Sunday, June 28, 2009

road trip pillow cases

When we were young, my mom made us all these cool pillow cases for our family summer vacation. They had a pocket for our coloring books and a handle so that we could carry them in to the hotels. If I remember right, the fabric had multi colored cars on it. And, what I remember the most is that I loved mine. I kept all my favorite coloring books and crayons in that pocket. She made them for our big road trip that we took in our yellow Volkswagon Vanagon up the coast of California, Oregon, Washington, and then on to Utah. On the way home from Utah, the Vanagon blew up (not literally, but it really did die on the side of the highway) in Las Vegas. So, we (and I think there were about 6 kids...or was it 5 then?) flew home from Las Vegas to San Diego. It was quite the adventure. Okay, but what I am getting at is the love of the pillow case. I wanted to make something similar for our friends who are moving across the country this summer and fill the pockets with special gifts for each child. I couldn't remember mine exactly so I came up with this simple one. And, I made some directions so you can try them out. Of course, I am not sure if they are extremely clear, so let me know. What I do know is that this is an easy project. I am always attracted to the projects that can be finished in a few hours or at least in one day. Great for the beginner sewer and for those, like me, who want to finish something quickly.

*Download the directions here!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

molly's apron

I have so much fun when my kids get invited to a little girl's birthday party.  I know that the little girls like the princesses and Barbies, so I don't want to disappoint, but I am convinced that they will get plenty of those from the other party goers.  I tend to sew something and I know it won't be the hit, but maybe when things have died down a bit, they will like the apron or the doll that has been made for them.  I am hoping! Both of my youngest children (a 4 year old boy and a 2 year old girl) were invited to their friend Molly's birthday party (thank you Molly's mom) so I fancied up an pre purchased apron for her.  It's just applique gone wild with a ruffle on the bottom.  We filled the pockets with a whisk and dishtowel (perhaps for playing restaurant) and also put a little red headed clothespin doll in there since our dear Molly is one of the cutest red heads ever.  

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

the lazy, yet crazy days of summer

It's a combination of having nothing much planned yet feeling totally busy.  That's what summer always feels like to me.  I think just having everyone home makes it slightly chaotic mixed with playing the day out by ear.  Kind of fun.  So, with those types of days passing, not much sewing is taking place.  Oh, there's a little when I can escape upstairs, but it's awfully hot upstairs (my sewing room is the bonus room above the garage) and I tend to stay downstairs with the kids and where it's cool. My kids have awesome friends who have invited them to their pools and to the local amusement park.  I hope to be one of the parents that does more inviting when the baby gets a bit older.   Yes, I am aware that she is two and probably not a baby anymore, but because she is (probably) the last, I tend to think of her as a babe.  

I got this book in the mail last week and I am so excited to try many of these printing projects out.  It's Lena Corwin's Printing By Hand.  Have any of you seen this book and if so, have you tried anything? I just threw it in my cart at Amazon trying to reach a total of above $25 for the free shipping and thought it looked great. Thumbing through it made me just giddy, so I'll add it to my fun to do list.   Hope you all are enjoying your summer days!

Friday, June 19, 2009

bucket gardening

We have this huge space on the side of our back yard set aside as our garden area. And, we used to be so great at getting it tilled and seeds planted with a bit of everything, but especially many varieties of tomatoes.  Since last year we just didn't get it in, we were determined to get it in this year, but ran out of time again.  So, I got on the internet to find a way to get our tomatoes going and going quickly.  I read about bucket gardening and we gave this a shot.  We have 9 buckets with holes drilled out the sides and bottoms the size of a quarter.  We put our tomatoes plants in and surrounded the roots inside with spanish moss. Then, we filled the buckets up with Miracle Grow Soil and hung them on our fence.  So far the first one we got going (about a week before the others) is taking off great and even has baby green tomatoes on it.  I am excited to see if this will really work.  I had a lady tell me you can order cucumbers on the internet that are to be grown in buckets and pots.  I wish we would have planted other vegetables, but I am happy that my tomatoes will be here soon so I can make caprese salad.   One of the buckets has little cherry tomatoes coming out the bottom and I thought it would be like a little tomato vending machine for my 4 year old who loves them.  Now, I just have to watch their progress.  

