Sunday, October 31, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival Entry: So Early in the Morning





Once again, it's time for the Blogger's Quilt Festival at Amy's Creative Side! It's my second time joining in all the quilting loveliness and this time my entry of choice is the first quilt I completed as a full-fledged blogger. Yippee!

I call it "So Early in the Morning". Thusly named because for a while I was suffering from insomnia and found that the hand-quilting was a quiet yet comforting thing to replace sleep so early in the morning. BTW, I'm cured and sleep has returned!

Recommendation: If you want to hand-quilt a whole quilt in a short period of time, don't sleep, and it will get done lickety-split.


Completed at the beginning of May 2010, it is (obviously) a very simple quilt. Modern in a way but old-fashioned too, I think. Four-patches on point as you can see. Hand-quilted along the diagonal of each little square. The design was inspired by this Kaffe Fassett quilt, though I didn't quite follow his pattern leaving the design more to happenstance than his, and refraining also from adding a border. The backing is flannel which gives the quilt a lovely weight and warmth.


Probably my favourite aspect of the quilt other than the hand-quilting (which isn't fully apparent in these photos, goshdarnit) is the binding. I love it! It's soooooo PINK! And, as it turns out, I like pink. I never knew...

Originally meant to cover mine and Lo's bed, it now resides on the bed in the spare bedroom. Unfortunately, it was too small for ours, sigh. But it looks fantastic against the bright orangey-red walls in that room and there, by gum, is where it's staying. (Don't ask about the wall colour. That's a whole nother story.)


So there you have it: the simple yet pretty "So Early in the Morning" quilt!

Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival

Now you go have yourself a fantastic evening, and Happy Halloween!


A Man in Uniform



As soon as we saw the battle re-enactment by the Fort Henry Guard (pictured above) last summer, inspiration struck the Boy like a ball out of a canon. He declared that HE was going to be a British soldier, circa 1860, for Halloween!

Fast-forward to last week. Despite all this fabulous warning, I managed to leave the costume-making to the last minute. As usual. Consequently there has been a veritable flurry of red and black sewing and crafting activity over the last few days here at my little house!

Before any actual sewing began though, I figured I'd go out and find a soldier pattern because admittedly, sewing (for me anyway) is always easier with a pattern. So I scoured the pattern books at the fabric shop finding exactly ZERO soldier patterns of ANY kind. The pattern companies are pacifists apparently. I wouldn't normally have a problem with this except that I know my 6-year-old. He was hell bent on being a soldier. And nothing else would do.

So in desperation I bought this. Burda 2461. The Prince/Amadeus costume. It would have to do. With a little tweaking this would become a circa 1860 British soldier costume.


Luckily, no pants had to be made. I just hand-dyed a pair of the boys pants black and added a ribbon down the side. Check.

For the jacket, I used the Amadeus section of the pattern and nixed the jabot and any other frilly enhancements. What in the name of crème brulée is a jabot, you ask? Yes, I asked myself that same question. Well let me tell you. A jabot is like a really frilly ascot. Any soldier worth his salt would NEVER wear a jabot. This would be a serious faux-pas (in my opinion). So, no jabot. But I added some felt embellishments on the jacket shoulders and cuffs, added ribbon here and there, and made a white belt.

I did not buy footwear. I just painted a pair of hand-me-down running shoes black. That was easy!


And for the helmet, I took one of the Boy's plastic fireman hats (he has many) and transformed it into a more soldier-ly helmet as shown. I then adorned it with a felt and paper badge, and a plume made from a Kinder Surprise container and a wooden skewer. That's what you would've done, right?


And here is the completed costume! The boy loves it thank goodness. He would have worn it to bed had I let him. But I didn't. What a meanie, eh?








In this last pic, you see the little felt ammunition pouch that I added to his belt.


No one can resist a man in uniform... especially mommy!

Have a great day, and Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

House of Card...Board Boxes





This is a little house made of cardboard boxes. I made it 4 years ago as a Christmas gift for my little one and I'm always surprised at how well it's holding up and how long it's been kicking around.

