After last Saturday’s thrift store run, my sis-in-law/friends and I did some paper crafting. One of the girls had the idea sometime last year to make some paper wreaths out of recycled books. I just got it hung up today, but I finished my wreath on Sunday.

Or so I thought.

This was the look I was going for…

And this is kind of what I ended up with. I didn’t realize it was so lopsided until I hung it up….I’m trying to decide if it looks more like a demented bird or an aerial view of a hurricane.

Yeah, I think I’ll need to go back and add some more leaves (or feathers, or whatever) on that one side. Good thing I got a thick book!

There has been sewing. And knitting. Just no visual updates on that yet.

baa baa wet sheep

Wet mostly plastic sheep, really.

I was planning on sewing more last night after Nicole left. But by the time I got everything cleaned up, I was so tired that all I was up for was sitting in front of the tv for Doctor Who and the most brainless crafting I could think of–unraveling the rest of the Stay-puft Marshmallow sweater. I washed it this afternoon and hung it to dry and hopefully stretch out. (It’s draped over my music stand, covered in plastic to keep it from rusting where I’ve chipped the paint off, with water bottles at the ends of the skeins to weigh them down. I found the idea on Ravelry and got all excited since I wouldn’t have to buy anything to make this work.)

It hasn’t quite unkinked as much as I’d hoped…might be due to the high synthetic content. But I think it is a little straighter than it was. Balling it up might help, too. It actually dried almost all the way in the approximately three hours I had it outside–the only damp spots were right at the bottom, where the water bottles were. So I’ve got it in the basement to dry the rest of the way.

Other things I did this afternoon:

  • Went to the garden center where I work with my parents to help them get stuff for their gardens (with my employee discount, of course). The tradition the last couple of years that I’ve done for Mother’s Day has been to get the stuff to fill her couple of flower planters on the deck, so she and I picked out stuff for that too.
  • Planted said flowers in the pots, as well as the herbs that also go on the deck.
  • Finished one half of a knitting project:

 This is the second set of Constellation Gloves that I’m making for a friend of mine (who loved mine and wanted to steal them.) I was planning on sewing once I got done dealing with the planting and yarn washing and laundry and such, but then my brother and sis-in-law stopped by to visit Mom. And then they put in a Star Wars movie. So I had to watch it with them. Darn. Finishing this was quieter than sewing, and quicker to grab. So there ya go.

Ok, off to finish tidying up here a bit. And then maybe actually do that sewing!

A little Earth Day recycling action

And now for something completely different! (Editing the post I made last night, rather than writing a new one, since a day off of work means I got this done way faster than I expected to.)

 I had this container, left over from some cleaning scrubby things. When I used up the last of the “magic erasers”, it seemed a shame to throw a good-sized plastic container away, and I had the thought that it might be a good solution for a project I’ve been pondering for awhile–a travel case or pouch or something for toiletries. I’ve been thinking about sewing something, but wasn’t sure how to deal with the moisture-breeds-mold issue with fabric. With this, I can easily just pop the lid on this open to let things dry. But the labels wouldn’t come off, which made it ugly. And the plastic on the sides is pretty thin. So I needed a way to make it sturdier.

I also had this fabric–it was given to me for free. And I wasn’t really sure what to do with it. For one thing, there wasn’t a whole lot of it, maybe something like a yard. For another, it’s not the sort of print that I feltl like I could get away with wearing in public at my age. It would be a great print for a kid, but I don’t have any. Or any nieces or nephews. Or any non-related kids that call me an aunt anyway. Really, the only thing I would have been able to do with this is pajama shorts. But unfortunately, this isn’t a very comfy-feeling fabric, especially for a knit. It just feels kind of rough and would certainly not be nice for sleeping in. And I wouldn’t want to subject a child to wearing a scratchy, rough t-shirt. That would be mean.

So last night, I chopped it up and made this. That’s right, I turned it into yarn. I didn’t have yarn on hand that would match the lid of the container, and nearly everything I have is for specific projects anyway. I’ve seen tutorials for t-shirt yarn before, and figured this would be a good test, because the colors would make for fun yarn. And it’s thick enough that it would certainly protect the sides a bit.

Take that, stash oddity!

