Apr 28, 2011

Productivity=1, Stalling=2

So I was both productive yet, nearly uneventful last night. I did manage to hem the bottom of little girl's 3 tiered dress. I am a bit disappointed I had no volunteers to do so, but I guess it makes sense. I didn't want to do it so why would anyone else?

All in all it wasn't as bad as I thought. The bobbin behaved (no noises of possession!!) and my pressed hem was nicely consistent so I could make a nice even hem. Hooray for seam gauges everywhere!! I had her try the dress on this morning and was so tickled that the straps were not too short. They looked quite short to me, but I'm big and she's 'widdle'. So now all that remains in closing the lining of the bodice.


I brought it with me so I could work on it during my lunch break. I just hope my fingers are able to function when lunch time arrives. Our office is moving and the movers are currently leaving the doors wide open. All that wind, all the chills, straight in the door and directed at my desk. Super, duper fun! However, I brought other projects with me to work on as well.

This is where the stalling comes in.

After I hemmed the dress I took a walk in the craft closet of doom. By walk I do mean opening the door and nearly having things fall on your head. While digging in there I started going through several boxes of supplies, revisiting each box like a lost friend. Each box different, each holding some chunk of a memory whether is be a project never finished or a business card of an old friend long forgotten.

While digging into my treasure trove I found several items I had never used; beads, rulers, embroidery thread, yarn, glass stones. I decided that was a good way to start de-cluttering. I think I will toss those up on my etsy. I never used them but I'm sure someone out there could. I hate throwing away or donating certain things and apparently craft supplies are one of those things. So sometime this week (hopefully) I will have those listed. I just hope they find a good home and get turned into something wonderful. Because to me, that is the best part.
Basket of Unused Goodies.

Another find in my rather well organized closet of doom was this box.
At least I'm organized?


HOORAY, I found another stall tactic. It was sitting there waiting for me to find it again, to finish what I had started.

So now, sitting happily next to me is a pile of nearly finished projects. I've got a crochet scarf that needs the ends woven in, crochet bag that needs it's handled attached, 2 knitted scarves with funky, furry yarns, 2 coiled baskets and that lining of little girl's dress.



I am hoping the end result will be completely finished projects and a sense of accomplishment in doing so. And you know they'll have to find homes when they are done.

Apr 27, 2011

Moving Forward

Last night was a mild success. I redeemed myself from yesterday morning's episode which went a little something like this:

I got up a little early and foolishly tried sewing one teeny little thing onto little girl's 3 tiered dress before work. It was a disaster. Something so simple became much more difficult than it needed to be. I just wanted to tack on the ends of the back elastic. Was it that easy? Nooooooooo.

Instead my bobbin decided to become possessed and whirl about wildly, making this harsh sewing sound. It sounded much more like sewing through 4 layers of denim than a wee piece of elastic and two layers of thin cotton cloth. The result was a tangled, wicked mess of thread loops laced with black/gray grease from the machine.

(Imagine me getting frustrated and wanted to hit my head on something here.)

I just had minutes to assess the damage before getting ready for work. The answer was simple, the thread came out of the bobbin guide. Easily fixed, but at that point in time it was the worst thing in the world to me. I spent precious time sewing this small line to have that trivial problem appear when I only had moments in the first place.

A lesson learned. Never attempt something "quick" in a short period of time. It's fatal.

However, last night was a better success. I got the elastic attached, (after ripping out that tangled mass) and even had the time to press the hem and the inside of the bodice. Now, I have a nearly finished dress.
 It's a beautiful dress, full of color and screams of cuteness and pink. 


I can't think of a little princess that wouldn't want to twirl around in this skirt. 


All that is left is closing the lining of the bodice, cleaning up some threads inside, and doing the hem.
I just need to find some sucker volunteer for hemming the bottom of this 132 inch dress. 
Anyone available?

Apr 26, 2011

What to do?

I decided that I'm super at stall tactics. When I don't want to or haven't decided how to finish a project I started, I just start a new one. I think that's what little girl's dress is. It's a wonderful stall tactic.

