Saturday, March 28, 2009

New Skirt

Bug wanted another new skirt for school, which of course was torture for me.

She was actually pretty particular about the pattern for this one, she wanted something smooth. She agreed to a pattern based this. Well, sort of based on that anyway. I ended up changing a few things.

Here is how it turned out:

Just the skirt:

And I decided to line this one, since the "wrong" side of my creations look really ugly.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My favorite part of creativity is...

Sharing it with my children.

I've always been creative, I think in part because I saw creativity around me. My mom has been knitting, doing needle work, sewing, crocheting and other sorts of things all my life. And she always encouraged me to follow my creative spirit. I redecorated my bedroom, including painting, hanging wall paper, sewing window treatments and pillows before I was 16.

As I was working on a painting a few weeks ago, there was Bug beside me, painting away on her own project.

I love sharing creativity with my kids. I think it is so important for them to see all that we try to do, especially when our results don't turn out as we expected. While making our fireplace cover, there was Bug, right beside me, holding down the fabric, smoothing the wrinkles and watching me realize what was and what wasn't going to work.

Here are a few of her projects from the early days.

I was painting a flower pot, Bug was decorating one with stickers.

Addressing her own thank you notes:

A St. Patrick's Day Wreath

St. Patrick's Day shamrock:

I'm pretty sure that Bug will be redecorating her room any day now. She loves household projects and I love seeing her interest in making her world around her more beautiful.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

3 Tier Khaki Broom Skirt

This weekend was not a good weekend for sundresses. Not a good weekend at all. I gave up after ruining 2 of them. They might be able to be saved, but not this weekend.

What this weekend was good for was for making my first broom skirt.

The skirt is a bit cuter in person, not sure why by my creations don't seem to photograph well. It doesn't help that my kids don't like to cooperate.

The pattern I followed for this skirt (free online here) was for someone much bigger than my little bug, so I had to modify it.
  • Instead of making the strips 10 inches tall, I made them 5" tall with the top tier 6.5"to allow for the elastic band.
  • The first strip was 30" wide
  • 2nd strip 40" wide
  • 3rd strip 50" wide
Other than that is was pretty much as the pattern states. I really like the instructions they have for making gathers.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Three Dresses

About 2 weeks ago I found this collection of materials to make some dresses for Bug.

The material on the right was to make some tee-shirt dresses. Here is how they turned out. (Forgive the pictures, Bug was NOT in the mood to be photographed)

Yellow Sundress - The second time I made this it turned out very well. Who knew Bug was so picky about where the waist of the dress is. I didn't realize this going in and made the waist too low. She was not happy. But I fixed it and she loves the dress. (It is actually a bit longer than pictured )

The blue dress, I LOVED the materials for this dress, but sadly, it turned out too small. I was paranoid about the waist being too low and ended up with it being too high and the skirt too short. Bummer. But Bug is willing to give this to a friend and I've got extra fabric and could remake one for her.

Green Smocked Dress
- My favorite dress so far, and I think Bug's favorite too. And this dress was beyond easy. Note in the photo of the materials above, I bought a yard of this fabric using a 40% off coupon from JoAnn's - it cost less than $5 and was pre-smocked. I had NO idea they sold pre-smocked fabric. All I had to do was sew a tube out of it, hem the bottom and add straps. It couldn't have been easier. I'm hoping to make a few more of these. You can beat a $5 dress that turns out this cute! (Please ignore Bug, she had her sassy pants on that day.)

I do have materials for the pink top, lady bug dress and I hope to finish that this weekend.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The General List

You'll see here - I'm not a one project at a time kind of girl. I've got a lot of irons in the fire and that is the way I like it. It drives my husband a bit batty.

Recently completed:
  • Green Smocked Dress - Very happy with it
  • School Dress - Didn't go well and will be revisited soon
  • Blue Dress - too small, bummer - LOVE the way it came out (details to come)
  • Yellow Sundress - Pretty happy with it, not sure I used the right top (details to come)
  • Janie Painting - a 9"x11" painting for friends who just had a baby. Happy with how it turned out. (Yes, details to come)
  • Kid's bathroom - thanks to a $10 can of paint, $8 worth of wall decals on clearance from Linens & Things and reusing towels from our old townhouse, this room is as done as I consider anything. Of course, I reserve the right to revisit.

