Monday, March 29, 2010

Reading Nook {Part 4}

The stools we took off the trash heap in Missouri were once chairs with backs on them.  So they had holes for the back of the chair.  So to fill in the holes to make them presentable stools, I used wood filler.
It's pretty cheap, and this putty worked great.  I had never used it, as I'm just getting into carpentry.
I just jammed the putty in the holes with a popcicle stick.
As it dries, the putty hardens and kind of shrinks.  So for the large holes that went all the way through the seat, it shrunk up inside.  So I globbed on another batch of wood filler the next day, and it worked.
**I also used it to fill other cracks in the chairs too.

After it's dry, you just sand it down smooth.

Then I primed the stool and it looked like a real stool, rather than the broken chair it actually is.

-James & the Giant Peach is sketched and I just need to paint it on the 3rd leg of the table
-The above stool will get it's book spotlight painted on.
-The other stool needs to get reinforced before I start painting it
-I need to buy wood and get making the Land of Nod chairs from the Knock Off Wood plans

More Monsters!

Another backpack for my little Etsy shop.  Blue furry monster on gray corduroy with triple eyes and legs. I also like the little green horns poking out.  I'm enjoying monsters over animals lately.


If you have a minute, check out all the projects at So You Think You're Crafty in the auditions.  Lots of good projects, we'll see if mine makes it through in the Top 10!
All the projects have to remain anonymous, so just pick your favorite!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Latest Backpacks for the Shop

I've been finishing up a few backpacks for my Etsy shop.
This first one I've been thinking about for a while, and it took me a while of sketching different ideas to get a hippo I thought would work on a backpack. 

This next one, I've been really excited about.  My nephews have been telling me for a while that I need to get better boy backpacks.  To quote Mitchel (age 7): "Jess, animals are OK, but you should do things like monsters...or dinosaurs.  Those are cool."

So this is the first of their encouragement.

I don't know if anyone recognizes it, but it's actually the little globby monster I first designed for my friend's baby onesie.  So it was fun to make him larger and more tactile.  The body is orange faux fur.  His name is Stump because one arm is really stumpy.

I'm always trying to improve my designs, and my backpacks have changed a lot in the past year as I try to make them better, bigger, easier for me, cuter.  The latest change is the new design of the body of the bag, giving the base depth, where before I used pleats.
But my favorite change is the contrasting underbelly of the straps.
This way, the shorter the strap you want, the more contrasting orange strap you see.

I have a few more brewing that I've been thinking and planning for how to fit a sea turtle onto the backpack without having a tiny head.
So far I'm liking the results. be continued

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Knit Layer Shirt

It feels like it's been a long time since I've added any projects.  I've actually been sewing a lot lately.  Etsy stuff and finished a project for this blog contest I'm entering.

Next Monday, my project will be auditioning on So You Think Your Crafty.  It's a blog craft contest.  There will be 30 "auditions" and the 10 projects that get the most votes moves on to the competition and each week the crafters are assigned a theme.  Each week one of the top 10 get kicked off if their project recieves the fewest votes.

I've followed the first 2 seasons, and it's quite a fun little thing each Monday morning to see the latest projects and get to vote for them.  So we'll see if I even get through the auditions. 
But this post is about this top I just finished.  I was really excited in the beginning, then hit a wall in the middle, hated it toward the end, but had to finish it to get it off my mind. 

Here's the idea behind it.

The bodice is layered in rows, then I basted them down into the side seam.  I think each layer was 5" tall and folded in half.

The top of the front was a cross funnel-type neck. 
I did the same layering thing as the bodice, but on the angle of the neckline.

The back piece was just a plain back, like a normal t-shirt, with a high neck.  I made a finished neck edge with a strip of the knit from one side, up behind the neck, and around the other side.
I sewed the basic shirt together, and as I had suspected, the layers across the chest kind of folded up.
On the left I pinned it down, and on the left you can see what the fabric does naturally.

So I hand tacked all the chest layers down, re-sewed the seam under the bust.
Then the sleeves.  I thought they needed a little more detail than a regular cap sleeve, so I used the petal idea, where the sleeve folds on itself around the top of your arm.  That is a bad explanation.  Anyway, I was out of fabric, so I lined the sleeves with lining.  And they don't lay right.  The sleeve curl forward, and the layers across the chest pull funny, I think due to the tacking in the center to limit cleavage.  Maybe if I unpicked the center tacking at the cross of the two top pieces, the chest layering would lay nicer. 
And I could take off the sleeves and just do a simple cap sleeve.

But the shirt ended up being a little small all around anyway, so all the work to fix it seems like a total waste of time to me at this point, so it may just end up at my mother in laws in the dress up box.

Once again, I think it was a good idea, but along the way turned in a bad direction and I'm too lazy to go back and fix it.

Good thing the fabric was only $2.00.
But it was a really nice knit and a steal, and it's too bad it was wasted on a failure project.