It felt like knitting with a rope. Or those stretchy loops that I used to make potholders with on a plastic weaving loom when I was a kid.But the nice thing about it is that the “yarn” was chunky enough that this worked up really fast. Other than casting on and knitting about a third of the bottom portion last night, I got this done within a couple of hours while hanging out with my brother and catching up on some tv shows we both like. (He was off today, too–he’s normally off on Fridays, and I just didn’t get scheduled to work.)

So here’s the finished result:

I’m pleased with how it turned out. And the yarn does look fun. Though I guess the original print is more obvious than I thought–my brother only saw it in it’s chopped up post-yarnifying state, and guessed right on his first try that it had been Snoopy.

Without the container, for a better view of the handle. (Which is long enough that it doesn’t interfere with getting the lid open. This is just three braided pieces of the yarn.)

And it’s the perfect size for those travel-sized toiletries. Now if I could just figure out what I did with the mini shampoo/conditioner/contacts solution containers after my last weekend away… I know I didn’t toss them!

p.s. Yes, I did also work on the blouse some yesterday. Mainly trimming and prepping the facings, which are not actually sewn into the blouse yet. So picturewise, nothing to report.

musings on paper

…or, more specifically, what I’m doing with it.

I mentioned last Saturday that I’d spent a good chunk of the day making some paper. Well, the main reason I was making it didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped….

The idea was to use some of the dried petals that I’d saved from my bridesmaid bouquet for my friend Julie’s wedding so that I could have some nice handmade paper to incorporate into the page when I get around to doing her wedding pictures for my scrapbook. (Which I should probably get on that, seeing as how their 2nd anniversary is coming up in June!) Well, it didn’t turn out so great…the hydrangea petals, which were a really pretty touch of blue when the paper was wet, completely lost their color as it dried. And the rose petals, which were kind of cream, turned brown. The worst part, as illustrated on the left, was that all of these petals decided to bleed brown all over the paper as it dried. I may still be able to use it, at least if I flip it over to the side of the paper that was drying on the fabric and therefore didn’t oxidize as much (see right), but I’m still kind of disappointed in the look of it.

I also had some other miscellaneous scraps of various-colored cardstock that were too small to recycle as is, so I threw a bunch of them into the craft blender while I had it out to see what would happen. Also didn’t quite turn out as I thought, especially the browns since I was trying to make them about the same color, But hey, my cat approves. She plopped right down on it almost as soon as I’d laid it out, and refused to leave until well after I took the pic.

And then there’s the actual usage of the paper (not the handmade stuff, it took half the week to even dry so I haven’t done a thing with it yet other than stack it in my room.) I’ve been developing….not a love-hate, but more like a love-apathy relationship with my scrapbook hobby over the last year or so. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it….it’s just that 4 times out of 5, when about to do something crafty, I’ll choose something sewing-related instead. Probably the main reason is sheer laziness–I can generally get to the sewing machine much quicker than I can haul out scrapbook stuff. But then, deep down, I know if I had to drop one crafty hobby I’d stick with sewing. There’s this growing part of me that really wants my life to be more simple, and when it comes to my hobbies, I do sometimes consider dropping that one. I can justify sewing, since I can always work new clothes into my life. But I look at the scrapbook culture, and it makes me wonder why I do this…after all, it’s not like I’m trying to preserve the childhood memories of my non-existent kids, like most of them do it for. And then I’m also so far behind on it, since I barely touched it last year. But then I was thinking about it at work today, and there are some pretty compelling reasons to stick with it…for one, like I said, I do enjoy doing it. And I know that sometimes on my really bad “I hate being single” days, it’s good for my head to look back at the old ones and remember the fun times I’ve had while I’m in this place. And then there’s the fact that it’s my best portable option for things like when I hang out with friends and craft for an evening/weekend/whatever, at least as long as I do some prepwork ahead of time to get things ready to assemble. (Since that type of thing generally also involves lots of chatting and movie marathons, the machine’s a little too loud to force that on my friends, and I don’t always have handwork to do. Or the desire to do hand-sewing for hours on end. It’s not good for my carpal tunnel anyway.) And it’s also probably a better option for me than sewing on days when I’m henna-dying my hair…after I get the stuff on, it’s pretty much a 5-6 hour wait time in which I don’t want to risk staining my fabric.  So I’m thinking maybe I should just try to keep the pages simple, use up what I have as much as I can, maybe combine things as much as I can so I end up doing fewer pages and can catch up faster, and then take it from there.

