, talking to my husband, and brushing my teeth, another night waiting for me. With another day to follow.

Thank goodness for all the new things life brings me, whether I notice them or not, even if it’s just another day. I’m lucky to have it, so I need to make sure it’s a good one. I can let it surprise me, or I can deny myself the pleasures life wants to bring me.

Like a good sale at the fabric store. Now that I’m teaching myself to sew (I learned how to thread the machine and it was all over from there), it’s like Martha Stewart meets Marge Simpson at our house. But more awesome, cause it’s me. And you know me, you lucky thing.

Domesticity

9 Mar

The house is pungent with kale this morning. I cooked a bunch and Dave pureed it into little cubes to torture feed to Walt. I am hoping that because I like kale so much my little boy will too. He’s young I know but I have memories of only wanting to eat chicken fingers and spaghetti growing up so I don’t want that to happen to him. We’ve tried sweet potato, peas, avocado, carrots, pears, rice cereal, applesauce… in addition to kale some acorn squash is next on the list. Then some kind of bean, probably black eyed peas. I can’t imagine not cooking it in bacon or ham but maybe that’s too much for his tiny, sweet little heart. He was eating like a champ for a couple weeks but recently he’s started choking on his lunch and dinner. His daily breakfast of cereal, applesauce, pears and cinnamon goes down easy still.

A couple nights ago I finally overcame my fear of my sewing machine’s instruction manual and had Dave help me thread the needle. It’s about 20 pages of incoherent pictures matched with sparse wording. Luckily Dave loves those challenges, and it was pretty adorable watching him practice sewing some scraps together before he even let me try. I keep buying these onesies from Value Village that fit weirdly on his legs. So on a particularly cute one I cut the legs off and needed to hem the “shirt” so the bottom wouldn’t curl up in the wash. Besides the fact that I’ve had the sewing machine for two years and out on my craft table for a year, beckoning me to start my quilt, and a good friend gave me a sewing book as a baby present (patterns and instructions for sewing baby stuff), so I needed to get on that. I feel the craft urge in my fingertips, waiting for some sewing proficiency to happen so I can wow myself with my accomplishments.

I was talking to a friend yesterday about reading some travel blogs and getting wanderlust as a result. My in-laws are in Thailand right now playing with tigers, and I also see these awesome pictures from around the world, and I just want to throw off the shackles of our mortgage and our growing possessions and travel forever. I would love to just take off on foot (well, ground travel by car, boat, and train) and go everywhere.

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But then I also want to move out to the country and cook and sew and read and put together puzzles by the fire and home school… kind of like Laura Ingalls Wilder or Anne of Green Gables.

My friend suggested I do both. What an idea! Could I really have it all?

Spring is coming

I already have it all!