What I really should be doing is working on my etsy storefront. I filled it with what I already had made and now I'm stumped. I want to add more of a selection to my store but I'm not sure where to start. Do I branch out into other shapes for my pins? Do I add barrettes to the list? What about headbands and more bags? I just really don't know.


So far my plarn totebag is people's most viewed and favorite item. Favorite, yes, but still has not sold.

I know crafts is a hard business. Mostly it lies in perceived value (thanks marketing minor) but how do you get over that hump? Do I really have to tell them it took me nearly 10 hours to crochet and assemble it? Do I tell them how I spiral cut all nearly 50+ ( I really did lose count) plastic bags before I even assembled it?  I don't think I should have to, but who knows. 

I will get over this hump to better and brighter days, but for now I'm just in limbo. And I think that's why I can't move forward. There are so many directions I'm not sure which one to take. 

So, I guess for now I will just work on my little 'stall projects' until some shock of inspiration comes. I'm currently working on another bag with the same wave stitch as the totebag, some star shaped pins/barrettes, and little girl's 3 tiered dress. I guess that will have to be enough for now. 

At least now that spring is finally coming to the area I might be able to get some better photos of my new products. The last batch I shot turned up ugly. I deleted them all. Thank you digital age for saving me money of having to print out a DISASTER. 

Count those small blessings. Add them all up in whatever type of math you can manage and make the best of it.

Apr 25, 2011

Easter Recovery and Dress

Easter was yesterday but seemed to have spread all across the weekend. Why is it that holiday's always seem to do that?

Nevertheless, crafting was on my mind.

About a week and a half ago I saw a cute girl's dress while heading to the check out at Target.

Me, being the crafter that I am, looked at it and thought, " I can make that". So, that's what I've been doing lately.

First, I took some rough measurements from my daughter, (as many as she would stay still for) and then I pulled out my Pattern Bible: Patternmaking for Fashion Design by Helen Joseph Armstrong.(I had to buy this book when I was in the fashion program in college and believe me, it is amazing. I have an older version than the one currently offered, but I would guess it is still great..) I flipped on through to the children's wear sections and began drafting my sloper for my little girl.

Once I got the front and back drafted I set to work. I traced them out and started the real dress work. Placing the empire waist, deciding on the neckline, calculating the length of the shoulder straps. Deciding how long the tiered skirt would be. Aaahh, it was nice. It was like being in school again but without the frustration, lack of sleep and deadlines.

After placing the pattern pieces, cutting them out and sewing some of them together I did a test fit. Lo and behold, it didn't fit. She was not as wide as the standard chart for her size. I had some new challenges. Booo. But I knew I could solve them!

The main problem was the front of the bodice was too wide. The straps and their placement would have cut into her underarm. To fix that main issue I put in a seam down the front center to remove about 4 inches of excess fabric from the chest of the bodice.  I still need to finish the back of the bodice with elastic, but I had planned on that anyways as I was trying to make a dress she could continue to grow into, instead of wear once and donate.

I haven't gotten much farther than that yet. I couldn't sew at 7 am like I wanted to this morning because someone was still sleeping. lol I probably would have been late to work too, but pffft. Sewing priorities!!

Soooo, I have to finish her bodice, put in the elastic, attach the skirt (which has already been assembled), and hem the bottom of the skirt. I am not really looking forward to hemming that sucker. Such a big hem. But I hope it will be worth it.


She picked the fabrics out of my stash for her dress and this is the print that she selected to be the main print. It is a pink nursery rhyme themed toile. It has windmills, school houses, and of course little swirlies and stars.The other fabrics for the skirt are a nice lavender cotton, and a white muslin.  I just hope she's excited when it's done. It will be far more girly than the inspiration dress, but if she loves it even more, it's worth it!

Apr 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day!!

Yes, today is Earth Day! I know I was doing  a craft a day in honor of Earth Day but I thought we would take a break for a bit to talk about today.

Today is all about thinking about the environment and appreciating what we have. I know this sounds hokey, but I think it's important.

