Friday, December 2, 2011

Feelin' quilty

I have never really been a quilt kind of person. I mean I love quilts, but I never had any interest in making them. I've done a few very simple 9-patches but that is about it.
At a recent family garage sale, I found 11 Sonic t-shirts that had once belonged to my SIL Megan. Some were splattered with grease spots but that is inevitable when you work at a fast food restaurant. As soon as I saw them I just HAD to make a t-shirt quilt, even though I really had no idea what I was doing. So I snatched them up, brought them home, washed them very well, and started researching.
I wound up cutting the shirts into 11.5" squares, front and back. That only gave me 22 squares and I just knew that wasn't gonna be big enough. So, I grabbed all the sleeves, and cut 4.5" squares out of those. Then I used the bottom of the shirts too, cutting the same size squares. The only part of the shirt that didn't get used were the hems and collars.
I just happened to have 2.5 yards of black broadcloth on hand so I used that for the sashing. I was so afraid that this quilt would be too small that I think I made it too big! It is close to queen size.

 I knew that since the front was so colorful, I wanted black and white for the back and binding. I had the crazy wavy fabric on hand but had to buy the dot fabric. In the end, all I had to buy was the dots and the batting.
I did a very simple quilting stitch along both sides of each column and row. I wanted to do much more but, quite frankly, after a few rows I just wanted to be done, and moving that much quilt through my machine was killing me!
 I mis-cut this particular shirt and had an extra 9-patch left over so I made quick and easy pillows. The binding here is the same as on the quilt.

All in all, I am in love with this quilt and am so glad I did it. I cannot wait to give it to Megan and her husband, Andy. They met while working at Sonic and I thought this would be a great thing to have. Shoot, I would kill for a Pizza Hut quilt!

Another year, another "Holy Crap!" moment

Well, first I want to start with a Starry Night update. I have been able to accomplish quite a bit on this particular project. It is slow going at best, and I am sure I am not doing it the right way but I still like it. I get bored easily at times, so I try and work in just one color for a bit, then switch to another. With this pattern there is a lot of black- a lot - so it is difficult to just keep going at times but will certainly be worth it in the end.

For Christmas this year I have once again given myselt way too much to do. Not that I regret it at all. In fact, I love to do this stuff and if I could find a way to make money making this stuff I would certainly do so. Anyway, my SIL Jennifer specifically requested new makeup bags for Christmas. She loved a bag I had made for her before, but it wasn't big enough for all her makeup, and she wanted one to put her hair supplies in (hair dryer, curling iron, etc..). So I found the same pattern online (here), enlarged it a bunch and made her three new bags. She likes purple and I fell in love with this fabric and color combo so I really hope she likes it!

 I even made my own tags!

I decided to do the same thing for my other 3 SILs also. Megan is a big polka dots kinda gal so when I saw this fabric I had to have it.

 Look, another tag! I can't decide which one I like better.

For Julie, I wanted something dfferent. I kinda took a gamble on this color combo, but I think she will like it. As for the pattern, it is just a mish mash of online tutorials I found. Unfortunantly, they are pretty floppy. In fact, I had to stuff them with books to make them look pretty for these pics.

That just leaves one set of bags to go. I made some for Michelle but after making all of these I am no longer happy with them, so I will remake them.
And I am still not done with gifts!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Starry Night

