Thursday, July 24, 2008

A confession

This is really hard for me to admit but I feel compelled to confess a deep dark secret. There was a time, many years ago that my sewing adventures involved sewing vests from pre-printed panels. :'( I know, I know. It's just horrible! There's just no defense for it even though this was 14-15 years ago. My co-workers even paid me to sew vests for them and their family members. It was insane. There were Christmas vests and Halloween vests, Back to School vests and even a Noah's Ark vest.

This next sewing project relates to those awful, awful vests. I still have scraps of fabric in my stash from those vests, mostly the coordinating fabrics used for lining. Tonight's feature was created using the navy lining from the Noah's Ark vest that is long. long gone. As in probably in a landfill gone!

Navy background, animal print twirl skirt with brown grosgrain ribbon trim and attached korker ribbon 'bow' made from ribbon that I made. Well, I didn't make the ribbon but I wrapped it around dowels and baked it and then I heat sealed the ends.

I must say I think it turned out great! I think it's about a size 18 months, possibly 2T and I think it's destined to be sold. I'm feeling a desire to open my own cart. :-X

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sewing Fool

I have been a sewing fool lately and it just feels so good. My serger, coverstitch and sewing machines have been burning rubber. I'm motivated to actually process my 500 yards (this is a guess I have no idea how accurate it is!) of stash fabric. Today's project was unpaper towels.

The loops of the 'basket' hang over the paper towel rack...which is now empty.

There was a time not too long ago that we used more then a roll of paper towels every day. And this was a roll of Bounty, not cheapo paper towels so it was a BIG roll. The main thing was that we used a paper towel EVERY time we washed our hands. Change a diaper, wash hands, use a paper towel to dry. Rinse or wash a dish, use a paper towel to dry hands. Clean the bathroom? Use 10 paper towels. Get the picture? A lot of paper going in the garbage!

We had dish towels but we really used them for the lowest messes on the floor or big spills on the table. I think we all had a germ phobia about what that towel might have been used for. Paper just seemed cleaner.

It wasn't until after I started using cloth diapers that I started thinking about the waste of it. So I made an effort to use dishtowels for my own use. I hung a hook up high for my own dishtowel that wouldn't get used to wipe a little snotty nose and then rehung. (Who am I kidding, my kids just leave it on the floor after they use it!)

My dh has been a bit resistant about giving up paper. 1) he's a germaphobe and 2) dish towels are nothing like paper towels. Neither is flannel. It's too thick or something and just doesn't seem very absorbant to me. I made flannel dinner napkins a while back. The kids and I use them but not dh.

Anyhow, it wasn't until we inherited dh's grandmother's thin dish clothes that dh started to like using cloth. The only problem is that they are kind of big. They are very thin, similar to birdseye so I ran with that thought. Just today, I made over 40 unpaper towels that are smallish - 10 x 8 inches. I'm pretty excited! For the first time ever, we did not buy a case of paper towels when we went to Sam's. For each roll of paper towels that we don't use, that's $1 saved! This should save us almost $30 a month!! Sad, but true.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sometimes things go horribly wrong

You reach a point where you think maybe just a little more this or a little more that and before you know it, you have something like this.....

;D ;D ;D

I can't draw worth a darn. I know it. I tried hand embroidering the face TWICE before I gave it to my 11 year old for her to try. And no, she didn't make that mess that you see above, I did! My final attempt was with the fabric markers. I just couldn't get the lips to look right and they kept growing. Then I tried a darker color to see if I could get more defined. :'(

I had to resew the whole doll, redo the hair, etc. And I was racing against the clock. I barely made it.

Here's the one that is on it's way to the birthday girl (in S Carolina so I can't hand deliver it.)

And of course NOW I notice how dusty my window sill is. :P

Along with the doll, went an outfit for the birthday girl....

Yep - leftover frog fabric from the quilt. I went out there this morning with plans to sew with 3 cute coordinating prints that I bought from Jo-ann's recently but that went out the window when I saw that the frog fabric matched the Old Navy 'blank' that I had on hand.

Oh....I guess I forgot to blog about the quilt...

I'm on a sewing roll lately. Kendall and Lily inherited a full size bed from MIL a couple months ago...well, actually we bought it from her. Anyhow, it came that is...ummm....nevermind. ;) It just wasn't girly and pretty.

So, I have been scouring the stores for the perfect set. I like quilts and not puffy comforters with characters...not that we haven't had that type of bedding. Anyhow the stuff I like seemed to be the pricey stuff. But I just couldn't stomach paying $100-$200 or more.

Cleaning out my studio helped me find motivation. After lunch on Sunday, I refound a stack of coordinating frog fabric that I had bought on clearance for $1 a yard. I didn't think there was quite enough and I wanted something to pull together the fabrics so I also pulled out a faux minkee fabric (very plush and super soft) that I had bought on clearance online for $1.95 a yard. And I started cutting 8" squares and then I figured out placement.