Let me level with you, I'm not the most earth friendly person out there. I use plastic bags, I leave things turned on over night. Once I left the oven on a full day without realizing it. With that said, there are some things that you, and even I, can do to help sustain with the environment. In no particular order whatsoever I present you with my list.


EASY WAYS TO HELP THE ENVIRONMENT
  • Turn things off when they are not in use.
  • Unplug phone chargers when they are not charging. These items have no on/off switch. They are basically on as long as they are plugged in. 
  • Try to use reusable grocery bags instead of plastic. You can buy them everywhere and some places even give you a discount for using them. 
  • Open the curtains during daylight and turn off the lights. Enjoy that free sunshine coming through your window if you can. Not only is it good for the environment, it's good for your health , too.
  • Don't throw out your plastic containers (such as butter tubs) after you use them. Wash them and use those for storing left overs or other supplies. Using these instead of plastic ware you have to buy is great for when you have to bring food over to someone's house.Also, if  you leave it behind it didn't cost you anything.
  • Reuse your plastic bags that have made it into the house. They work great for bathroom trashcans, doggie and cat duties, crafting, or as packing material.
  • Plan out your shopping trips to reduce mileage on your car. I like to start with the farthest away first, and work my way back.
  • Invest in some reusable batteries. AA and AAA get used quite often. Save yourself some money and save some space in the landfill. 
  • Find ways to reuse something you already have - I got a new bed last year in a different size so all the previous sheets would not fit. I ended up donating what I didn't need and saving a few for household projects. I am able to use those sheets as a tarp while crafting or painting, as scrap fabric for sewing, as a backing to a child's quilt or making a new pair of curtains, as a makeshift kid's play tent, as a tablecloth for garage sales, as a backdrop for taking photos, or just plain old use for when someone crashes on the couch. 
  • Buy things you use often in bulk if you have the space. Buying in bulk means less packaging to throw away and it can also be a better deal. 
  • Plant a tree. HAH! I know this is funny but planting any item outside your house is good whether it be a patch of marigolds, a fat rhododendron or a small tree. Plants create oxygen and that's a good thing.  
There are many other things you can do to help the environment and save a little money in the process. If you have any additional tips to share with other shameful slackers feel free to post your comments here!

Apr 21, 2011

Earth Day Crafting Continues

I am warning you, right here, in advance - My next craft involves cutting a circle. If you can't cut a circle with your scissors, you may want to back out now.

With that said I can go ahead and continue. Today's craft in honor of Earth Day is once again inspired by crap things I have laying around me. This is a quick and easy craft that almost anyone will be able to do (other than those noted in the warning above).

Recycled Drink Coasters

Supplies Needed:
Pencil
Scissors
Magazines/Catalogs
        ~Before you begin you may want to browse through your magazines and catalogs for images that you like, or if you have a stack already browse through them and select the pages you want to use for your coasters.~

Something to trace to make your circle (a bowl, can, or plastic container will work just fine if you don't have a stencil)
Thin Cardboard or Card stock (I am using a box top from a stationary box)
Mod Podge or another type of glue/sealant

Directions:

 Take your 'circle maker' and trace the circles onto your cardboard or card stock. Cut out your circles with your scissors. Cut them a bit outside the tracing line for safe measure if you wish. You can always cut off more, but you can't add more on.

 My box top happens to have a patterned side to it.

 

 
Next take your pages and cut a large circle out of them, larger than your coaster base is and glue the top of the coaster to the wrong side of the paper.



Use your scissors to start cutting spokes into your paper circle. Do not cut all the way to the edge of the coaster base, leave about 1/8 inch or so space between. The more spokes you use the smoother an edge will be. This may take a bit of wiggling.




Then grab your mod podge and start folding over and gluing down your spokes. Do it a section at a time as you work otherwise you will end up with gluey fingers.



When you are done cut another circle, slightly smaller than the coaster and glue onto the back. You can use another image or a scrap of paper from something else for the backside. This will clean up the side that will be facing down, towards your furniture. Seal all over with mod podge to finish.