On that note, I did do some scrapbook work on Wednesday, since I didn’t have to teach band and had a good chunk of afternoon free time.

Mostly ready to go–I had the layout figured out, the writing and title already done, anyway, and the paper picked out. (This one was in the queue for the last major scrapbook-day binge I had, and I just didn’t get to it.) So this one is done. Except maybe I should add another circle on the other page to help tie those in better.

This one was a little more time-consuming, since I basically recolored the patterned paper with colored pencils. I’d bought it because I liked the design, in spite of the pink, but realized it would be pretty much perfect for the canoe camping trip. The story: I had “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” stuck in my head for a good portion of it, mainly due to the opening line about picturing yourself in a boat on a river, so I decided to give the page a bit of a psychedelic vibe. And orange and blue are complementary, so the pink paper needed to be more orange. But the recoloring was done before Wednesday. It needs a title and some writing, which will probably go into the big blank orange space, but is otherwise done.

This one also needs a bit more writing, which I’m thinking should go over top of that ribbon to help hold it down. The title was pre-cut. (This is why I like doing prepwork—I feel so much more accomplished when I can just slap all of the ready-to-go stuff on a page and call it done.)

This one may be done…I’m not totally sure. I’m not totally sold on the layout, though I like the color scheme, so I wonder if it needs a bit more of something.

I’m thinking it’s about time to get some of my ready-to-go “page kits” together again…the next 2 weekends are shot, but then I think I might be due for another henna day. Which would be a perfect prepwork day, since it looks like I’ll be hanging out with the two friends whom I traditionally do the big movie-crafty weekends with in May.

the jewelry organizer, in progress

I’m glad I was finally able to get this started, since I’d been saying for years that I needed to do this! And it’s pretty obvious why…

Yes, this is what my jewelry collection currently looks like. Scary, isn’t it? It’s frustrating– not only does it make it impossibly difficult to get the necklaces out that I want, or to find a matching pair of earrings, but I’ve also had a lot of jewelry that I’ve broken from having to store them in the two boxes like this and then trying to get them out. And conventional jewelry boxes just don’t cut it for me–not enough slots or pegs!.

I’ve never really been a fancy jewelry girl. I’ll gladly take a funky beaded piece of jewelry over an expensive precious gemstone any day. (Ok, I’ll make an exception for semiprecious–they often come in the form of funky beads! And two of my favorite necklaces in my collection are moonstone and green amber, respectively.) Honestly, if I ever manage to get engaged, I don’t even want a diamond ring. It’s just not me–everybody does it, and I like color. (That, and watching Blood Diamond pretty much killed any desire I’d have to own one.) I guess it also helps that I can make the funky beaded jewelry myself! But of course that means I ended up with a lot of it.

Anyway, I finally finished the first “page” of my new jewelry organizer, and here’s the pics.
Nothing fancy– just two rectangles of pieced-together muslin with pockets sewn on, and another strip of muslin sewn on the side with buttonholes to put the rings through. The rings themselves are just cheap binder rings from Staples. I’m going to make a book “cover” at some point with something I can fold over the top to keep those first couple of rows of jewelry in.
And here’s the close-up. I’m sorting the necklaces and their matching earrings in the same pocket. I’m going to have a lot of earrings that don’t have matching necklaces, and I’m still trying to figure out what exactly to do with them– I’ve had an idea in my mind for some time now for an earring tree, but I’ll have to see if I can make it work. (Meaning I need to find some wire sturdy enough to build it from, but pliable enough that I can actually bend it.) But I think this is a pretty good start– I was able to fit nine necklaces on each side! I won’t get that many with all the pages, since I’ll need to make some with larger pockets for larger pendants or beads. It looks very homemade, but I’m ok with that– it’s kind of charming, I think, and I like the idea that I’m able to use up muslin scraps and mostly used-up spools of thread and bobbins that I’d otherwise be throwing out. (The thread on the bobbins, anyway.) Plus that will make it really easy to keep adding to it– I’m sure I’m going to have to keep making muslins for garments!