I like to do a lot of crafts. I love to sew. Sometimes I catch the crochet bug. Occasionally I bake. The craft I've like to do the longest, however, is cross stitch. David got me into cross stitching, believe it or not. Back when we were first dating and he would actually go to Hobby Lobby with me, he convinced me to buy a cross stitch kit that was on the clearance sidewalk sale. I needed something to do on the drive to South Padre and he said he would help me with it. I never did finish that project but I did develop a fascination. Suddenly all I wanted to do was look at patterns and buy floss. I made a blanket for my nephew, a framed name for my friend's birthday, and I started a blanket for my first niece. I'm telling you, I was obsessed for a while.
Something else I've always loved- van Gogh paintings. Now I know I am not the only one here. My favorite one of all time is Starry Night. I did a copy of it in art senior year. We had to use construction paper in a unique way to reproduce a painting. First time I got an A I think, lol.
About a year ago I was looking online for free cross stitch patterns. I may love to do it but I do not love to pay for the patterns! I found this site. She not only has Starry Night but also Fourteen Sunflowers, another awesome van Gogh painting. In fact I tried to do that one once, I think I got two pages in and then all I could see was yellow, and I had to stop, lol. So, I decided I would have a go at Starry Night. As much as I love this painting, I figured I would really keep with it better. And I did. I managed to complete an entire page, and a good portion of the main black tree thing. I was going along at a great pace. Soccer practice makes for a great time for stitching. I did goof and got the wrong size canvas. Actually, I was so anxious to start that I just grabbed the canvas I had on hand, 11 count aida I think. I realized that it wouldn't be big enough but figured I could just add more canvas as needed.
After roughly 3 months of working on it, this is how far I got. Looking pretty good, right? You can see at the bottom that I was going to have to add some height to it. That was the bottom of row two and there are 3 rows. But that wasn't going to be a problem. I was quite happy with it all.
 Then, I left it out on my chair one day. Generally I fold it back up, put it back in the Ziploc baggie with the pattern, and put it in my purse. But that day I didn't. You see, my dog Max seems to be going through a phase right now. Even though he hasn't been a teething puppy for some time, he wants to chew on everything. He was a perfect dog for months. I never had to worry about him chewing on anything. I could leave my best shoes out and he wouldn't touch them. Then, Sadie had the puppies. Don't worry, I'll post about them later. All of a sudden, nothing is safe around here, and we don't even have the puppies anymore. Anyway, back to the stitching. I came home that day and had a heart attack. You see, Max had a craving that day. A craving for floss, paper, plastic, and aida cloth. Not only did he chew a few holes in my canvas, he ate the pattern, he ate the floss that was in the baggie, and he somehow got ahold of the organizer box that some of my floss was in, and chewed a hole through it and the floss inside. To say I was mad is an understatement. I was as mad at myself as I was at Max though. I knew better but thought it'd be ok. I was only going to be gone for a little bit, after all. Ha!

Can you see the hole?
At first I thought I could work with it. I figured I would just lay another piece of cloth under it and stitch it all together. But no, that didn't work. Not to mention, I no longer had a pattern. I had to reprint it, and therefore remark it all. I got so frustrated that I took a picture and then chucked it. And then, I started over again. I've done a few things differently this time. First off, I made grid lines. Or, I marked where each page is, with the dotted lines marking every ten stitches, just like the pattern. 

About 2 weeks in.

This is going to take me forever. As you can see, I made the same mistake here that I did last time. Only, I will have to add length instead of height. That I can do though. These pictures were taken almost a month ago, so I've gotten much more done since then, but it is still a process.

Carnival Time!

Ok, so maybe I'm a few months behind in posting this, but better late than never right? My kids birthdays are one month and one day apart so I have been throwing one joint party for them for the last few years. It was hard this year as they each wanted their own party so this'll probably be the last. I had to think long and hard for this one and finally came up with a carnival theme. They were letting me do one party so I figured I better make it worth their time.
For the invitations I used a template I found online (can't remember where, sorry!) and just filled out the inportant stuff. I needed about 80 of these so I had to find a DIY way to do these. I was able to fit about 8 per page and used cardstock so that they would be more durable.

I knew I wanted to have various games for the kids to play, so I chose a bean bag toss, a ball toss, and a pick-a-ducky game. David sprained his ankle really badly in May so my budget for the party was severely limited and I wound up making most of the games myself. I already had a bucket for the ducks, so I just bought rubber duckies at the Dollar Tree and colored the bottoms different colors for different prizes. For the ball toss, I used a package of plastic cups and a bag of small plastic balls, about the size of golf balls. I had some scrap wood on hand and had David cut one down to a rectangle for me. After I painted it white I just hot glued the cups to the board. I layed it flat at the end of a long table and had the kids stand at the other end to throw the balls.
The only game I have a picture of is the bean bag toss. I just happened to have a square board on hand, about 4'x4'. My dad cut out 5 holes for me, added a stand on the back, and painted it white. Once I got it I just painted a large star on it. You can tell that I am not meant to be an artist, lol!

For prizes, I did spend a bit of money, but I knew I had to have a lot of prizes or I would be in trouble! I wound up in the dollar aisle at Michaels and found quite a few things for the kids to color and make. Then I got a few party favors at the Dollar Tree, you know, stuff like noise makers and small toys. Pinata stuff really. That still wasn't enough, so I tried my hand at making play dough, which was super easy!! I think I just Goolgled play dough recipe and found so many options. I think I wound up making two large batches and that got me something like 20 bags of play dough. I tried to do bright colors and I used glitter in about half of it. I got absolutely no pictures of the whole prize/candy table and I am so mad at myself for that.

I decided to do a red/yellow/blue color theme for everything. I bought several 8x10 frames at the Dollar Treen (love that place!) and painted them all with a different design, then used them as my table signs. I used a circus font and my program and made signs for everything. One for the goody bag table, one for the food table, and one for the prize table. I then used card stock and, using the same color/font combo mde signs to tape to the games. Again this is the only pic I took.