I remember being quite proud of the little Victorian house design (and I still am!) and the fact that I used only stuff from around the house to build it. I chose not to put a door on it for safety's sake (he was two when I built it) and also because I didn't want to deal with hinges. Lazy...



My main construction material: a couple of large cardboard boxes of course. And I recall using LOADS of my husband's good carpenter's glue as an adhesive. I worked in steps over the course of a week, taking my time with all the measurements. Whenever I glued on pieces, I clamped them together with painter's masking tape - you know the kind that's not too sticky - to let the glue set and then removed the "clamps" once the glue was dry.


I used old house paint with an eggshell finish to paint the thing so I can actually wash the walls which is pretty neat. And yes, I've actually washed the walls.


To make the house sturdy I did a couple of things. One: I glued "mouldings" at every joint (even in the attic). And two: I faced both the outside and the inside of the window frames with a window cut-out.


I used a thrifted piece of aqua-coloured vinyl for the floor. The leftover pieces of vinyl I cut into curlicues and glued to the walls for a decorative touch.



I used craft paper (you know the brown stuff used for covering packages), rolled it up into thin rolls and then flattened out the rolls to make a thin moulding for the outer edge of the roof peak.



The boy doesn't play in it anymore but it still resides in his room. He now uses it as a lovely place to store his beloved stuffed animals.

I think the animals are happy in their colourful little home. It's a nice place they've got there!


If anyone is interested in a printable plan for the little house, let me know, and I'll see what I can scrounge up.

Edited to Add: I'm sorry, I will not be providing a free printable for this little house as I seem to have misplaced my original construction notes. 

Now you have yourself a lovely day!


P.S. In the meantime if you just can't wait to make a house, here is a link with plans for an alternative cardboard house at Make Baby Stuff.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tutorial - Kid and Grown-up Placemat Fun





Yesterday the boys and I had planned to do yard work all day but as it happened, not only did Mother Nature have other plans (it was cold and rainy out), but Lo was feeling somewhat under-the-weather. So we all decided to stay ensconced in the warmth of our house. Of course that meant coming up with something to keep the Boy occupied. Now, I usually have some kind of crafty back-up plan up my sleeve for such an occasion. Yesterday, Plan B involved making one-of-a-kind placemats.

Now the Boy loves to craft. It's in his blood. But Lo. When I asked him if he wanted to make a placemat I wasn't actually expecting him to say "Sure." But he did! AMAZING. CRAZY. ( I thought it must be the virus talking or something...) But he actually sat down with us for probably about 2 hours helping the Boy, creating his own design, cutting the pieces. And the Boy! He had so much fun, he made two different placemats! It really was a great family rainy day activity!

Here's what we did...


Tutorial: Kid and Grown-up Placemat Fun

You will need:
  • Fabric scraps
  • Fabric pieces (roughly 12"x 18"), 2 per placemat (1 for front, 1 for back)
  • Batting pieces ((roughly 12"x 18"), 1 per placemat
  • Fabric binding
  • Fusible web
  • Pins
  • Pair of scissors
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Sewing machine with darning foot
  • Needle and thread
Note: Nothing was bought specifically for this project. I found everything in my stash! Bo-nus!

1. Take one of the 12" x 18" fabric pieces. This is your base fabric.


2. Using the fabric scraps and a pair of scissors, create a design by placing various scraps on your base fabric. You can reshape the scraps or leave them "as is" and just place as you like on your base fabric. The point: Be creative, do what YOU like, this is YOUR placemat.


This is the first of the Boy's designs.


Here's what our dining room table looked like. The floor was a mess but that's to be expected.



3. Note: The kid friendly part of this activity is over. The rest should be done by you. Following the directions on your fusible web, use it to adhere the fabric scraps to your base fabric. If you're still not sure about using fusible web, here is a good fusible web tutorial link.

Here's what our placemats looked like once they were fused. Notice that some of the larger pieces were pinned in place. That was just my preference, feel free to fuse all pieces.


4. Now you will make a quilt sandwich. Place a piece of batting between your designed top piece and your back piece. Pin the sandwich together. Do this for all your placemats.