Muslins, muslins everywhere…

…and not a finished garment to show for it! Yet.

I cut out muslins for 3 different things in my mini-wardrobe on Saturday– the jeans 2.0, my pair of shorts, and the bodice for the maxi-dress I wanted to make. (And since I had to find a knit for the dress, that means I’m using up another piece of stash! Ha!) Spent some more time on Saturday sewing the dress “muslin”, and worked on tweaking it again this morning– no band today, so I had a couple hours to sew!

And, well, I’m not sure this dress is going to be happening as originally planned. I’d already raised the neckline a bit, and the front part of the bodice fits really, really well. The midriff part had to be taken in about an inch and a half on each side (which I did after taking these pics), but I’d expected that.

Also expected was that I’d have a bit of trouble with the back, due to the elastic. (And, I’m pretty sure, reading some Pattern Review articles on it.)
I just wasn’t expecting this much trouble…good thing I’m wearing the camisole here, because the back is definitely sagging below my bra! And this is with a mere 3 inches or so of fabric sewn to the bottom. I shudder to think of what an entire maxi-dress skirt would do. After these photos, I lopped off about an inch of the elastic (minus seams) and several inches off the back side pieces. Still was sagging. I’m really doubtful that I can modify this enough to support an entire maxi-dress skirt, even with building in a bra. So I’m thinking what I may end up doing instead is to use what’s left of the knit and the stuff I got to make the built-in bra to just turn this into a halter top. Would be good for July 4th, if it doesn’t clash with my hair too much. And then for the dress, go with a slightly more bra-friendly pattern from my stash. (I’m thinking the bottom right-hand corner with the big print view. At any rate, will make it a faster sewing job, which I kind of need right now. And though I usually don’t pay much attention to it, I think the maxi-dress trend is supposed to have passed.)

No pictures of it, but I did sew the jeans muslin 2.0 together. Took some tweaking, probably due to my slightly oddball pattern drafting (masking tape on newsprint), but I’m glad I allowed 1″ seams. Taking those down to 5/8″ made it fit just about perfectly. The yoke is still a bit off and gapping in the back (and on the sides a bit), but it’s close enough that I think I may just cut it like this and then tweak it in the actual denim so I can make it work with any additional thickness.

Also done over the weekend: Using some scraps from that muslin to finish the first section of my much-needed jewelry organizer. I’ve got 18 necklaces in it so far (9 per side), and it looks like it’s going to work pretty well. I’ll try to get pics soon.

Also also done over the weekend: I spent Friday afternoon playing with my bamboo scraps and dummy to see what I could come up with for that top. So this is what I currently have pinned to my dummy. The straps are just twisted up scraps that I pinned on to determine what sort of straps– they won’t stay that rough.

Honestly, at this point, I’m kind of torn. I like the concept of it. But there’s that tiny nagging part of my brain that wonders if wearing something that looked like this out in public would give off too much of a Tinkerbell vibe?

I guess it would also partially depend on if it would actually fit. There would be a zipper involved, but it would be hard to bring that past the waist at all with this skirt action going on…makes me wonder if I’d even be able to get it on!

So, it stays pinned to my dummy while I ponder all of this.

So I have absolutely nothing that I have to do on Sunday, other than go to church. My evening Bible study and flute orchestra rehearsals are both cancelled due to the holiday weekend. So my plan is to try and get the actual denim for the jeans cut out on Friday or Saturday (we’ll see, since I have plans for both evenings!) I’m hoping that my mom will let me borrow one of her extra machines (yes, she has more than one), and that I can find a place to set those up along with my serger so that I can just go assembly-line style–I forget whose blog I read it on (sorry!) but I remember reading something about someone who made a pair of jeans and used two machines so she could just keep the topstitching thread in one and the actual sewing thread in another and not have to keep stopping to rethread the machine. Which is pretty brilliant, I think. If I can do that, and if the fly zipper doesn’t give me too much trouble, in theory, I might be able to get these jeans done by the unofficial start of summer!

