Friday, December 31, 2010

Sweater to Pillow

 I have been wanting a knit pillow for a few years now but until recently couldn't find a way to make it happen. I considered doing the knitting myself for about a millisecond but thankfully came to my senses. I am not a knitter. I'm just not patient enough and I wanted it to have a cool design, so that was out. Then I looked into buying one but those suckers are expensive. I've been really into thrifting lately and started thinking that maybe I could buy a sweater and turn it into a pillow cover. 

For the last few weeks every time I go to the thrift store I do a quick look for a sweater that could work. Well, persistence paid off and I found the perfect one. It was soft, perfectly sized and fairly new looking. All I had to do was cut off the sleeves and neck and sew up the openings. Easy as pie. Since it was perfectly fitted to my pillow form I didn't have to adjust the size at all. I hand stitched the bottom closed but I'm considering adding cool wooden buttons as closures. I found some vintage ones at the thrift store. If I do, I'll be sure to share it with you.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Todd & Veronica

 My little boy has been really into imagination play lately. He has been pretending to be other people such as Santa Claus and people from his nursery class. I thought it would be fun for him to have a few little dolls to channel his imagination.
 I loosely used Emily Martin's Black Apple doll pattern that I found on Martha Stewart. The pattern says to increase it by 150% but I liked the idea of a smaller doll so I used the pattern as is. It made it a little hard to turn the legs but otherwise was great. Now they are about a foot tall. Perfect for little two year old hands to move around. He is getting them for Christmas, so I don't know if he likes them but I sure hope so.
My husband named them Todd and Veronica. I think the guy really does look like a Todd and I think Veronica is adorable.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Match Game

 This is another Christmas gift for my son. My friend Liz bought a bunch of 2inch square wooden tiles to make a match game for her son and invited a few friends to join her. I am so glad she did. I love the way they turned out and I can't wait to play it with my son. I used a vintage car paper for the back. I love it and wish I could have found better pictures for the front. I have more blank wooden tiles so I may still experiment and see if I can make cuter pictures to match. I don't think my little boy will care at all.
 To make the fronts I used a solid colored paper and stamped images in black. I then colored a few of them in but they are still mostly black. They are fun images of things my son is into.
I sewed a quick little bag to hold the tiles. I love the blue corduroy exterior and the fun dot interior. It fits the tiles with a little room to spare so hopefully my little boy can get the tiles in and out by himself.  

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Teacup Corset Apron

 When I moved in July I decided I didn't want to bring anything I didn't absolutely LOVE. I had a few aprons that were functional but not really much to look at. I've always wanted an awesome apron but couldn't bring myself to spend $40 to get one when I could get a dress for about that much. So, I set out to make the most adorable apron I could find. The Teacup Corset Apron from Meg McElwee's Sew Liberated. I love this book and although I have quite a few sewing books this is one of my favorites. I've made quite a few projects from the book and still have a lot more that I want to do.
 I used Michael Miller's Ellie Amber fabric for the skirt, his Emmaline Teal for the bodice, skirt ruffle and ties and his Ta Dot Teal for the bodice ruffle, ties and skirt accent.
I am so happy I finally have an adorable apron that makes me want to get in the kitchen and make something yummy!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Advent Activities

Here is our list of advent activities:

  • Go see the animals at the zoo.
  • Drink hot chocolate and read The Night before Christmas.
  • Learn Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer.
  • Bake sugar cookies together.
  • Read the Christmas story from the scriptures. 
  • Make paper snowflakes.
  • Drop off gifts to the neighbors.
  • Wrap presents. 
  • Red or Green night. Serve food in these colors and decorate the table in red or green. 
  • Watch Frosty the Snowman. 
  • Eat breakfast for dinner (snowman pancakes) with hot cocoa. 
  • Attend the ward Christmas party. 
  • Visit the National Christmas tree. 
  • Go to the DC temple Festival of Lights. 
  • Watch Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. 
  • December 22: first day of Winter. Learn about Winter. 
  • Happy Birthday Baby Jesus. Jason's family growing up did this and I love it. It is generally on the 23rd and you have your special Christmas dinner and birthday cake for Jesus. Sing Happy Birthday. It is really great to remind everyone of the real purpose of Christmas. 
  • Drive around and look at Christmas lights. 
  • Act out a live nativity. 
  • Go Christmas shopping for Daddy.
  • Make a gingerbread house. 
  • Go to Daddy's work Christmas party. 
  • Go to the Botanic Garden to see the train exhibit. 
  • Go to the library and get books about Christmas.
I didn't number mine because I wanted the flexibility to choose the activity the night before. So each night before I go to bed I put a slip of paper in the envelope for tomorrow. It is nice I don't have to plan 24 days in advance.  Hopefully this is helpful for your advent activity list!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Advent Calendar

 This is by far one of the best advent calendars I've seen. It is 24 envelopes clothes pinned to twine. The twine is hot glued to two wooden disks. The smaller disk is held to the wall with Command strips. I love love it.
 Every day we open an envelope to reveal an activity for the day. We've done things like make sugar cookies, visit Santa, make snowflakes and other awesome activities. I can get you our full list if anyone is interested.
We got the idea from Design*Sponge. You can use this PDF to print off numbers of your own. I printed mine on sticker paper, which made it easy to cut them out and adhere them to the envelopes.