I also made sucker stars. If ever I could really kick myself for not taking a picture! At least you can see them without the suckers in them. Just picture them with suckers stuck every which way in the tops. I used dum dums and blow pops, about 100 of them! These were on the candy table. I wound up buying about 18 bags of cotton candy, and split those up into something like 40 bags. I used plastic cups and filled them with smarties, jaw breakers, and strawberry candies.


I bought a bunch of brown paper sacks for kids to use for goody bags and to keep their prizes in. I even went so far as to buy stickers and markers so that they could decorate them. Then I realized that some of the prizes wouldn't fit in those bags, so I did some stash busting and made the goody bags instead. I think I made about 30 all together.

I used the brown paper sacks for popcorn instead. We popped about 10 bags of popcorn and split each one into two bags so that everyone could have a snack. We did simple hot dogs, hamburgers and chips for the food, which worked really well. Then there was the cake. Cake is the most important part of the whole party and I really wanted it to be awesome. I did tons of searching, trying to find a cool themed cake that I could do. I found a few hot dog cakes, a few hamburgers, and a few popcorn cakes. I settled on a popcorn cake and got to work. I made a red/blue/yellow cake. I just used a white cake mix, spilt it into three, colored each bowl, then poured it all together to bake. It came out really neat. I found a recipe online somewhere for marshmallow fondant and thought I would give that a try. I am by no means a cake decorator and wanted something reletively easy. While this was indeed easy, it was really hard to color. We must have added an entire bottle of red food coloring, kneaded for about an hour, and all we got was this pink color. Not the best but the kids absolutely loved it and it did taste great!

Then, the best for last. I wanted to do a photo booth for the party. I can't even tell you how much searching I did online for how to do this. I couldn't figure out a way to allow everyone to take their own pictures. I only have one camera and I wanted to have it on me at all times, so everyone just took their own. I would stop for a few minutes and snag a few kids. My sister-in-law is a great photographer so she would man it most of the time. I found some chalkboard stickers at Michaels on clearance and stocked up. I wound up sticking them to foam board and then cutting them out with my Xacto knife. After hot gluing posicle sticks to the backs I had about 20 signs for people to write on. I bought a few pairs of funny glasses, printed out some glasses and mustaches and lips, glued to sticks, and instantly had props. For the booth itself, I have my dad to thank. He works for a carpet cleaning/fire restoration business and once upon a time they did mold restoration. They would have to set up a little containment area to change into their special suits before going under the houses. Back then my husband worked for them and, since he is 6'4", they had to make it extra tall. It was a simple PVC frame, not exceptionally big, but just the right size for a photo booth. I bought a twin sized sheet at Walmart for $2 and a queen sized sheet at Value Village for $2, opened up the top hems, and threaded the top pipes through to make the sides of the booth. The kids and adults had lots of fun posing and being silly.

Me (in blue) and my SILs

Two of my nieces

Amelia and her best friend

This was by far the best party I've ever thrown and I am slightly bummed that we probably won't do one again. We all had so much fun and, while I have no pictures of all the things I made, I do have tons of pictures of everyone there, and they all have smiles in them.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

All snuggled and oh so sweet

Well, my newest nephew was born on April 12, weighing in at 10 pounds even and measuring 22.5 inches! I couldn't believe it! And, of course, he is the sweetest baby I have ever seen! I was able to drop by last week to visit and had the chance to snuggle him in the coccoon I made him. I just HAD to! He fits perfectly and still has some room to grow in it. Too bad he is a spring/summer baby. Truth be told, I wasn't thinking that far ahead when I decided to make it. He got really warm, really fast in it but he just looked so sweet that I had to take a picture.
Have you ever spent time making something from scratch for someone else? Spent time finding just the right materials in just the right colors. Spent blood sweat and sometimes tears making this gift just right? Then find that very gift a few months later in the bottom of that persons closet, in the dog house, or worse- peeking out of the trash?? This has happened to me a time or two. Thankfully, Megan is not that person. When I went over the burp towels were out and obviously being used. The puppy dog blanket was folded in his bassinet. Then she showed me the hospital pictures and there was my dinosaur onesie!! I'm not sure about anyone else but when my first baby was born I painstakingly went through all her cutest outfits to find just the right one for her to wear for her first picture. And to see my onesie on Nathan in his first picture filled me up with joy! Silly, I know, but it did. I can tell you now that whatever Megan wants me to make her, I will do it with a smile. Please, if anyone actually reads this blog, let me know what you think and if this has ever happened to you. I'm just curious to hear someone elses horror story. Or even the good ones!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

T-shirt Dress

I found three of these shirts for 50 cents in February and snagged them with shirt dresses in mind. This is what I came up with. I bought a yard each of two different green fabrics, matching each green as closely as I could with the shirts, and Voila! Tshirt dresses for Mil and two of her cousins! 

