Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Basic Sewing

I recently made two basic tank tops.  Not super exciting, I know.  I used an old tank as a guide and created my own pattern.  They aren't perfect, but work well enough.  Now that I've made two I think any future ones I make will turn out even better.  I hate spending $15-$20 on a tank top and now I don't have to, hooray!  As I got my fabric at cheap shop I probably spent $5 for both.  

I did not make these shorts, but I am loving them--too bad they are not my size! I went with a friend to this big baby consignment sale and got them for a few dollars.  I'm filing the cute style under "I'll try to make this for myself, someday" folder.  I will just have to live vicariously through Ellie as she wears them all summer.

I can't get enough of the strawberry buttons.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Quiet Book Peek

Here's a sneak peek at one of the projects I've been working on recently, a modern quiet book.  It's for Ellie's 2nd Birthday.  I'm hoping to get it done weeks before her sister arrives.  For a few weeks I had fun sketching out quiet book ideas I wanted to try.  I have some traditional, but many of the ideas I made up.  For all pages I'm making the patterns up as I go.  Most of the quiet book pages are going to have some cutesy saying on them when completed.

Here's the first page I finished.  You stick your hands through the holes to be the elephants' trunks.  It will say "I love you a ton" (...awe, cute):  

I love this page.  The bees have Velcro backs that you can stick on the flowers or beehive.  It will say something like "bee happy" or "you're the bees knees":

Here's one I've seen a few times online.  The mailbox.  The flag goes up and down and you open and shut the mailbox.  There's also an envelope inside that you can stick notes in.  Predictably this will say "you've got mail" (which is also a super movie):

DIY Hand Soap

I made my own hand soap recently.  It only took a few tries :)  My hands get so dry washing them frequently, despite the "moisturizing" refill soap I had purchased.  I would have to apply lotion constantly.  I used this tutorial.  

My downfall was choice of soap (which actually was pointed out by the tutorial author, I just didn't read closely).  Don't use Dove Sensitive skin--it won't thicken.  I ended up looking for the brand the author suggested--Yardley.  Bonus they had a lemon variety (I love lemon soap).  One batch will make a lot of soap, 10 cups worth.  It can take forever to gel--like a whole day--and then the texture can be a bit funny and you may want to try to beat it (I wish I had a stick blender) to make it more smooth.  Funny texture aside, I love my new soap.  It smells better and is much more moisturizing than the refills I was buying.

I have been loving the mason jar trend for a while now.  I particularly liked the jar turned soap dispenser--what a clever idea.  I could have made it myself (after acquiring some tools and supplies), but bought a fancy lid from Etsy with some of my Christmas money.  I didn't have the right size jar on hand at home so found one for fifty cents at the thrift store.  I think it's super cute in my kitchen.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Usually I'm pretty cheap (if frequenting thrift stores didn't make that obvious).  However, around December and January I sometimes buy fun things for myself.  Getting cash for Christmas and birthdays certainly has it's perks.  Isn't Etsy so much more exciting when you aren't window shopping?

Anyway, here is my newest friend.  I couldn't resist.  I love qwarky kitschy things.  Also I love ducks.  And it was like $8, which is pretty cheap for Etsy.

Upon receiving my duck scissor holder I recovered the little pin cushion.  The other fabric was drab.  I think the polka dots are much more fun.  Here's a look at the inside:

The only bummer is all those pegs are just a tiny bit too big to hold my bobbins.  Drat.  That's okay.  I'm still storing the bobbins in there anyway, it would have just looked neater had they fit on the pegs. 

I've been humming around doing small projects here and there.  Realizing you only have 3-ish months left of craft time can do that to a person.  Infant + toddler = craft hiatus... at least until I figure out how to get them on a similar schedule.  

One such small project was I finally recovered my old mouse pad.  I've seen a few tutorials around, but I just used heat'n'bond on fabric cut out to be bigger than the mouse pad and then used a rotary cutter to trim it all nice and neat.  I thought it might be bad ironing directly onto the mouse pad, but nothing was hurt in the process.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


For many years each January I've written down a list of resolutions.  Frankly it was more of a wish list.  A few months ago I saw a neat-o idea about having a goal word for the year instead.  I'm totally adopting that.  This year my goal is "simplify".  With a new baby coming soon I think it's fitting.  

First project with my new goal is slowly working through my home and donating things that I don't need or use.  I have a closet full of things that are good but I don't wear for one reason or another.  Ideally I want my closet to only have pieces I love and wear often... hopefully full of pieces I make!  Or from other talented people (ps Marsha, I love my scarf.  I noticed the lovely hand stitching even before Gavin and Lesa mentioned it).  

Last night I finished a new top.  At first I felt a little like a jail bird (thick horizontal stripes), but I'm liking it more--it's hard not to as it's really comfortable.  I used this tutorial.  

It went together very smoothly when you ignore the fact I snipped through the fabric when trimming the neckline (thank you heat'n'bond for saving the day).  I think if I make another (sans stripes) I will make it a few inches longer.  My bump is taking up more space these days.