Sunday, December 27, 2009

More presents!

So I haven't done a great job taking pictures so far. I made this diaper clutch for my sister-in-law and this awesome bag for one of my best friends, Amy. Maybe I can get them to take pictures for me... hint, hint. I do however, have pictures of the fairy dollhouse that I made for my niece and the fairies who inhabit it!

Here are the cutie fairies who will live in the house. I used the patterns in this book to make them. How sweet is that?

Here are my first attempt at sewing the sides together. If you click on the picture, you'll get a bigger image - at your own risk. I call these my frankenstein stitches. Ugly.

Here are the redone pretty stitches. Yay!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Time's A Coming

Here is the progress on the Christmas presents (that are safe to post). I'll keep taking pictures so that as people receive their gifts, you'll be able to see what I've been working on!

This is the Emmaline Apron from Meg at Sew Liberated. What amazing patterns!! This was more difficult than I had originally thought, probably my most ambitious sewing project to date. I wish I had better pictures, but I am really proud of how it turned out. It was for my Secret Santa at school, who loves to cook!

Its reversible! Please ignore my husband's pajamas in the corner.... And yes, those are chickens on the red side (you can see a bigger image if you click on the picture). Too cute! I got my fabrics from Asheville Cotton. They have the such an awesome selection. I wish my photography skills were better. Anyone know some good tips?

Here is my Secret Santa in her new apron! Yay!

Dollhouse and fairies coming tomorrow!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Busy (Messy) Bee

I have been a busy (and messy - my husband is so understanding...) bee since my last post! I found the link to this fabric dollhouse tutorial on Carmen's blog and I knew I had to make one for my niece for Christmas and I have been working ever since. I am having so much fun that I want to start another one and I'm not even finished with this one! What I really love about it is that I get to design and be creative. I've had a few snags, but I think that now that I've made one, it will definitely be easier the next time. Here are a few of the obstacles I've encountered:

When sewing the side panels onto the main part, it was difficult to keep them aligned in the correct position. I pinned it, but it kept slipping, I think because of the batting-wrapped insert. The seam-ripper was my best friend (or worst enemy...?) that afternoon. It took me three tries to get it lined up all pretty like this:

When I finally got it lined up, it was so thick - especially the second time when there were two panels sandwiched in - that even with my zipper foot, it was hard to sew around it. The stitches are not pretty, but at least you can't see them!!

Another thing I wasn't sure about was attaching the designs to the house. I think in the future it may be better to actually sew the felt onto the fabric before sewing it all together. So far I have been using fabric glue to apply the decor to the house. It works fine for the felt to fabric bonding, but it is not holding the felt to felt very well. I'll have to keep experimenting with that... Here is a little preview - some of this has not actually been attached yet, its just propped up.

I am really happy with the fireplace. I need to figure out how to put a chimney on the outside. Yay!

My next step (after I finish the house) is to make the fairies that will live in the house. I am using ideas from this book. Stay tuned for the next installment...

P.S. - I haven't fixed my fused plastic bag yet... It turns out that my iron is not keeping an even temperature, which is likely the problem, so I'll update when I get a new one...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I'm still here!!

Hello blog world! I am still here! Since school started its been crazy and I have not been very (or at all) inspired to make anything - or as Carmen at seaschell said "lost my crafty mojo." I absolutely love teaching, but it is draining. I don't have much left in me when I get home! My scant crafting has been my husband's Halloween costume. It was fun to make and I got it done in plenty of time, but it didn't inspire anything else. He was very proud, however.

This weekend I started a birthday present for one of my friends. Her birthday is today, so of course I've been procrastinating. She and I learned how to fuse plastic together this summer so I thought something made from that would be a fun present. I started a tote bag with a fabric top and handles with a cute felt flower applique. I didn't have a pattern or anything, I was just making it up. I was so happy and inspired to start making this and it was going really well. I got the bag sewed and the fabric top put on and the applique cut out and then... I burned it. Yep. That's right. I burned it. I wanted to make sure it was super sturdy and I over did it with the iron. When fusing plastic, over heating it doesn't turn it black, it melts it too much and leaves holes. Boo! Now I need to regroup and hopefully I can salvage it. I'll update you...

This is the bad so far. It was going to be really cute....