Gifts for Baby Nathan

For my sister-in-laws baby shower I wanted to go all out and I definantly did that. Hehe! I found an awesome tutorial at Made and I just had to try it. Not only was it easy but it turned out so cute that I wanted to keep it! I found this really cute dinosaur fabric in the remnants bin at Walmart and mixed it with blue, brown, and orange for the layers.

Before I washed it.
Just after the first wash and dry.
All done!

This was the first time I had ever used a satin blanket binding and while doable it was not as easy as everybody makes it seem.

In fact, I had so much fun making this one that I just had to do it again! Another trip to the remnants bin and I found this puppy dog fabric, perfect for a little boy! This time I paired it with red, brown, and blue and I made it bigger. I used brown courduroy for the binding.

 To finish off the gift I grouped everything together in sets. For the dino set I made the blanket, an appliqued onesie, two burp towels, and a pair of booties made from a Simplicity pattern. I had forgotten just how small booties were!

I didn't have nearly as much puppy fabric so I settled with just the blanket, booties, and onesie.

I put everything together in a green bucket and wrapped it in clear wrapping paper. 

Meg got lots of super cute stuff at her shower but these things were oohhhd and aaahhhd over the most! While not my intention, it did feel pretty good.

A coccoon for my newest nephew

My sister in law is pregnant with my next nephew and I just had to make a coccoon for him. In fact, she is in labor right now and I'll be able to meet him really soon! Yay!! Anyway, I did a lot of searching for free patterns that I didn't get bored with easily. Hard to do when you're making something in the round. I stumbled upon Suzies Stuff, a blog with ssssoooo many great patterns that I quickly found myself making a to-crochet list. I used her Wavy Sleep Sack and Cap pattern and boredom was never an issue. I did change it up a bit by crocheting in the back loop of the first round of each color. I wanted the sack to have a bit of texture, as well as a definite right and wrong side. This worked out way better than I ever dreamed it would and I can't wait to see him snuggled in it!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Peppermint Bark Popcorn

Umm, yum!
My husband has asked that I do more "home-made" cooking and in searching for recipes that I can do I found this incredible recipe for peppermint bark popcorn. Her pictures just make this look sssooo good that I couldn't help myself. As we are on day two of no school due to snow and ice (it's 12 degrees here in Texas!) I really needed something to do with the kids. This is really very simple to make. It took us about 30 minutes in all. 

I baby sit for my cousin so I had to make half size batches so that the kids could stir it up themselves. Amelia really loves Hunter and is a multi tasker.  
 Thomas liked doing the stirring but he kept flinging popcorn so his stirring didn't last long.
 I finished stirring for both kids but really they were able to do a decent job of it themselves.

I decided last minute at the store to get the extra-wide foil and I am glad I did. Two bags of popcorn fit perfectly.
 Thomas did the drizzling of the chocolate. It didn't really melt as well as I wanted it to- hence the large chocolate sections, but it all worked out. I wasn't sure I wanted to use the chocolate chips but I am really glad I did. Shoot, I'm half tempted to melt the rest of the bag and pour it all on there cause it tastes soo good! Hehe.

This is definantly something I want to make again and again. Maybe for Valentines day treats to give at school.I can certainly see it all wrapped up in a pretty cellophane goody bag with a pretty ribbon and handmade valentine. Am I going too far here?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Square Skirts

When I was a kid my Aunt Sue would make twirly skirts for my sister and me. We loved to spin over and over again when we were wearing those. While at Hancocks a few weeks ago I saw they had their 2 and 3 inch elastic on clearance for 60% off. Elastic isn't horribly expensive when bought off the roll but at 50 cents a yard I couldn't walk away. Seeing it took me back to the good old days and those twirly skirts because it was the same elastic as the waist on those skirts. I bought several yards and then put it up and forgot it- like usual. At Christmas, when I saw my Aunt Sue, I asked her how those were made. The answer- she cut a circle out of fabric and sewed the elastic to the waistline. That's it. All I could think was- Duh! I've seen circle skirt tutorials and it never dawned on me that they were the same thing.

Well, last week I dug out the elastic and got to work. Since I hate to hem curved lines I decided to use the same idea with a square instead. Super simple and fun to make. The only hard part is getting a square of fabric and cutting the circle in the middle for the waist.

I had extra fabric from the middle of the skirts so I decided to cut out some appliques to make matching shirts for the girls. Since there is animal print on the fabric I used some zebra fabric also. Turned out pretty cute, I think.

 I wanted to try a layered skirt too so I used some black fabric and made more of a rectangle skirt. I turned the fabric so that there were 8 points. I dont really like the way it hangs on Amelia. I'm thinking I should have made the black a square also but oh well. She really likes it and it does get really good twirl action.