Mysteries of my Spring Top Week Contest Entry

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Some things are unexplainable.
Why does the letter "O" make a "W" sound in the words "one" and "once", but no other words (that I can think of anyway).
Why, eventhough, "garbage" and "garage" are so similarly spelled are they pronounced so differently?
Why don't we ever say "the bad girl" instead of always "the bad guy" when, clearly, there are MANY bad girls? (We watch a fair amount of princess movies around here..."the bad guy" is usually a fairy, queen and/or mother) ~this was the question posed by my 5yr old daughter last weekend~

Here's another one for you: How did I make this Spring Top??
It is a true mystery...well, not exactly, but it is not a process that I am able to explain, nor do I have pictures of the whole, convoluted journey. I'll tell you this much, it involved: seam ripping, adding triangular pieces of fabric, cutting things---after having been sewn on (EEEEK!), probably some under-my-breath cussing and a whole lot of singing. The playlist included such timeless classics as: "You Gotta Know When to Hold 'Em" and "Another One Bites the Dust"...if that isn't revealing, I don't know WHAT is!!

BUT--after all this, I do indeed have a Spring Top to enter in the contest over at Made by Rae!! And it's even ON TIME!!! Holy goodness!! So enjoy the few pictures I was able to squeeze in. I actually like the way my little top came out and I WILL be wearing it this spring and summer.

Some stats:
-grass green knit
-Phillip Jacobs cotton uber Springy!

Just a detail of the shoulder straps:

There it is! What a beaut! Lots of toil and trouble, but worth it...I think!

Two Things Tuesday

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Thing One: I dislike electronics. Well, I like having them sometimes...but I really don't like looking at multiple things all stacked up and their snaking cords all over. It kinda drives me nuts. Add in the remotes and I'm on the verge of an anxiety attack! So, maybe that's a little dramatic...but you get the picture. I already don't like the TV sticking right out in the middle of our built-in. We hardly ever turn it on, but we can't get rid of it altogether because occasionally the girls need a princess movie fix! Here's what we had going embarrassing!! (the other side was equally cluttered with scrapbooks and shutterfly photobooks...those just don't offend me as much)

Made a little curtain from some IKEA fabric and literally pinned it up with push pins from the back. VOILA!!
Here's the full view. Obviously, getting some cabinet doors on the bottom is in the VERY near future. I think the little curtains help though...and break up the brown, brown, brown of the built-in. Yes?

PS--The fish tank is NOT yellow in real life, just showed up that way in the pic!!

Thing Two: I am SOOOO happy to be able to make things for family and friends. Particularly, their babies and kids. One of my friends just had a sweet little boy and she mentioned he may be starting on a paci. I whipped up one of these paci holders based on this post over at liaspace. Mine's slightly different...double layered cotton, a snap and an applique. Super fun and easy, and hopefully, useful! Here are some pics:

Enjoy your two things. Be glad they even got posted because I find blogger to be a highly frustrating really should be able to manipulate pics once they are in the post. Who's with me??!!

Homemade Laundry Detergent--my version!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Made some homemade laundry detergent based on this post over at Sew Much Ado.

Here's what I did differently:
-I left out the baking soda.
-I used castille soap instead of the Fels-Naptha.
-I added in a few drops of grapefruit essential oil...I love that one, so invigorating!

Just so you know, I found the washing soda AND borax (which I already use for cleaning anyway) in the "laundry" aisle and the castille soap in the "bodywash/soap" aisle at KROGER!! I was really not looking forward to going on the wild goose chase all over town to find the ingredients---but there they were, all in one store, which I already go to for groceries!

I literally mixed up 1 cup washing soda, 1 cup borax and 2 cups finely shredded soap bar and put it in a pasta sauce jar. That amount fit perfectly! I'm thinking I will "customize" that jar someway, somehow. For now, it's gonna stay plain IS in a cabinet.

Here's is the best part---you only use 2 TABLESPOONS for a load!!!! That blew me away! How much money have I wasted all these years buying giant, unwieldy things of detergent that I had no IDEA what was in it?? Anywho...I had fun making it and patted myself several times on the back for finally doing it. YAY for putting in a little time and saving a LOT of money!!