And there you have it, your very own recycled coasters using only a few items. You can jazz them up more with stickers, decoupage or rub-on letters/stencils before sealing if you wish and if you don't like the idea of paper on your table you could use a piece of felt for the bottom of your coaster. Just be sure to attach it after you seal the paper on the top.

I hope you enjoyed today's craft. This is so quick and easy that you could make some for each holiday or season if you wanted. You could even use this to make personalized coasters as gifts.

And, all joking aside, you can do with with other shapes as well. Not just circles. Squares are pretty easy to cut out.

Apr 20, 2011

Earth Day Craft

Earth Day is just around the corner and in honor of Earth Day I've decided to create a new eco-friendly craft a day in its honor.

Recycling to make art or crafts is a relatively cheap and easy thing to do. It just takes some time and creativity to really change something from being a piece of trash into something nice. Most of the time all it takes is supplies you have around the house and  perhaps a little hoarding to get enough of a material you might need.

Today's craft is completely brand new and inspired by a lovely plastic shopping bag I got when I purchased Easter candy for myself and a friend a few days ago.
"Mmmm, Chocolate!"

Recycled Bangle Bracelet




Supplies Needed:
Plastic Bag with flat handles (if you don't have one you can use an old bangle and recover it, or any other piece of flat salvaged plastic)
Scissors
Stapler
Duct Tape
Hot Glue
Hot Glue Gun

Directions:
First you will need to disassemble the bag. My bag has straps that snap off. I snap those off and set them aside for later.

Then remove the cardboard pieces on the bottom and the top edge. Fold up the bag and cut off the bottom seam. This will leave you with a tube of plastic.


Grab the handles you set aside and cut off the snapping ends.  Take the remaining strap and wrap around the widest part of your wrist overlapping the ends. Tape ends together with a piece of duct tape. Check your bangle to make sure it will fit with a little extra space over your hand, but make sure it won't fall off either. Staple the overlap for extra strength. I found my staples stuck out a bit so I used pliers to press it down flat and covered the ends with another small piece of duct tape.



Using your scissors grab your plastic bag and  start to spiral cut the section of the bag that you wish to use. If you have not spiral cut a bag before here is a great link on how to do so: How to Make Plarn . I selected the top edge of the pink and green stripes for my design. Once you've cut your bag or section apart you can begin the final steps.

Take your plarn and start to wrap it around your bangle starting at the section you joined together. Spiral wrap your plarn around the bangle, overlapping as you go. You can overlap as much or as little as you wish. In some areas I overlapped more than others to hide the puncture holes of where the handles were inserted into the bag. This may take some time as you will need to keep pulling the plarn through the center of the bangle.


When you reach the end again overlap in that area several times to secure and then cut your plarn so the seam will be on the inside of the bangle. Using your hot glue gun run a thin line under the edge and press it down with an object that is not your fingers. Remember, hot glue is hot!

Then voila, you have a new recycled bangle bracelet. For extra security you could cover it with a layer of mod podge to prevent the plarn from slipping. For extra dazzle glue on other objects like buttons or bottle caps.

Apr 19, 2011

An Ode to Blue Scissors

Dear Blue Scissors,

I love you. You make cutting things so very easy. I was very upset when I thought I lost you last week. I tried other scissors at home and at work and none could take your place. They would not cut even, they would not cut at all, they were inadequate.

Now I carry you around in my purse. Wherever I am, there you are. Someday I think this will bite me in the butt. Perhaps at a store who's metal detector goes off, a bank thinking I'm trying to rob them with my precious scissors, or an airport who thinks I don't want my plane and myself to reach it's destination safely....But for now I am perfectly happy carrying you around because when I need to cut something I know I have you.

Apr 18, 2011

And so it Begins

Just dove right into this today. I had forgotten all the formatting that goes into a blog since I joined livejournal years ago because it was the cool thing to do. Inside this new web space will be my craft world. The thing I try to take time to do when life doesn't get in the way. 

Hopefully this blog will just get better and better as I brush off the rusty tools of posting. Perhaps I'll come up with something witty and clever. Not very likely but people do win the lottery sometimes.