Here are the yucky holes I made. :(

Monday, August 17, 2009

Heirloom Crochet

These past two weeks have been kind of crazy for two reasons. One: I've made several small thing in rush mode because I needed to get them to people so I didn't even get pictures (some coffee cup sleeves and some tiny ami's for a sweet, sweet baby). Two: I've been spending some time with my family and my in-laws this past week.

Normally when we go on the big summer trip down there I get a ton of crocheting done, but this time we were flat out BUSY! We didn't get to do one big get-together with everyone, so Andy and I went all over to see his brother here and my sister there. I am glad we got to see everyone, but kind of bummed that I didn't get my relaxing craft time.

The last day we were there, my mother-in-law called me into the living room and said she had something for me. Andy's parents are in the process of moving in with his grandmother to help take care of her, so they've been giving out a lot of stuff, but to their children. So I was a little baffled when she wanted to give me something. I was even more so when she pulled out this bag. Andy and his siblings get cool old books and furniture and I get... the trash? Well, actually I was afraid it was a bag of baby clothes for a not-so-subtle hint that we needed to get the show on the road. Luckily it was neither. What is inside the bag is priceless.

It is a crochet project that Andy's (other) grandmother was working on before she died. It is tiny and beautiful and I am honored that they wanted to give it to me. Granted, no one else in the family crochets, but I still feel special. There are at least a hundred of the squares done and a ton of the yarn to do more. I didn't find any directions, but after looking at it for a few minutes, I think I've got it figured out - all except for the center of the square. I have so. many. crochet books that surely it is in one of them. No one was sure what she was making - bedspread, tablecloth, couch cover - so I'm excited that I get to decide! I have never worked on something so fine before, I'll probably have to go buy those teeny tiny hooks because I don't think I have any. Now that school is starting up (this week!! ack!!) I don't know how quickly I'll work, but I'll keep updates going. What an awesome challenge for me!

Look how tiny those stitches are!!

I have to add the fact that I LOVE the macro function on my camera. I mean seriously - click on that picture - you can see the freaking pixels of the fake-o wood on the crappy desk!! Wow!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hero of Craftrule

I was complimented on the t-shirt I was wearing the other day by a Geek Squad agent. If you have read my previous posts, you know my husband is a part-time agent, so being complimented by one of them could be alright, but this was one of the real geeks. The shirt I was wearing said "Hero of Hyrule" on it which, for those of you not into the Nintendo scene, references the kingdom in the video game "The Legend of Zelda." I bought this shirt when I finally beat the "Ocarina of Time" on our N64 a *few* years ago. (I think Andy - I mean "we" - have upgraded three times since then...) It was the first video game I've ever beaten and (for a very not-hardcore gamer like myself) it was hard! I enjoyed the game very much and was proud of myself. I reckon I probably deserve to be complimented by a real geek since wearing the shirt probably makes me pretty geeky myself.
So by now you are probably wondering where I am going with this, since this is supposed to be my craft blog. Today I again feel proud like the Hero of Hyrule - or Craftrule, which is my new kingdom in the office/dining room where I have my station semi-permanently set up on the table. I knocked another item off my list before lunch today. I love having days off. I could really get used to this!
As promised here are some details of the recently completed projects!

Starling Handbag

I posted on the completion of the crochet part of this bag here. Since then, I sewed the liner and added some embellishments to the outside. Overall I am quite pleased with it! It was very fun to make and I can't wait to make more. Watch out - it is probably what everyone is getting for Christmas this year. I wonder if a brown one is manly enough for my dad.... kidding.

The embellishments were a new thing for me. It was the first time I've really tried embroidery and I think it turned out alright. I ended up going around the flower petals because I accidentally ripped off one of the petals on the left flower at the bottom. Can you find it? I felt more secure about the flowers once I did that and I kind of like the way it looks. My embroidery skills are a little clumsy, but I figure the more I do it, the better I'll get! I used these awesome tutorials to make the flowers, bag and liner.