In progress:
  • Lady Bug Sundress - everything is washed and ready to sew
  • Butterfly Sundress - everything is washed and ready to sew
  • Khaki Vine Broom Skirt - everything is washed and ready to sew
  • 3x3 paintings - no idea what I'm doing with these. I found 2 3"x3" canvases at at a thrift store for $.50 each and wanted to turn them into something... 2 weeks later I'm still clueless.
  • Jewelry box - this has been in progress for about 8 months, I started it as a birthday gift for Bug (July) I'm not ready to give up. Yet.
  • Crochet "thing" - I'm learning to crochet, I haven't decided if my first project is turning into a pillow or a hot pad, depends on how I like how it is turning out. I can stop at 8" for a hot pad, or keep going to 14" or 16" for a pillow.
  • TJ's lamp - Finished the lamp shade, need to spray paint the base.
  • Guest Bedroom. I've rearranged the furniture, reassigned some pieces to other parts of the house and reclaimed a few things as well. Very happy with the arrangement. Now I'm working on accessories. I found a BUNCH of frames at a thrift store on their 75% off frames day and have to spray paint them and figure out exactly how I'm using them.
  • Brooch display - I've started collecting vintage/antique brooches and I'm playing with ideas on how to display them.
On Deck:
  • Living room/Dining room window treatments - I've got the perfect fabric, I just have no idea what I'm doing with it. I love the molding around our windows and don't really want to cover it up. But both rooms could benefit from "something" to enhance their height and dress them up a bit more.
  • Table runner for Dining room - want to use the same fabric as for the window treatments, but obviously until I know how much I need for the window treatments, I don't want to go cutting into it for the runner.
  • Apron's for Bug and me - I want to make matching aprons for us, she loves cooking with me and hosting our own little TV show as we do. She even sends us to and from commercial break - I think she learned that from watching cooking shows with grandma. Figured it would be a fun birthday gift for her in July.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Beauty in the eye of a 5 year old

My daughter Bug is a girly girl. For about the past 2-3 years all she will wear is dresses. All dresses all the time. For Kindergarten this year she's had to wear a uniform, navy on top, khaki on the bottom. It has majorly cramped her girly girl style.

Thankfully the school is flexible and they can wear ANY navy top and khaki bottom, even those with patterns and other colors - as long as the majority is the right color, they are good. Talk about a creative mission - finding pretty girly girl clothes in navy and khaki. It's gone better than I had expected.

A couple of weeks ago a friend sent me this pattern to make a dress out of a tee-shirt, and I knew instantly my first project would be a new outfit for Bug to wear to school.

I got my tee shirt and fabric and was all ready to go. Then my sewing machine died. And a host of other things went wrong.

Including the dress.

I was really depressed over how it turned out, so not like the picture in my mind. Bug found the dress and proclaimed it the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. She's been begging to wear it all week. At first, I was a bit embarrassed by it - but then I realized that it does not matter what the dress looked like in my mind. Katie didn't know what that dress looked like, she only knows what THIS dress looked like.

So she wore it today - proud as a peacock. I still plan to remake the dress with my new sewing machine and the lessons of what went wrong with this one. And you better believe I'll post pictures of the "better" dress.

For now, this is what Bug thinks the most beautiful dress in the world looks like:
Wrinkles and all she loves it. And static-uncombed-hair and all... I love her.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hobby Lobby Envy

I've got major Hobby Lobby envy... For some reason it seems like every other creative blog I visit is singing the praises, bragging and rubbing in my face that they get to go to Hobby Lobby.

Ok, so maybe they are just mentioning Hobby Lobby and not so much "rubbing it in my face."


I like my local craft stores well enough, we've got AC Moore, Micheal and JoAnns, plus G Street Fabrics for when I don't feel like sticking to a budget. It just seems like all the stuff I see people post from Hobby Lobby is so much cuter. Plus they seems to have it all, crafts, home accents, fabric, paper crafting stuff and a whole lot more, all in one place. (I could watch their virtual tour all day

I'm jealous. Maybe even bitter.

Yeah, I'm bitter.

The nearest Hobby Lobby is 4 hours and 18 minutes away. That would be one hell of a road trip.

On a side note, my husband and our budget are very happy that we do NOT have a Hobby Lobby nearby.

My New Toy

Sewing was one of my earliest forms of creativity. I helped my mom make clothes for my cabbage patch doll on my grandmother's antique singer sewing machine from about the time I was in the 3rd or 4th grade. It had one stitch - straight, but my goodness it was a beautiful work of art - almost a sculpture, a lot like this: (though I think ours was even older than this one)
In Jr high I was making toss pillows and window treatments for my room. Going to a girl friends house often consisted of turning her mothers scraps of fabric into doll sleeping bags and other things.

Over the years I've made window treatments, pillows and bags (like the one picture below) with a slightly more modern singer, it had 5 stitches.

This past weekend I decided to enter into the world of kids clothes by making these really simple dresses that a girlfriend had done. (You can find out here: While working on the dresses (which I'll post eventually) I came to realize that my rather antiquated 5 stitch singer had to go. I treated myself to this:

Its the Brother 50 Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine (Limited Edition Project Runway) and I LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT. Going from about 10 years or so with 1 stitch, then 10 years with 5 stitches, I feel absolutely spoiled with 50. Now, I'm not a professional seamstress, or anything even close - I'm a weekend crafter and and this is the perfect machine for me. It was under $150, available locally and so far it is doing a wonderful job. I completed 3 dresses and am half way through a 4th for my daughter in just over a day of sewing.
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