Two Things Tuesday---Earth Day Edition!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I've got Earth Day on the brain...probably because I teach preschoolers and these are the kind of days we do lots of projects for! I've always been a little on the "crunchy granola" side anyway---I recycle, eat *mostly* organic, don't like using chemicals to clean with...etc. I am about to officially embark on our homeschooling journey and through that---there are cutbacks happening left and right since we will go from (gulp) two incomes to one. I am repurposing EVERYTHING, I may put a clothesline in the backyard, I want to plant a vegetable/fruit garden. It makes me wonder if being poor is what started the whole "reduce your carbon footprint" thing...hmmm. Anyway, what EVER way it came about in this house---I am way into it now and I REALLY enjoy those who upcycle...particularly those that do it with style! Without further ado...

THING ONE: Recycled Stuff on Etsy! Man, I thought I was creative for repurposing clothes...into other clothes...well, maybe not so much. But these wonderfully creative folks have really wrapped their brains around upcycling in a way I don't think I ever could! Kudos to these thinkers:

Brooch made from recycled plastic?? Isn't the form just so organic and natural looking? Never would've thought of that one! This one is from ekoista, which is based out of Poland. They have some necklaces too made from this turquoise plastic which are totally awesome, too!

This jellyfish is nothing short of AMAZING!! This is from TwiddleLee...and I think this would be wonderful in a kiddo's ocean-themed room!

Drink that soda and down that wine because you need a new set of glasses! I don't have the know how or tools to smooth out the lip of a cut piece of glass...but these people do and they put it to good use! Those IBC glasses are calling me bc a LONG time ago the hubby and I used to LOVE these...ahh, memories!

These are from YAVAglass:

These styled up numbers are from CarrollCreekGlass:

I thought this one was simply genius...recycle those VHS tape covers and make them into notepads/drawing pads!! I can't think of a better thing to do with a VHS tape cover, can you?? Unfortunately, being the extremely poor college kid that I was, I totally sold off my VHS tapes to pay the rent. But, if I still had even ONE...I would be doing this with it. Planes, Trains and Automobiles sewing journal...doesn't get much cooler to me!!! They even use the back...seriously awesome! What a great gift for a movie lover, too! DustyMoon made these and some other fun ones like Star Wars, A Christmas Story, An American Werewolf in London, War Games...hellooo...let's play Global Thermonuclear War...on Earth Day!!

THING TWO: I do a LOT of repurposing/upcycling around the house. I find it hard to throw away things that I've hung onto for no apparent reason. For example, we went through a "we like everything Asian" phase and bought all kids of stuff with various calligraphy and symbology on it. And then, we suddenly decided we didn't like our whole house decorated in the American version of Asian style anymore. Did I throw everything out?...nope. I repainted or covered it! Painted lots of stuff just plain white...because that's what I like now. Mod Podged some frames with scrapbook paper that I just couldn't give up either. Anyway, I'm just saying, before you garage sale-it...think about changing it!

Getting back to the repurposing...Craigslist is the mecca for all those who want to try making something blech into something wonderfully useful! Hence my $20 purchase, seen here:

This WILL be the new home for my pile of fabric! It will be neat and organized....possibly by color. I just have to sand, paint and add some sort of fun detail to this unsightly item first! Soon, it will happen SOON!!

In conclusion... YAY, EARTH DAY!! Celebrate by recycling/upcycling/repurposing something your self! Or just buy something someone else recycled! Either way, you'll feel good about it!

Partially Upcycled T-Shirt Dresses for Kiddos

Sunday, April 18, 2010

So, I finally cleaned out the girls' closets this weekend. Took out all the too small, too wintry and put all the warm-weather clothes in their rightful places! (Just in time for one last chilly day, ofcourse...!) That led to a frenzied making of dresses---made partially from old clothes, partially from fun fabric! YAY!
Here's what I started with:
The shirt will be used for the neck and sleeves of the dress and the blue cotton will be the skirt of the dress. BTW- This is going to fit a 3T kiddo, the top is a 2T though, just for your info.

Here's what you need:
-too small shirt (mostly too short, but still fitting in the head and arms areas), cut off the bottom. I only left about 5" from shoulder to cut.
-cotton fabric, I used a piece 16"X44" for the skirt and a 4" X 44" for the tie-back.

Here's how I did it:
1. Put the right sides together of your cotton fab and sew it up to make a tube. Sew on the 16" side.