Tooth Fairy Bag

I made this for my 5-year old niece who just lost her first tooth. I wish I had found this cute pattern before she'd lost that one, but I can't wait to show it to her! The tooth on the front is actually a tiny pocket to put the tooth in and the tooth fairy leaves the goods in the bag. Purple is her favorite color - and mine too! :D


I've been wanting to make Andy something for a while, and I am mostly a crocheter, which, let's be honest, isn't super manly. Now that I've taken up more sewing, I have a lot more options for him! Here is where the lanyard idea came from: After an incident of my keys falling off my lanyard while hiking way up on the Blue Ridge Parkway and the following ordeal which involved no cell phone signal, my wallet in my locked truck and hitchhiking - and I'm just scratching the surface there - I decided to chunk that lanyard and get a new one. Then I decided not to buy one, but to make one. No problem, right? Well, actually it was no problem! I made one for myself and one for Andy. Yay crafts for Andy!

Other Crafts!
I also make a set of napkins for my sister. This was my first time trying mitered corners. I am such a novice sewer and its all been self-taught, which works for a lot of things. I feel like I would benefit from some tutoring, but these napkins ended up being alright. The corners were fine, but I am not quite there with pressing my seams evenly enough yet. I don't know if that is something I'm doing altogether wrong, or something that will just get better with more practice.

Lastly, I made a wallet out of the fused plastic that I made on a crafting play date a few weeks ago. It was my first time sewing on plastic and my first time using my zig-zag stitch on my machine - which is way cool!

This is the Summer of New Crafts in Craftrule!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Craft Central!

I have three days in a row off of work this week and I am making the most of them! I saw this post by seaschell which inspired me to make my own list of projects that I want to finish and/or start. I am not quite brave enough to put it on my blog yet, but I will say that there are currently 13 things on it and it continues to grow! Over the last two days I have checked four things off and and I am working hard on two more! Here is a quick run-down of the progress:

1. Finished my first Starling Handbag
2. Sewed together a fused plastic wallet
3. Made new lanyards for myself and my husbang
4. Made a tooth fairy bag for my sweet niece who just lost her first tooth

I will post details of each project in coming posts... stay tuned! :D

Saturday, July 25, 2009

New toy

Hello blogging world. I am here to apologize for ignoring you for the last few weeks. This post is not really about crafting at all, but it will explain why I have been absent. I got a new toy - this lovely MacBook Pro. I am super stoked on this computer. I grew up in a Macintosh household - I think we were the first people in North Carolina to get the Macintosh SE back when it came out in the 80's. I was a music major in college, so of course all of the labs in the music department were Macs and the techs loved me because I was a Mac geek too. Being a geek has its perks sometimes. When I graduated from college and started teaching, my school did not use Macs, it used Windows machines. So after a year of trying to use my Mac at home to do work from school, I got so annoyed that I bought a Dell with Windows. I was very happy with the Windows machine - once I learned how to use it. I've had three others since then and have liked them all. So this time when I was ready for a new computer I said (as I always do when I'm ready for a new computer) 'I wish I could get a Mac.' Well, my husband, who is a part-time Geek Squad agent, went into a long informational session on how I could easily get a Mac and have it work with my PC files from school and how compatible they are now and yada yada yada. If my super-geek husband okays the ease in which I could do it, then I was convinced! I would not call myself a computer geek anymore. At this point I think I would describe myself as 'relatively computer savvy.' I am very proud of myself because I had no problem whatsoever networking the two computers and transferring all my docs, music and pictures to my new machine. My Office docs that were created on the PC machine opened up just fine on the Mac! Hooray!
I am even more happy with this purchase because I got an educator discount for being a teacher and also a free iPod touch! What a deal! So you see, I have been a little preoccupied in the last couple of weeks. Again, I apologize and I will get myself back on track. With my new computer.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Cool giveaway

I found this blog through Wendymoon Designs, one of the other blogs that I read and I am so happy I found it. I adore classic film and Kate Gabrielle's art is wonderful. She is doing a really neat giveaway now (you get to pick your prize!) - but hurry it ends today! Head over to Silents and Talkies to enter.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Starling Handbag

I have been so excited about the Starling Handbag pattern that futuregirl just published on her website! I had to make myself finish my other bag first since I was so close to being done. I started the small sized one in yellow as soon as I finally completed my grey bag. I picked the small size first because I could finish it the fastest! Does everyone else have multiple craft projects going on simultaneously? I have so many things I want to make! I went to visit my friend Amy, who also crochets, last weekend and I started a large sized one in red even before I finished the yellow one.