Friday Favorites, Episode 45: The End

It was a tough decision to make, but this is going to be the last Friday Favorites that I post up here. At least, for now. It’s just getting to be too much– I’m barely able to keep up with reading blogs, let alone compiling this post every week. Especially over the last month or so, where I’ve often had to skip weeks and then do two at once, and even more especially now that I’m back at my part-time garden center job and therefore lose a big chunk of Friday. So #45 seemed to be a good place to leave it. And since I have a tendency to mostly link tutorials, and have been saving them all to my Wists account anyway, anyone who wants to can see what tutorials people have been putting up that I like from the sidebar on here. Maybe one day I’ll go through there and clean up the tags for easier access, but not today. And since I’m on a time crunch (my whole weekend is flute rehearsals and performances, and I only have about an hour and a half before I have to leave!), I’m going to do this list-style. So here’s what I liked this week…

  1. Stamped Tile Coasters from Dollar Store Crafts
  2. The mum pillow at Assorted Notions
  3. Missle Command circle skirt at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories
  4. Magazine Reed Box at CraftStylish
  5. Millifiori and Organza Pendant at Polymer Clay Central
  6. Minibooks with faux fabric book tape at The Small Object
  7. Cardboard tube hurricane lamp cover at A Little Hut
  8. Glitzy Garden Globe at Diary of A Crafty Chica
  9. Soda Can Star Lights, also at Diary of a Crafty Chica
  10. How to Scrapbook with Busy Patterned Paper at Creativity Prompt (since I’m a sucker for those busy patterns)
  11. Pleated Hem Sleeve at rostitchery
  12. handmade flower embellishments at the Creating Keepsakes blog

Got a lot of other stuff on my mind– been doing more pondering sewing than actual sewing over the last day or so, since I got the pattern for the dress I’ll be wearing to my brother’s wedding. But I think I’m going to make that a separate post… maybe I’ll go ahead and write that now anyway.

Friday Favorites, Episode 43

I really need to get back to doing these on a weekly basis. The stack from the last 2 weeks is a bit overwhelming! So best to just dive right in…

Recycled goodness…
I tend to post a lot of this type of stuff anyway, I know, but even more appropriate now that it’s April, with Earth Day coming up and all. The music lover in me enjoyed this Threadbanger roundup of things to do with old vinyl records (I was particularly a fan of the iPod case!) Hippyshopper had a second roundup of recycled jewelry ideas. I don’t really care for the necklace made from recycled nylons, I’ll admit, but I did think the one with the pen caps has some serious potential! Cut Out + Keep had a clever tutorial for making a shrug from an oversized t-shirt— I love the Grecian drapiness of the final look. Dollar Store Crafts showed how to dye Easter eggs using recycled silk ties to put designs on them. Also found tutorials for envelopes done two ways– turning envelopes into gift bags (via Whip Up), and making other paper into padded envelopes (via Craftzine). Craftstylish showed how to make easy earrings out of beach glass (not that it takes much to inspire me to go beachcombing!) and also things you can do with old VHS tapes (the flowers on the straw purse were my favorite.) Finally, going back to Craftzine, there was a table lamp with a shade made from soda can tabs. It reminds me of chainmaille!

And the geek shall inherit the earth…
It was a good week for my not-so-inner geek. Lots of things that made me smile– like Dollar Store Craft’s Alien Abduction Lamp, and Whip Up’s Star Wars mice. Craftzine linked to an April Fool’s joke featuring a Tauntaun sleeping bag (for all those young Jedi wannabe’s, a la The Empire Strikes Back). But my absolute favorite (also via Craftzine) was this Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy-inspired Kindle case. I have to admit that the Kindle also reminded me of the Guide, so I absolutely love this! And if I ever decide to get a Kindle (which I don’t think will be happening any time soon because I still love the tangibility of turning the pages in an old-fashioned paper book), I am SO stealing this. Everybody needs something with “Don’t Panic” written on it in large, friendly letters.