I'm considering painting the clothes pins for next year. I think aqua would be cool but may just stick with white.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mad Men Sew-Along with Presser Foot

One of my favorite sewing blogs, Presser Foot is hosting a sew-along with a Mad Men theme. There are about 25 people participating and I"m excited to see what they come up with!

The pattern is New Look 6968 which I just bought at JoAnn's today for $3.99. Not bad really. I've never made a New Look pattern but I'm so excited to have my first attempt as a sew-along. Here are some examples of the dresses made with this pattern.

I love this dress on the left that Peggy is wearing. I wanted to emulate the design but I want it to be a little fancier, so I didn't want to do the black gingham. I do love it though and I may consider doing another  more casual dress later. 
In order to get this look I'll need to lengthen the sleeves, change the collar from a fold-over to a more prominent collar. I don't even know what to call that kind of collar, but I'll figure out how to make it. Oh and I'm going to add the button detail down the side of the skirt. I'm really excited about it! I'll post my steps along the way!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Shabby Apple Design Final Results

Shabby Apple announced their winner for the Design a Dress contest yesterday. Although I didn't win, I'm excited about the dress that did win.
Sarah is incredibly talented, you can read her blog here. She used her mom's old skirt to make this dress. Isn't that amazing?!? Congratulations to you Sarah, I can't wait to see it on Shabby Apple's website!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cashmere Improved

 This was such a fun sweater revamp! I found this fantastic Lord & Taylor cashmere sweater at the thrift store for $2.00. It had a few flaws, it was a horrible ivory color, it had a small hole in the back and it was a size too big. But it was $2.00 and I wanted to start doing more refashioning. What do you think?
 I started by dying it green and washing it in the washer on the gentle cycle. I know you shouldn't wash cashmere but I didn't want the dye to rub off when I wore it. Everything came out perfect. Don't worry, I air dried it. Then I sewed felt leaves over the hole and elbow pads on the elbows.
 The final step was to resize it. I put it on inside out, pinned where I want to sew and sewed it up. Super easy. After cutting off the excess I noticed it would make a cute peter pan collar. So, I sewed it on and we're done! I have a new favorite sweater for sure.

Friday, November 19, 2010

New Rug

 You know the rugs that look like this? You know, the ones for $4.00 at Target or Walmart. Yep, they're cheap and great but I was really getting tired of this one. So I changed it into
 this!  Basically I just cut some great Ikea fabric two inches larger than the old rug. I sewed down every other white line to keep the two together. Then I folded over the edge and sewed around the edge. Done and done.

T-shirt to Cardigan

 This is the easiest thing I have ever sewn. I think ANYONE could do this. I had this brown long sleeved, v neck t-shirt that was a bit too tight. I liked the way the sleeves belled out and thought it would be a cute cardigan. 

First, I cut a strait line down the center of the v to the hem. I used yellow bias tape (because that's what I had) to sandwich the cut edges. I folded it over and sewed up each side. Then I simply added lace all the way around the neck. Easy and done! The broach is removable so I can change it out whenever I want. I LOVE it and am itching to do another one!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween 2010

 This year my son wanted to be a garbage man for Halloween. The problem with being a garbage man is that without a truck nobody knows what you are. So I made a truck to go along with his gloves, hat and vest. He LOVES it. Well, he did once he realized dressing up for Halloween doesn't mean you actually get TO BE whatever it is you dress up as. He was just sure I was going to arrange a trip on the garbage truck for him. Someday maybe I'll be that cool.
 The garbage truck is made from felt, making it easier to to whip together without worrying about finishing edges. It is basically a large rectangular cube with a hole in the top and bottom for him to wear it. There are suspenders attached to the truck to allow him to wear it comfortably.

To give the truck shape I filled the back and bottom front with crumpled newspaper. I also made casings to hold two wooden dowels along the top to give better shape.

 I also made a hole in the top of the truck cab to hold his candy. It was so nice not to have to hold his candy sack. I am so happy with how it turned out. Oh and it folds up very nicely for storage, just in case he decides to be a garbage man next year.
 We weren't the only ones who liked his costume. He won an award for "Most Creative Costume" at the ward party.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Birthday Banner

 A few of my friends got together to make these awesome birthday banners this past week. They are incredibly easy but tons of fun!

