Tuesday, March 31, 2009

one down, five to go

The first thing I'm hoping to check off my spring break to do list:
Remember that dining set I thrifted? It's finally time to glue them where needed and recover the seats. Nearly hitting the floor when I sat in one last week was a gentle reminder. The joints have loosened that much on some of them.

One by one, they ought to be done by the end of the week.
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Thursday, March 26, 2009

thrifty thursday

ebay score!!
The white book actually came in my Sunshine Family Home, but the others were bought about a week ago off of ebay.

Ellie and I have BIG plans. A patio set is currently in production. Pictures to follow in the coming weeks.
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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

dot to dot backpack

Our little friend, Nate, turned 2.

Just the right age to need some entertaining at a restaurant. That was the plan for his gift this year. It's a small backpack that holds crayons in the outer pocket. The inside holds a small notebook, a dot to dot book, a toy plane and a little magnetic game (remember the ones where you put a beard on the face?).

I used a pattern from a magazine, but threw it out after finishing this. This is one of those things I was just better off listening to my instinct. It's VERY thick. I used some thrifted cordouroy in green with flannel for the lining, pockets and straps. It's also quilted. As I said, it's THICK. The binding at the top had to be added to hide the mess created by quilting all the layers after the instructions told me to sew them into the panel first. It all turned out fine in the end. And the fix didn't take long. It was just one more step when I'd have preferred to have the whole thing done.

He seems to like it and with any luck, his parents can enjoy a meal out very soon.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

prairie blouse

Another piece from Seams to Me:
I thought I'd be all tricky and make the bias casing on the neck my way. Turned out to be a good example of why one should read the pattern all the way through before beginning. It seems just scanning the illustrations and thinking, "yeah, yeah, yeah", in my head isn't always enough. I was able to make it work just fine, but her way really would have been easier for this particular project.

If you hoard vintage bias tape, like I do, this is a great way to use it up. (The older Ellie gets, the fewer patterns I have that work with those one yard cuts of fabric I've been saving. Using bias to finish a hem is a good way to finish something that you might night have quite the length of fabric that you'd like. It eliminates the need to turn up the edge of the fabric twice for a standard sewn hem.) The running stitch was done with embroidery floss after the blouse was finished. The fabric is another Heather Ross print that I'd been saving for at least a year (maybe two) looking for something worthy of it.
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Thursday, March 19, 2009

thrifty thursday

Some craft bloggers have their Blythe dolls. Some might remember their Barbies. I remember these. Stephi and Steve Sunshine were hippie barbies. They were shorter than Barbie and Ken and as far as I knew, were married. Stephi had a more realistic figure than Barbie, though she was still blonde and blue eyed. I know they appealed to my mom more than Barbie and her friends, though I had those dolls too.
I really didn't care about any of that. What I loved was that the dolls and every accessory that was made for them, came with craft booklets of things you could make for their home or wardrobe.
I happened on this box at a local doll store before I was pregnant with Glenn. Mint, never opened, for $25. They even had Stephi and Steve, though you can tell by their hair, they aren't in pristine condition - they actually look a lot like mine did after a lot of playing. No Baby Sweets that day. I've improvised with a little doll I bought in Chinatown on a girl scout field trip in 3rd grade. She's more apropriate to our family anyway.

As soon as the box was home, I opened it up. After all those years, that fantastic, new vinyl smell that reminds me of Christmas was still in there. (My mother cringes that I associate the smell of new toys with Christmas more than the smell of cider or pine needles - sorry, mom.)

I got to put all the stickers in place. (Everyone in my family knows, that is MY job.) I assembled all the furniture. And then what. I looked at it a bit, then folded it all back up and put it away.

Until this week - I brought it out again for the girls. I doubt they'll love it the way I did, but I'm sure they'll play along when I insist the kitchen needs a set of curtains and that patio needs some plants in empty thread spool pots.
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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

bo peep skirts

I think I broke a record for buying a book and making something from it with these skirts. The book was home for about an hour before I started cutting fabric. By the end of the afternoon, this skirt was finished. The pattern is from Seams to Me by Anna Maria Horner.

Easy, easy, easy to sew. Even easier to cut out (I hate that part of sewing). You can use your rotary cutter for this pattern since it's all rectangles based on a few calculations in the book.
I did use a few specialty presser feet to make the job faster - my ruffler and the edgestitching foot (bernina #10). My serger was pressed into service to avoid the french seams. Not that french seams are hard, just more time consuming and I'm all about what I can whip out fast right now.

I even cut into the matryoshka doll fabric I've been saving for a worthy occasion. The brown polka dot band is actually fabric, but this would be a great way to showcase some beautiful ribbon.
The skirts look great coming -

and going.