Random Tutorial Goodness
First up, I liked Sewl Sister’s “scrapbook in a box”. Seems like it would be a really good gift for someone, and nice and compact! (I also like her pregnancy calendar bar at the top– especially the snarky commentary!) Little Birdie Secrets posted a recipe for DIY Thin Mints (the only Girl Scout cookie I truly like). I’m somewhat skeptical due to what the crunchy inside actually is, but also quite curious. My fellow Sew Craft Blog groupie Corvus Tristis posted a neat tutorial for how to make an inexpensive weaving loom (and then later updated it with an additional improvement that she says makes it much better. Plus it involves playing with power tools.) Craftynest showed how to make some hemp pendant lamps that would be great for any nature-inspired decor (or Asian, for that matter…), and the Crafty Chica shared some instructions for some simple wooden jewelry using precut shapes and rubber stamp embossing. Craft Leftovers showed how to make your own drawing charcoal (hint: there’s grilling involved). Craft Stylish had instructions for making a reusable sandwich wrap (bye-bye, Ziploc bags!), and Sew Take A Hike had a fun-looking tutorial for embellishing with roses made from scraps of knit fabric. Going back to the food, Thimble shared a recipe for some yummy looking spinach olive pasta (usually I don’t like cooked spinach at all, but I might have to give this one a try.) And even though it’s obviously passed by this point, One Pretty Thing posted two tutorial roundups for April Fool’s Day. Mostly in the form of food that looks like something it’s not. But it was still fun.

And now for something completely random…
I couldn’t help laughing at this post from Craft Stylish. Any post entitled “Crafts I Want To Punch In The Face” has to get a mention. (And besides, I’m sure that everyone who reads this who’s ever sewn by machine will agree with #5!)

And finally…
Finished projects I liked! From Wardrobe Refashion, I thought this little girl’s violin dress was adorable, this octupus sweater was funky and clever, and this hippie-looking shirt is something I just want to steal. And I also really liked Angry Chicken’s corset belt (complete with matching purse and earrings!)

Friday Favorites, Episode 42

Going to be a long one this time, since I have stuff saved from the last two weeks. So in no particular order…

Ok, that’s it for today… my big project for today, since my time of not working on Fridays is probably over (starting back at the garden center tomorrow), was experimenting with henna to dye my hair. And my time for letting it sit is getting close to done, so I have to go wash mud out of my hair. And then maybe I can go sew!

Friday Favorites, Episode 40

Ah, the big 4-0! Does this mean the series is getting old, I wonder?

Favorite Tutorials of the Week:
The Crafty Chica had a fun how-to for making a stitched paper dot lantern. I also really liked that she posted some alternate ideas for how to use the stitched paper dot technique! Craft: had a link to a tutorial for some lovely beaded flowers. The Long Thread featured a tutorial for some cute, simple fabric “crooked coasters”— they just look fun to make, since sewing in crooked lines is the entire point! And Dollar Store Crafts had a tutorial for a handbag made from a miniature rag rug! Crafting a Green World had two that I liked– one for a t-shirt covered corkboard, and one for upcycling boring greeting cards with fabric scraps. (It always makes me happy to find tutorials for fabric scrap projects that aren’t cutsey or kid-oriented, since I’m neither at this point in my life!) And last but certainly not least, Sharon over at Adventures from the Sewing Studio had a great tutorial for attaching collars to button-down shirts without getting a bump between the collar band and the main part of the shirt.

Favorite Projects:
I’m thinking I need to stop being so tutorial-oriented with this, and bring in a few more projects I see around the blogs that just deserve to be seen by more people! So with that in mind, I have two this week. The first is my favorite from Wardrobe Refashion for this week. Despite having been born in them, I hate the 80s and think it was one of the worst decades for music and (especially) fashion, ever. So I love it when people can take 80s ugliness like this stripey maternity muumuu thing, and turn it into something fun in a much better vintage sort of way (in this case, using a bodice pattern from the 60s, which was an exponentially better decade in both aforementioned categories.) Speaking of 60s music (maybe, anyway), I really loved Eileen’s concert journal–she took a thrifted vinyl 45 and an old music book and turned it into a scrapbook to fill with concert memorabilia and such.

Favorite Miscellaney:
This doesn’t really fit under tutorials. And this isn’t really something I’ve ever tried, beyond purposely saving stuff to throw in a scrapbook and writing out stuff for journaling while on vacation. But over at ScrapHappy, she’s started a mini-series about scrapbooking while traveling. Only one post so far, but I’m enjoying it. And who knows, at some point I might want to try the whole assembly-as-I-go thing!

Ok, that’s it for today. May end up with another post depending on how things go today, since the weekends seem to be my blog catch-up time!