Here's how you do it. Open you text edit program (MS Word, or OpenOffice) and type the letters you'll need: HAPYBIRTD. Change the font size to 400, the paper to landscape and the font type to Ariel bold. Print it off and cut them out.
Then you just pin the paper letters to felt (any kind will work) and cut two for each letter. I used a blanket stitch to attach my felt letters together. Check out this video on how to do a blanket stitch. You'll go most of the way around the letter, leaving about and inch and a half open to stuff.

Next you stuff your letters with fiberfill. Some letters require that you stuff as you go because it is hard to get back to a certain spot to stuff. 

Finally you attach your letters to string, yarn or twine. I used a neutral colored yarn. Make sure you tie little knots on either end of your letters, once they are in the position you want, so they don't slip around and end up stuck in the middle.

I wanted to do a gender neutral, primary colored banner that hopefully could be used for any birthday no matter the theme. You could definitely do a monochromatic banner or one with fewer colors if you want.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I'm In!

Shabby Apple announced their 15 finalists for the Dare to Design dress competition.  I'm so excited to have made it to the next round!  This is such a big deal to me.  I think I may still be in shock.  You can see all 15 of the finalists here and go here to vote. Mine is #11, I'd love to have your vote!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dress design for Shabby Apple dresses

This is my dress design for Shabby Apple dresses /Dare to Design/ competition. I first heard about the competition last year, but I didn't feel comfortable enough with my sewing skills to enter the competition. I know I could have entered with a sketch, but I wanted a beautiful showcase piece I could wear, not one I could only look at.

A year later, I have honed my sewing skills and tried several patterns and dresses to see what works best on my body. I finally have a dress I am THRILLED to share.
Inspiration: I adore the French film Amelie. The whimsical, do-good feel of the movie brings a smile to my face each time I watch it. Amelie (Audrey Tautou) is a young woman who finds great pleasure in simple things, such as skipping stones and running her hands through sacked grains, and in bringing happiness to others. I think that this dress conveys the sense of whimsy from the film and that the dress, like Amelie herself, is infectiously happy.

Description: The dress is made of a thin red and white striped cotton shirting top with a navy center stripe and a navy skirt. It has a round neck, petite cap sleeves, a side zipper, and three bold buttons down the front. The bright red 1/2-inch edging around the neck and waist give definition to the most flattering parts of the body. The bodice is tailored in the front and back to give the perfect shape. The high waist pencil skirt is the perfect length for lady-like activities like chasing kids, going out to lunch with friends, and sitting down at an afternoon garden party.
Color Options: I love the nautical / French feel of this color palette. It is fresh, comfortable, and always looks crisp. This dress would look fantastic in a variety of other colors palettes as well. A charcoal gray skirt and canary yellow top with white edging, for example. Or perhaps a robin egg blue skirt and white top with tan edging, similar to the colors in the Greg Hatton room pictured below.

I am so excited to have this dress in my closet. I wore it to church today and received several compliments. Not one person asked if I made it myself. That is a huge success for me.


I made this with the intent of giving it as a baby shower gift. I made size medium which should fit a 6-12 month old. Here is my son wearing it. He will be 2 on Wednesday. I think the sizing might be off but I think he is awfully cute. Too bad we're going in to winter because it is so darn cute.

I want to applique something on the front. A crap perhaps? We'll see.

Monday, August 16, 2010


I found this amazing window on craigslist for $30 about a month before we left Columbus. I really wanted a chalkboard in my kitchen to keep track of menus and activities. Plus I thought it would be cute.

I spent weeks sanding (by hand because I'm too cheep to get a heavy duty tool) and finally got the 15 layers of paint off the window frame. I didn't sand the wood closest to the glass and gave it a new coat of white paint. I used 3 coats of chalkboard paint on both sides of the glass, so potentially I could use both sides if I wanted. The chalkboard paint is very durable but I could scrape it off if I ever wanted to go back to just glass.

I'm really happy with the way it turned out. We use it all the time for menus, alphabet practice and picture drawing.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Freezer Paper Stenciling

I've been doing some freezer paper stenciling lately. It is so easy to do and so much fun. There are tons of great tutorials out there so I won't do one but I will give you my sources.

You can find Abe Lincoln and a great tutorial here on Made.
A simple tutorial and cute beanbags here on A Pretty Cool Life.
A cute hotdog shirt here on elsie marley.

I'm sure you could google freezer paper stenciling and get tons of patterns as well.

This garbage truck shirt was my first attempt to freestyle draw my own. It worked out pretty well. My son loves it and insists on wearing it every day it is clean.


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