5. Free-motion quilt all your placemats. I'm still learning how to do this so my work is FAR from perfect. But I can tell you that if you have a regular old sewing machine like I do, you will need a darning foot to do this step. You also need to put your feed-dogs down (those are the little toothed pieces under your sewing-machine needle that feed the fabric along as you sew).

Note: The finished design has raw edges. The edges will likely soften and lose threads over time with washing. Once they completely fall apart, we will make more.

Here are a few details of the free-motion quilting...



6. Bind your placemats. Here is a very good tutorial at Sew Inspired that shows you how to do that.

And here are the finished placemats! Here is Lo's which I just love! I'm super-fond of circles.


Here's the Boy's first design...


Here's the Boy's second design. I love this one too. I like the way Saturn is about to collide into our house. So great. The stars are very cute too.



And here's my design!


We had a great time doing this together as a family. Perhaps you will too...

Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Finish: Crochet Ripple Throw



The story that was the ripple throw is finally over... Sigh... And it's a happy ending.

True, no boy got no girl, no hero rescued no damsel in distress, and no boy got no puppy who saved his life and then died (though I guess that's not really a "happy" ending). No. None of those things happened. The happy ending is just this: there WAS an ending. Just the fact that I finished this project gives me satisfaction. And a sense of accomplishment. And is a little bit magical. I don't know. It just feels good. See, I have issues with long-term crafty commitments. They tend to languish in the corners of my house. And my mind. I know they're there, but I lose interest in them as time passes. I'm more of a get'er done NOW kind of a girl.

But... I did it. Eventually, yes. And I used a lot of scrap yarn in the process. So YAY for me. Woot woot.

Now, here it is in all it's completed glory! Michele's CROCHET RIPPLE THROW!



Can you tell I'm pleased? Well I am! And the universe is pleased too...


Look what it bestowed upon me for all my hard work! Aren't they pretty?



Thank you Universe.

And you, have yourself a beautiful day!

P.S. The throw was made using Lucy's Neat Ripple Pattern available at Attic 24. Thanks Lucy!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tutorial - Zebra Foam Tray Storage Box




Every now and then, every crafter needs a no-brainer kind of a craft. You know, the ultra-easy kind that you can do with your eyes closed while dancing to some fine fine tunage, preferably something from the 80's. Maybe some Prince and the Revolution? Yeah baby, that's pretty much my idea of heaven right there... Now just crank it, and let's do this!


TUTORIAL: Zebra Foam Tray Storage Box

You will need:
  • Clean styrofoam meat trays
  • Shoe box
  • Foam glue
  • Pair of scissors
  • Pencil
  • White/black or gray acrylic paint
  • Coarse paint brush
1. If your shoe box isn't gray like my little box happened to be, you may want to give it a few coats of black or dark gray paint.


2. Cut the edges off your cleaned foam trays.

3. From your foam trays, cut several square and rectangular shapes. You need enough to fit the entire surface of the box. Obviously, the larger the box, the more you'll need. Okay, you knew that...


4. Glue the rectangles on with special foam glue. A friend of mine gave me this glue, but you can get your very own at any craft store. Or you can ask your friends to buy you some...


5. As previously mentioned, cover the entire surface of the box. Let one covered side dry before moving on to the next side.


6. Using a blunt pencil, mark your foam with zebra stripes. Just go for it! There are no rules in zebra land! Once you have your pattern, go over it a few times to make your lines wider and uneven.


7. Take some white acrylic paint and your coarse paintbrush and gently paint the foam surface white. Use only a little bit of paint at a time so that the zebra lines stay free of paint. I only did 1 coat of white. You may want to apply a coat or 2 of varnish to protect the surface.

And you are done! Just like that! Here is the finished product!


Use it to store those gajillion pencils you've collected...



Or fill it with all those little sewing notions you don't know what to do with...


Or even better! Hide a chocolate stash in there for when you get the urge... And don't tell anyone. It's all for YOU!



Hee hee.

Have a fantastic day!

P.S. Here's another way to recycle styrofoam trays...

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