Paper Chandelier

I managed to get the bulk of my Christmas shopping finished in October and November, leaving me some free time this month to finally tackle some projects that have been on my Make board for quite a while. One of them was an idea I had for a chandelier-type, mobile-like paper thing to hang over the dining room table.  I loved these colorful versions, but I wanted translucent white and I wanted it to be round.  Kind of like this one.

I had a giant stack of translucent vellum left from my days as a paper hoarder, so I got to work cutting out many, many circles.  I used two different sizes of circles, one I traced from a 1-ounce plastic container and the other I traced the lid to a sugar bowl. Fancy!  Then, with opalescent white thread, I ran the circles through the sewing machine in random patterns of five large and three small (to keep the length of the strings consistent).  I tied all of the finished those strings onto a brass hoop from Jo-Ann’s that I painted silver, and…voila!

I love it, and I can’t believe I finally made it after thinking about it for so long. Next up, I’m brainstorming ways to hang a solar light inside it so I can get it to glow without stringing lights in it.

Rex and Steggy

RAWR!

Valentine’s Day seems to be about a hundred years ago, but since I’ve been MIA for so long, I have a lot of catching up to do.  I’d like to introduce you to Rex and Steggie, (or Kissasaurus and Huggasaurus Rex, as I called them when I delivered them), two felt dinos I made for Cameron and Alex for Valentine’s Day.  Back around Christmastime, Cameron saw me knitting and asked me to knit him a dinosaur.  I said “maybe” which he took to mean “absolutely, right this minute!” and from that day on, each time I saw him he asked if I’d gotten a chance to make him that dinosaur “like I promised”.

Valentine’s day seemed like a good excuse to fulfill my promise, but I decided that I had no hope of knitting them so I’d make the dinos out of felt.  I played around with some paper pattens and came up with Rex first.  He came out perfectly and I nearly sprained my arm from patting myself on the back.  I just sewed a toy!  Very exciting.  After Rex, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to make two of the same dinos to avoid the “I wanted that one” fights, but that seemed boring so I challenged myself to make a pattern for Steggie.  He was supposed to come out smaller than Rex but, sadly, things didn’t work out that way.  That left me with a dilemma.

Big brother, Cameron is on a kick now where he has to be the biggest, best, fastest, the one with the most guns, the most powers, etc. etc.  So… would he want the biggest felt dino, or the smaller T-Rex dino, since T-Rex was the king of the dinosaurs?  I couldn’t decide so I consulted my sister who said he’d want the biggest one.  I think I would have lost either way, but unfortunately when I delivered them on V-Day, Cameron complained that he didn’t get Rex until I told him that he was hurting my feelings.  The next night I watched the boys so my sister and her husband could go on their belated anniversary/Valentine’s Day date and both boys tucked their dinos into bed with them when they climbed under the covers so I think that everyone was happy in the end.

Beth’s Diaper Bag

My lovely friend Beth is having a baby in a few short weeks and her friends were sweet enough to invite me to her baby shower last weekend.  I’ve had an aversion to registries for as long as I can remember, so I decided to make something for mom and baby instead of buying off the registry.  Enter the crazy what-was-I-thinking moment that brought me much dread and anxiety: I bought a sewing pattern.

You know me.  I can’t follow recipes and I hate to follow sewing patterns.  They confound me and frustrate me, and yet, I bought this one.  This pattern is Butterick 4560 (and despite all of my whining, it was actually fairly easy to follow).  I bought the pattern and the fabric and sat and stared at it for about two weeks, dreading the task.  I finally decided to suck it up and start cutting. And several (many) hours later, I had this!

Cute, right?  The fabric on the inside is “Baby Story” from Heidi Grace.  It has little doodles and words all over and says “A tall bird came and brought me a gift… of all the gifts I have ever received, this was my favorite — the gift was you.”  I’m not sure who to credit for the outer fabric but it was from Jo-Ann, Etc.

I made some changes to the pattern (shocker, I know) like this antique button closure on the side pocket.  It was supposed to be Velcro, as was the closure on the main flap.  I have a weird tactile issue with Velcro and decided instead to use this cute button on the side and a small magnetic snap on the main flap.  I also didn’t make the weird strap pad you see in the pattern pictures, it seemed unnecessary.  And I didn’t make the tab on the inside that would have had a clip for your keys.  That also seemed fussy.  I did add in all of the elastic pockets and pouches and, despite the I spent about 28 hours making it, I’m pretty darn proud of myself for making this bag and for (mostly) following the pattern.  I may even attempt another one for another pregnant friend of mine.  We’ll see.

Placemat Pillowcases

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My sister recently got new living room furniture and I had this idea that I wanted to give her the perfect patterned pillows as the best new couch-warming present ever.

I wanted a good quality fabric with a fun pattern and I know she likes circles and dots, but none of the fabrics I came across were just right.  Disappointed, I left the fabric store and went to Pier 1 for a completely unrelated reason (to buy myself something shiny) and a spotlight shone down, angels sang and these placemats fell off the shelf and onto my feet.  They were, and are, perfect.  Also on sale.

Why did I not think of this before?  Placemats are essentially pillowcases sewn shut.  All I did was cut off the stitching around the edges, trimmed them to size, sewed them back together, and voila!  The most perfect pillows for my sister’s new living room.  Just don’t tell her — I’m giving them to her tonight.

Handwritten

My cousin emailed me to ask for instructions on making the little Snowkids I make every winter, and as I was writing out the steps for her, I was reminded of She Likes Purple and her handwritten post last week.  I loved that idea so much, I decided, since I’m in such a good mood today, to give you two fun things all rolled in to one.  Not only do you get instructions for making your own adorable Snowkids (or baby sock snowmen, if you prefer), but you also get them handwritten and illustrated by me.  Sorry, my penmanship used to be MUCH better, but this will have to do.  Enjoy!

snowmen1

snowmen2

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If you’d like to print the instructions for later, click here for the PDF instructions.

Mama’s Got a Brand New Bag

Yes, I did just call myself “Mama” but only for effect, you know, as in “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag”.  I’m not actually a mama.  I feel the need to get that cleared up before anyone (hi Mom!) gets their hopes up.

Check it out!  Cute, right?  I made it.  Did too.  Really.  In just over one movie.  This seems to be my measure of time when sewing.  I can make a bag in two episodes of House or one viewing of Stardust including the deleted scenes.  I actually did watch Stardust while making this bag.  I love that movie.  Have you seen it?  I seem to fall hard for the fairy-tales-for-grown-ups-type movies.

Anyhow, my bag!  Do you love it?  The strap is just the right length and it hangs perfectly on my shoulder.  I love it.  It’s puckered funny in this picture because it has my brick of a phone and my iPod in it and they’re pulling on the magnetic clasp.  It’s actually too big for me since all I carry are my phone and iPod and a little credit card holder, but I’m thinking of making a much bigger version for all of those large bag-lovers out there.  What do you think?


Oh, gee!

Last week I proclaimed my love for embroidery.  Now I’m wondering if it’s the embroidery I like, or the felt.  I think I’m in love with felt.  I made this big monogrammed pillow over the last few nights and the felt was so easy to work with that now I’m imagining all sorts of new felt projects.  Felt purses, felt toys, felt hats…