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I thought I would direct you to a few cool things that I have seen out in the world of blogs since the things I am making aren't quite done and need to be under wraps for a bit.  That sounds like I am on a secret craft mission, but that isn't the case...just have to wait to give the gift before I do some show and tell. Also, all the birthdays are winding down around here.  Still have Father's Day and a few more brother/nephew birthdays which are all so much harder to craft for.  Sorry boys.  For Father's Day this year it is just a nice sentimental card.

Okay let the tour directing begin (you know I did study that in college...really!)  

1 - Showing much bias, here is my mom's blog where she has made up a pattern (but yet to reveal) for the Darcy bag.  So cute and I love all the pockets.  Go leave her a comment telling her you want the pattern for it!  

2 - Kristen at fiddlehead has an adorable pattern for a little girls top that she created by looking at one of her daughter's gymboree shirts.  Check out the side bar for the downloadable pdf.   And, she has another girl's top that she has created for her daughter that is just as cute using one of her own patterns as well.  

3 - Rea at Made By Rea has made one of the cutest yet quickest bags called the Lickity Split Bag which is even reversible.  She is asking whether you would spend a little money to get the pattern. Go see it and comment "that of course you would." 

4 - Check out the martha stewart craft of the day from yesterday - the petit collages.  So cute and the best thing is that she provides the templates for these animals and what great appliques they would make.  

Okay, that was a short tour, but it was all about quality not quantity for this one.  On a non related note - I am addicted to the breyers carb smart almond bars, I got some new pj patterns last night, more fabric for the shirt, but now I think I want it for a skirt, and tonight I am going to this if you can believe. 

Monday, June 15, 2009


Thanks for all your suggestions on my last post.  I think I am grasping how I am going to do it.  I am going to make the sleeve a bit longer and in a triangle shape that has elastic at the cuff and make the shirt fuller. Now I need to find a minute to make it to the fabric store since I don't have any flowy fabric on hand.  That might be a big job with all the kids home from school, but I am determined.

photo from mani mini on etsy

I ordered this pattern the other day from Mani Mini Studio on etsy.  I just bought some coral color linen from denver fabrics that I think (I always think) will work great with this pattern. Check out her other beautiful patterns and clothes.  

Saturday, June 13, 2009

not quite

I saw this fantastic shirt in Domino magazine and ripped it out intending to try to make something like it with or without a pattern.  Finally yesterday I attempted it without an exact pattern, so I pulled out the most similar pattern I had - this Built By Wendy- that I tried a few times last summer.  The shirt I made is out of black and white striped shirting fabric.  I think this shirt has potential. I am trying to figure out how to make it what I want.  I wore it today and I think I like it enough to wear it, but I am always a bit self conscious wearing something I have made.  So, it might be back to the drawing board to see what else I can come up with. 

Here's what I did -

  • widened the shirt half way to the bottom
  • enlarged and lengthened the sleeves
  • took out the back seam and cut it on the fold instead
  • lowered the neckline - oh la la
  • added elastic to the waistband

Here's what I want to change or am unsure about-

  • more flow to the sleeves and maybe a bit longer - not quite as much as the one in the Domino mag photo though
  • not sure I like the elastic in the bottom of the waistband.  don't want to be bunchy in the waist!

So please let me know of any ideas or suggestions you might have.   It might just be that I need to buy a pattern a bit more similar to the top, but I just get over excited that I can do it without and when I don't get the results I want, I get a bit (just a bit) frustrated!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

more lounge pants

I. could. live. in. these. seriously.  But, I am sure my husband wouldn't be too thrilled. They probably aren't the most flattering, but they are the most comfortable.  And, in this stage of my mom life, comfort usually out weighs the flattering stuff!  I made them cropped like the last pair from an old stripey sheet and added the cuff to gussy them up.  