Maybe someone thinner out there with a smaller bust that won't stretch the layers would look good in it.  I could always tack the sleeves down so the cream lining doesn't roll forward.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Kids Freezer Paint Shirts

This weekend we spent with my husband's family.  Our tween nieces and nephews got excited about the freezer paper stenciling I had brought and got busy making some shirts.

palm tree & ferris wheel for the girls

This last one is kind of gruesome.  We made it really late.  When the kids showed my father-in-law, he just shook his head.  I think I may be a bad influence sometimes.  But these are hunting camo pants, so the nephews are doing this in real life while they wear these.

notice the hunter on the right kneeling, and I'm sure you notice the poor duck.
I'm sure this last hunting scene won't be duplicated, but the kids sure loved these, and were planning on making many more after I was gone.  The older teenagers thought it would be a good idea to make matching shirts for a high school dance coming up where you and your date match.  Sadie Hawkins or something.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pajama Pants

Make Your Own Pajama Pants
 using your own pair for the pattern
This past week I taught a class for my church teaching how to make pajama pants without a purchased paper pattern.  Three of the people in the class were kids under 10.  They did great and were so excited to make their own clothes.  I made the instruction sheet for the class, and I'm sharing it here too.

Most people are most worried about cutting the fabric out.  This method cuts out 4 pieces, 2 fronts, and 2 backs.  I give myself 1/2" to 3/4" extra on all the sides for a seam allowance.  On the top and bottom, I give an extra 2". 

The class was Thursday, and we went to visit my inlaws this weekend.  My 4th grade nephew had bought flannel and also wanted to make his own pajama pants.

So I helped him through the steps, but he cut and sewed everything himself. 

He did a good job and was really proud when he was finished.  Pajama pants are a really easy project to start out with because it's basically just sewing straight lines, and they are very forgiving, no one will notice a crooked seam or little pucker on their comfy pjs. 
So if you have kids that are interested in sewing, it's a great project that they will love and be so proud to wear and tell everyone they made them themselves.
If you have any questions on the instructions, please email me and I'll try to do a better job of explaining:

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Backpack Winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered.  I really appreciate it.
So for the winner: selected comment 18:
Linda Hill who said...

The bags are the cutest!!!! How would I chose if I was so lucky as to win. Heads or tails?? Giraffe won. Sure hope I do.

Linda, The giraffe is yours!  Email me your shipping address and I'll get him in the mail!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Reading Nook {Part 3}

Part 3. 
I had mentioned in part 2 it would be James & the Giant Peach.  But it isn't.  I ended up painting Esio Trot instead.

This is on the leg of the kid's table. Painted flat white, then each leg is a different book.  So far I had The Giraffe, and the Pelly and Me. 

This book got a spot on the table because it was one of the first Roald Dahl books I read, and I just think it's a cute story.

This is Mr. Hoppy.  He is a shy man that has 2 loves.  The flowers he grows on his balcony, and the widow that lives below him.

This is Mrs. Silver.  She is the widow that lives below Mr. Hoppy.  She is also in love, but not with a person, with her little pet tortoise named Alfie.

One fateful day Mrs. Silver mentions she wished Alphie would grow.  Mr. Hoppy then devises a plan to help Mrs. Silver.  He buys tons of tortoises and has them in his apartment, then when she's gone, he takes Alphie and replaces him with a larger tortoise.Over the course of weeks and many tortoises later, "Alphie" grows, as long as Mrs. Silver repeats a saying that begins with "Esio Trot".

In the end, Mrs. Silver is so happy about Alfie, Mr. Hoppy gets the courage to ask her to marry him and they get married.

It was fun painting all the turtles.  I didn't quite love how Mrs. Silver turned out, as I tried to make her looking up at Mr. Hoppy on the balcony and she seems distorted. 

I have really been enjoying this project of immitating Quentin Blake's illustrations.  Fun, quick, sloppy, and easy.  No wonder I've always liked his art.

Owl Cage

We have these corkscrew willow trees that have thin, twity branches.  The other day was nice, and I thought of making some of the branches into a little cage to go on a shelf in my son's room.  It seems like I've been seeing a lot of bird cages for kids rooms lately.

Like this cute girl's room {image from Pottery Barn}.  These metal birdcages are $99.00.

So since I have a boy, I thought maybe I could make a more rustic, natural boy version.

So we chopped down a few, thin, flexible willow branches, a plastic deli lid, wire, and a hot glue gun.  Some of them could arch without breaking, making a rainbow shape.  I hot glued the ends to the lid, which became the base.  Other sticks I glued to the base and glued to the top.
I spray painted the cage red, put scrapbook paper in the bottom, and decided it would house an owl.

The owl is a little stuffed gray corduroy guy.  I just glued on the eyes, beak and wings with the hot glue gun.  The eyes are black buttons.

To hang the owl, I sewed fishing line through the top of the head, and tied it to the top of the cage, and then glued his bum on the stick that's the perch.

It's on my son's shelf and I'm not in love with it. 

I thought the twisty branches would make the next look really cool, but it kind of just looks creepy to me.
I've got another cage brewing using different branches that so far is working better.

Although if painted black with a bat or crow in it, this would be one creepy Halloween cage.  Maybe next to a jar of eyeballs this would look awesome where as it is sitting next to a giraffe and baby photo, it just seems out of place.  It's going to stay, because I do like the little owl, but maybe not my best creation.

I don't know, what do you think?


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