2. Hem one of the ends of the tube. I double fold, iron and zig-zag stitch.

3. Now to sew the t-shirt top and the skirt part together. The right side of the cotton is on the inside, and you have the shirt right side out. Put the t-shirt top head down into the tube. The right sides should be facing each other. Make the seam of the cotton fab line up with the middle of the BACK of the t-shirt. Start by pinning the middle of the front, back and sides together. Then start your pleating. I pleated very symmetrically, starting from the middle front and back. I also sang "Pleat It"...the sewing version of the Michael Jackson song, "Beat It"...that part is optional, but not for me. I have to sing it everytime I do pleats...

4. Sew that all the way around, I straight stitched, pleats up. So, now it looks like this:

You could stop here. But my girls tend to be on the skinny side so I made a tie back so it would be less potato sack-ish.
5. I made a tie-back next by using a 4" X 44" strip of the cotton. I folded both sides in and then folded that over...iron and sew a straight stitch down, closer to one side. Find the middle, pin it to the middle of the dress where the t-shirt and skirt meet.

6. Then sew it onto the dress with another straight stitch, now closer to the other side so it just looks even. I just sewed from one side seam of the shirt to the next, not on the back at all.

YAY!! Partially upcycled dress!! Saves lots of time not having to fiddle with sleeves or neck line finishing...and the knit on the top makes it easy to take on and off.

I really liked the super short "top" of the dress. I also thought it looked sort of modern meets country. Benefit of the shorter tie back: the 2yr old can't reach back there and untie it herself---HAHA!!
I did one for big sissy too (bc you cannot make something during naptime for one girl and NOT make something for the other too!!)
With hers, I sandwiched a ruffle of t-shirt leftovers between the t-shirt top and the cotton fab when I sewed the tubes together.

Here are some more I have planned: The stripey tank top is paired with an old denim skirt of mine---uber upcycling!! I particularly love the purple and yellow!

Headband with Elastic- Redo!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

I think my head is a weird shape because I just cannot get one of these to fit right:

I always end up having to push it too far back so that it doesn't look right anymore. Well, I have a bunch of them--because I kept buying them thinking, "THIS one will fit correctly!!" ---they didn't. Plus, the ones I have are so blah...
What about making one with this lovely fabric:
That just screams summer time/by the beach fun...that coral-ish pattern...ahh, summer!!
Here's what you'll need:
-Headband with elastic
-scrap fabric
Here's how I did it:
1. Cut the elastic of the headband and SAVE IT. Use the fabric part of the headband as a template for the new one. Cut about an inch OUTSIDE of the edge, like so:
2. Burrito fold (yes, that's a real term...that elementary school teachers use!) the fabric and iron. That overlap will be on the bottom, don't worry!

3. Fold up the ends a little, iron that too!

4. Stitch the fold shut. You could do this any old way. I did a wavy little thing here for fun!
5. Sew the elastic back on with the rough side IN. I also took it in a little to account for the weird shaped head problem.

6. Wear your headband...out in the garden. Ok, so I really just wanted to show off my gorgeous irises that are in full bloom right now. It is one of the MOST lovely things about my neighborhood, and many around here. These grow WILD!! These particular ones were transplanted from the alley behind my house...yes, the alley! Cool, huh?
There's something quick for ya! Why did I buy so many khaki items once upon a time?? Did I think I was going on safari or something? I don't know what that was all about! Anyway, all better now!

Two Things Tuesday

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thing One: Something ELSE with fake wood design. This is from Sabineadesign on Etsy. Super cool fake wood ring...made of steel and copper??! Awesome! If only I could go back in time, say, almost 10 years to when my hubby and I were picking out rings and see this!! Ah well...coulda, shoulda, woulda....

Thing Two: Japanese Masking Tape?? I have never seen anything like this...but then, I haven't exactly been looking for it either. These are from Downtown Fabrics, also on Etsy. So many things from Japan are cool...why is that?? Alls I'm sayin' is that would be one fancy moving box...
Ok, for real though, I'm thinking a plain, white box with some of this on it would be a pretty spiffy wrap up for a birthday gift. What else could this be used for?? It says scrapbooking in the description...but I'm sure there are like a million ways this could be used. Wonder what people in Japan use it for? Probably something totally cool...
PS-- I am about to go on a serious sewing/repurposing binge. I have 2 projects in the works and about 5 more swirling around in my head. It is supposed to rain all weekend so that will probably keep me inside and busy at the sewing table...yippee!!