Well I have finally finished the crocheting part of the yellow bag. I am completely in love with this handbag. Alice is a crochet goddess. I am now starting on the embellishments and liner. I decided to use brown-eyed susans on the outside with stems and leaves in green. The liner will also be green, probably with some funky pockets.

This bag is like a futuregirl tribute bag because I used her pattern, foundation single crochet tutorials, seamless single crochet tutorial, felt-daisy tutorial, and lining tutorials to make this bag. Its almost like she made it for me. I'll be back when I finish the lining!

The door is my favorite part of my house. Its the original from when the house was built in the 1920's. I took the picture here in honor of the Starling Handbag - notice the swell bird on the screen door!

Close-up of the handbag. I still need to embellish and line it.

Here are the brown-eyed susans I cut out with leaves. I need to stitch them on and embroider stems. I have never done that before onto crochet, so we'll see how it goes. Loads of people do it successfully, so surely I'll do alright...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sewing Project!

I recently got the book Bend the Rules Sewing by Amy Karol and I have been itching to make one of the very cute things from it. I thought I would start simple and try the No-Cash-Wallet. Now, I am not an experienced sewer by any measure, so please keep this in mind as you read.

The book has instructions for each project with measurements and, for some, a pattern that you can enlarge on a xerox machine and cut out. I do not have access to a xerox machine, so I was going to try to just use the measurement given with the instructions. I am not sure if it is because of my lack of experience or if I was having a foggy-headed day, but I could NOT get the pattern worked out using only the measurements given in the book. No matter which way I turned it, it just doesn't work. I even measured the small scale pattern in the back and used that math I said in 8th grade that I would never use to figure out what the enlarged measurements would be and it just doesn't work. I consider myself a relatively intelligent person and this made me feel the opposite and very frustrated as well.

So I ended up scanning the pattern picture into my computer, enlarging it with a program and printing it out over several pages, then cutting and taping it together. When I did this, the pattern worked, but I still say the measurements in the book have got to be off.

I made four wallets - one for my sister, my mom, my friend Amy and, of course, for me! I forgot to get pictures of my sister's finished product but, trust me, it was cute. I almost kept that one for myself! :)

*Note - I am still trying to get the image functions of blogger figured out - I feel like it should be more user-friendly. The captions for the pictures are underneath this time*

This is the one I made for my mom. It is a little crooked, but it was the first one. The quarter is a button that I didn't end up using but, for reference, it is the size of an actual quarter.

I picked out these two pieces to go together, but when I got them cut out and next to each other I wasn't as sure about it. Too much going on, I think. I will find something more subtle to match with these and save them for later.

This material is so pretty. I love that I found a positive/negative match. I made Amy's wallet with the white background on the outside and pockets with the brown background as the liner. My wallet is the opposite.

This is the material I used for my sister's wallet. The blue mousies are on the outside and pockets and the pink is the liner. It has teeny tiny white hearts on it. I told you it was cute.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Learning Process

My purse is finally finished! Its not what I thought it would be in my head when I started, but I am very happy with it. I read an inspiring post by futuregirl about the crochet learning process. I have always been nervous about more complex projects because I'm afraid I will spend so much time on something and then be dissapointed. After completing this purse and liner, I have found quite the opposite.

There are things I definitely dislike about how it turned out. I don't know that I will/can use it as a pocketbook - its really better as a tote. It is pretty big. And floppy. The original purse pattern called for a drawstring closure and now I see why. The way the sides are crocheted do not support themselves and droop down when I pick up the bag. It kind of gapes open, which is why the drawstring would be a good call. Also I didn't sew the straps into tubes like the pattern called for. I might still do that. It allows the handles to be very stretchy like it is, but it may end up being too stretchy.

There are things I really like about it, though. I love the color of it and how soft the yarn is. I am very proud of the liner that I sewed for it - my first one! I followed this awesome tutorial to make it and this awesome tutorial to sew it in! I made some neat pockets for it and I think it will be very sturdy. Lastly, it is something that I made from scratch! That in itself is fun.

So you see, I really am not dissapointed at all. I am excited about the things I did right as well as the things that I know I will do better next time. I am all about the learning process. (Thanks, Alice! :D)

magnet snap closure

you can see how it sags with all my stuff in it when I hold it up

zipper pocket - yay!!

cool skull pockets!