I was able to get 98% of it done on Sunday before I went to bed. I finished the binding in about an hour today. It's 100% done on machine. I used most of the frog prints and only have enough left to piece together shams which worked out perfectly. The quilt, however, is NOT perfect. Some of the edges don't line up because the minkee was REALLY stretchy. Oops! I think that done is better then perfect though. I'm pleased that I saved money, used what I had and created something that makes my girls happy. (And it also makes my thrifty dh happy, too!)

I feel like I had a choice here and I did the right thing. I could have easily bought something that would have been 'perfect' in that the corners would have been lined up and they would perfectly coordinate with the sheets etc. But this was something that I made with my girls in mind. It also has the frog theme which is obviously an important symbol in our family.

Without further ado, here it is...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Finally...sewing time!

My past couple weeks have been consumed with estate stuff and ebay. I really haven't had any crafting time other then the midnight knit in at mny LYS and then a bit of car knitting here and there. Yesterday I forced myself out to my sewing studio. Before I could sew, I had to do some major cleaning up. There must have been more then 100 yards of fabric on the floor that used to be stacked on the bottom of a hanging rack that I borrowed for the yard sale. Luckily, my eBay selling spree opened up some closet space so I was able to find a better place for my large cuts of knits. I have an insane amount of thermal knits in cool prints that is destined to become PJs for the kids...some day before they outgrow pirates (boys) and butterflies (girls.) My kids love Hanna Andersson zipper pjs but they only go up to size 100 so I can hopefully recreate them in their sizes with some of the knits I have stashed. (which reminds me that I need to find a cheap source for long sippers.)

After the floor and my work surfaces where mostly clear, I finished Greyson's birthday shirt that I cut out on his birthday a month ago. It's a pale yellow blousy kind of collared shirt with elastic on the sleeves. He loves it and actually wore it to sleep in last night. I didn't get a picture.

My next project was turning one yard of ugly fabric into something cool. The fabric was sent to me as part of a swap on another BB. The fabric I got was an icky feeling taffeta type fabric with a strange border print running down the middle. It told me it wanted to be doll dresses...mainly because I couldn't imagine a real child wanting this fabric against the skin.

I turned it into doll dresses and I am quite pleased with the results.

There was a 3rd dress but it got melted on the bottom of my iron. Whoops! I guess it got a little too hot. Now I have a yucky iron and I haven't been able to find the hot iron cleaner locally. It's been out at my normal shopping places. (I've been looking for it to clean up my old steam press for ebay.) I have almost ordered it from ebay at least 3 different times but I just can't bear to spend $6+ on shipping for a $4 item.

Friday, July 4, 2008

More Estate Stuff & Some Homemade Goodness

We have been going through more storage unit stuff. There was some cool finds in the box of linens. A few really bright and colorful printed tablecloths from the 50s or 60s? I'm not sure how old they are. There were some hand embroidered ones and a couple fine damask linen ones. And most had matching napkins. We just don't use tablecloths so I have no use for them so they will go to eBay. I might have to keep one though...the blue and white one with cherry? blossoms.

I washed them yesterday and hung them on the line. I normally get a kick out of hanging stuff on the line but this was even exploded from that. I am 100% positive that using a clothesline works as a natural antidepressant. Especially when it's vintage linens at are dry by the time you work you way to the last one.

Another cool find.....

Vintage dishtowels that I am keeping!! Mine, mine, mine!!!

I'm massively excited about them! There are a ton of the ones with red thread 'serging' on the edges. At first I wondered if they were diaper flats but they are really long and skinny. I guess they could be. They do look like birdseye. I really think they are the 'paper towels' of the past based on the number of them. I also have 7 incredibly awesome days of the week dishtowels. These ones are a bit thicker then the red edged ones and feel like flour sack material. (I got 3 flour sacks, too!) Each day has a cool 50s? lady doing a specific chore for that day. Wednesday is knitting!

My dh is not as non-paper product friendly as I am. He is a germaphobe and he doesn't like anything that contributes extra laundry. But...he thinks these are cool and maybe he'll use them because we think they were his grandma's. They are times that I think our grandparents did things the right way and I think this is one of them. Here is my new stash of unpaper towels!

In between sorting, I found time to make 2 batches of homemade yogurt. I was experimenting and the first one didn't ever set so I did a repeat the next day with slightly better results. My first mistake was trying to add my berries to the yogurt at the front end. The second day, I had the temp in my roaster pan too high and I think I killed some of the active yogurt cultures. I was ready to give up on that batch, too. I accidently left the roaster on all night and when I went to dump it, I had yogurt! I have been assured by a yogurt 'expert' that I won't kill the family with it. On the contrary, the yogurt I made can be eaten by someone with lactose intolerance because of the extra 'cooking' time.

I also made a batch of homemade granola using this recipe.

As far as eBay goes, I now have 51 auctions up. Two auctions sold already. If everything sold sold with the bids, it would be almost $70. I have a ton of watchers in the wings so I think that number will go up, up, up.

I have a ton more to list. Yesterday's load included some fine china, correlle and a neat pyrex dish. I also have 4 square dance petticoats and square costumes to list. Kendall has had a lot of fun with the petticoats even though they are for a full size woman! The elastic could be cinched for a child though. I think we might have to keep one for dress-up.