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

jams in action

If I had taken a photo of me everyday since I have made my lounge pants, I would be wearing them in every photo.  I have already laid out another sheet to cut up for a second pair since I have found these to be like the best pants ever. Perfect length, perfect fit.  

Here is Mallory in all her "just awake" glory - wrinkled and hair in a big stringy mess! The pjs are perfect and now I am thinking the extra effort was worth it.  I did find 2 more baby doll pj patterns that I will try out before I go back to this one, but I do love seeing her in them.  

Saturday, June 6, 2009

new jams for both of us

I get excited when I see that my girl actually has a need for something I can sew.  She has only one pair of short style pjs and with it getting hotter and more humid, she needed some more.  I had a pattern for baby doll jams and thought those would be perfect.  These ones were a bit more intricate than I want for pjs.  It's a Simplicity Easy To Sew (9968), which it was if you followed the directions slowly, but I want to find something a bit more simple for the next ones. Still love them though. But, if you know of a simpler baby doll pattern let me know.  I made them out of a sheet I had used for another project.  I found the lace at the Goodwill and didn't have elastic cord for the back button, so cut up a pony tail holder. I love figuring out how much things cost me to make.  I am that cheap.  I think these were about $2 because I got the elastic for the waistband from another pair of pjs that got cut up.   Oh, and the applique is from Windham Fabric's paper dolls line.  I got the idea to use these as appliques from Dana at Made

When I finished her set, then I moved on to a pair of pj bottoms I had cut out of a sheet and was ready to sew around Christmas.  Since it's now summer and not winter when I had planned to make them, I cut 13 inches off the length and added a 4 inch band to the cuff- making them calf length (about 9 inches shorter).  These are the wide leg lounge pants from Amy Butler's In Stitches book.  Very comfortable.  


Friday, June 5, 2009

green produce

Or orange...or yellow...or red produce.  Whichever color you want to put in these reusable produce bags!  Check out these great reusable produce bags from The Sproutz Store.  I really don't like using the plastic bags for the produce because when I get home I tend to throw most of them away when I wash my food.  So, I am going to make these ones out of tulle and think it's a genius idea.   Photos from The Sproutz Store. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

just a few things

-Thanks for your kind words about the nautical banner.  It really was fun to make.  A few of you asked about where I get my applique patterns.  I draw a few myself, but if I can't come up with something cute, I rely on a few other sources - clip art, books with baby crafts/gifts like this one, and good ol' martha where you can find these, these, these, to work with.  Oh, and here, here, here, and here as well!

-I have a really good friend who has been so generous with her awesome talent for bow making. She has made tons of bow for my daughter and for everyone at church.  Because of her, our girls look prettier.  She is moving in less than two weeks and we are all trying to scramble to learn the art of bow making with several hands on sessions at her house.  I think she is the pro, but with the pro gone we all have to step up and attempt.  Kristi, these are for you - my first generation bows as you would say.  I attempted last night and yes, they need a ton of work, but with practice, maybe I can make them 1/2 as well as you do.  One more thing - she won't take $ for her bows - just gives them all away. Amazing, that girl!

-We have been without my car for over a week because the transmission went out when my husband was driving it to Boy Scout camp for a meeting.  I was so glad that it wasn't me and the kids on the side of the freeway and so was he.  It makes me appreciate that second car.  I have had so many friends offer to get me food when they go to the grocery store and offer to take me there or anywhere else I want to go.  We are getting it fixed and still deciding if it is will be our lifetime car or if it is time for a change.  This is its second transmission in less than two years.  So, as we mull it over, I have spent more time at home which allows for more time to craft.  A nice break, but a bit hard when there are tons of end of the year school activities going on that I need to be at.   It has all been working out.