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jacquie's block

Whew, got this one in the mail last week, so I'm hoping that Jacquie has it by now.
I have a yard of the five fabrics in this group and colorway, but had no idea what I was going to do with them. I just couldn't let it sell out before I added a bit to the stash. This challenge may have inspired me to make a quilt out of it for Glenn.
Jacquie requested a block that didn't look like a block for her son who's soon to head off to college.
My main goal was to keep the tree and deer intact in the feature fabric. The diagonal seam accomplished that pretty well. I added the solids on either side of the paint pot fabric and love how they matched the colors in the pots on their respective sides. The sizes of fabric she sent wound up being just perfect for the design.
This block also produced a phone message to a quilting friend who nearly had to talk me down off a ledge. I insanely decided that a great idea would be to hand applique the solids onto to the paint by number fabric to look as though the block had been painted in a few spots. Um, yeah, I managed to talk myself out of that one before I got a call back.
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Thursday, March 12, 2009

thrifty thursday

This was a hand-me-down from one of the lovely quilters that I see every Tuesday.
I haven't made barbie clothes yet even though I have some of the reissued vintage patterns. Those pieces are just so tiny - not that I haven't gotten myself into miniature work in the past. However, the gown and cape on the bottom row look easy and cute.
The pattern dates from my junior high through high school years. I can remember making a skirt and track suit like the ones in the top row for myself. The track suit even had some frightening polyester or nylon trim stripes down the arms and legs. I remember the skirt's waistband not quite going on right and just pinning the damn thing when I wore it. There's photographic evidence of the skirt somewhere in my photo albums. Fortunately, the track suit has been lost to history.
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

ellie's tee

Today is Ellie's turn. She spotted a teeshirt from Lands End that she loved. The store was out of her size, so we set about making our own version with a brown shirt they did have in her size.
This one was made the same way as Trixie's - wonder under to hold the pieces in place and a tight zig zag stitch. I forgot to mention yesterday that I also use a tear away stabilizer underneath the area to be worked (I spray baste it to the wrong size of the tee shirt, but pinning would work too). That extra step prevents the tee from stretching all over the place and is worth the time it takes to remove it when all the sewing is done.

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Sorry, but I can't remember where the chipmunk patch is from. The buttons are out my stash as were the fabrics. Grandma Bev - do you recognize the top of the tree?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

trixie's tee

Lately I've been snapping up teeshirts that are on clearance for applique work.
This started with an applique of a kerchief girl's head from superbuzzy. I built the body out of fabric scraps and a bit of ribbon. Wonder under and a tight zig zag stitch hold the body in place. The head was just edgestitched.
I've been loving all the matryoshka dolls that have been out in pattern, fabric and ribbon form and think there'll be a lot more of them in the girls' future.
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Friday, March 6, 2009

wee robot

I almost forgot to post what I made for Glenn for Valentine's Day.

He'd been eyeing this pattern by Hilary Lang in the Softies book for some time.

In the interest of time, I did as much as possible on the face by machine. The "mouth" is a great utility stitch to use for stuff like this.

The arms weren't too hard once I got out a doll needle that was long enough to push through the body with some accuracy. I'd also recommend making sure you use VERY thick yarn to wrap the arm wires or you'll be wrapping for a very long time to get them nice and full.

Now I have to take the wee guy back to his leader.

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

thrifty thursday

Looks like I'm hopping on that craft blogger bandwagon of doll obsession.
I found these the same day as the desk for Trixie.
This one isn't handmade, but I love the dotted swiss fabric. The elastic didn't survive a good soak and washing (the dots were a murky tan when I bought it), but that's easily fixed. I'm crossing my fingers that it'll fit one of the girls' baby dolls.
Not sure what doll this would have gone with. A teddy bear perhaps? I just love the piping on it.

This group thrilled me - The calico dress is hard to see, but it has eyelet trim on the straps. The top with the ricrac trim is so sweet. And really, how could I pass up a Barbie kilt?

This was the show stopper for me though-

The back has a pleat and I can't stop staring at those tiny cuffs and collar.
If Ellie doesn't play with it, I will. In fact, this just might have to hang on my wall for a bit. I've got to have wire around here somewhere to make tiny little hangers.
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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

it's a bird, it's a plane...

it's ladybug girl!!!
I adapted the pattern from Sew Pretty Homestyle Christmas to create a costume to go with Trixie's favorite library book (for now) - Ladybug Girl.

The boots are hand-me-downs that are in heavy rotation right now.

Guess who knows she's cute.

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Monday, March 2, 2009

angel wings

I meant to post this a couple weeks ago right after Ellie got it from us for Valentine's Day. I'm so sick of the fairy wings they have that are made with nylon stretched over a frame. My girls really PLAY with them and every pair gets trashed within a few weeks. (The wings for Ellie's Halloween costume were part of a Tinkerbell outfit that met that fate. I recovered the frame with lace for her princess outfit.)
Not long before Christmas I ran across Sew Pretty Homestyle Christmas at the library and saw this adorable pattern. I'm usually short on time for projects before the holidays, but tucked the idea away for a future present. In fact, this would make a great present for a friend's birthday paired with a simple tulle skirt. I love that the fabric can't run, and the size keeps them from clearing nearby tables when the girls decide twirling is in order.
You can almost see a halo in this shot.

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