Monday, June 30, 2008

4th of July T-Shirts

This idea is one that I've loved and kept in my stash of favorites for a couple years. One of my favorite issues of Family Fun magazine is their summer/4th of July issue. They always come up with great ideas! I'm always interested in their "parade wear". This t-shirt is one we've loved because it's cute and not very complicated to make. This is probably the 3rd time we've done this same shirt and the kids have yet to notice that it's a repeat. I especially like it because the kids can make it themselves and it's pretty hard for them to mess up.
The creative process...Even dad gets involved!

Showing off their shirts (and some brotherly love)!

Here are the directions to make this shirt from FF's Website:


White T-shirts
Corrugated cardboard stars
Red or blue fabric paint
Cardboard squares
Time needed: About 2 to 3 Hours

1. To make one, first slip sheets of newspaper inside a plain white shirt so that when you print on the fabric, the paint won't bleed through to the other side.
2. Next, cut out several corrugated cardboard stars. Peel away the top layer of each star to expose the ribbed layer. Coat the corrugation with red or blue fabric paint and then firmly and evenly press the painted surface against the shirt. Carefully lift away the star.
3. When you've finished stamping your design, let the paint dry completely and then set it according to the manufacturer's directions.
4. Tip: To make the painting process less messy for kids, glue a cardboard square onto the back of each star for a handle.

My tips or variations: First off, I'd suggest at least one adult for every 2 kids unless your kids are over, say, 8 yrs old. We were having trouble keeping everyone out of the paint and taming the excitement (excitement=big mess). Second, the directions say it is a 2-3 hour project. I'd say we did it in less than 15 minutes. The directions must include drying time. Third, I'd suggest getting the stars ready without telling your kids, so that they don't stand over your shoulder and hover until your done cutting them out. :) Lastly, we added "Jackson Pollack" type splatter to our shirts to make them cuter. We found that when you add the splatter, the imperfect stars done by a 3 year old tend to look LOTS better! I've also made a onsie version of this project when the kids were babies that turned out just as cute!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Cape transformation

Miss M. has been bugging me for quite some time about making her a full circle white taffeta-like skirt. To be quite honest, I did not want to make one at all for the following reasons: #1 I didn't want to buy anymore fabric, #2 She needs clothes like she needs a hole in the head, #3 It is totally impractical, and #4 who wants to spend time making a white item for a kid only to see it stained or ruined.

Well, the other day my kids begged me to take a little field trip to a neighborhood garage sale. They all were dying to spend their own money. So off we went with their money burning holes in their pockets. They hit the mother load and each came home with about 3-6 items each and no one paid more than $1. They were thrilled.

I was thrilled because I made a great find too. And it helped me so that I could do what M. has been wanting without it taking hardly any time, money, etc. The garage sale lady was selling a couple capes. One happened to be white taffeta. I bought all three that she had for $.25 apiece and we cut the white one down and turned it into a skirt for M. She wore it today to church.I have to say that after I cut it down, all I did was sew up the remaining open side and add an elastic waistband. It isn't serged or anything, but she is happy and so am I. Now I don't have to try and keep putting her off about it. This is one of the reasons that she wanted a full skirt--to have full twirling around.
Here is the pink cape that we bought that is exactly the same and the white one was. This is the before shot.
You gotta love $.25 garage sale bargains.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

My Little Black Dress

I originally wanted this to be my go-to dress for the summer. A throw on and run out the door quickly type. (Meeting husband for lunch, running errands, etc). But it didn't quite look that way after making it. It absolutely needs the belt. Otherwise it looks like a potato sack. But I'm so happy because I need church clothes too. I just love, love, love it. I'm going to make another one in a silky fabric. It will look like a totally different dress.

1" lengthen in waist
4" lengthen at hem
lengthened sleeve 2 1/4"

Favorite features:
No Zipper!
Those darling pockets
Neck pleats

Black cotton poplin (stretch)
New Look Pattern #6803

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"Artsy" Apron

Simplicity 3752--view B

This is the same pattern that Leslie used earlier in the blog for her cute ruffled apron. I just tried out a different view. I thought this apron looked like an "artsy" apron and maybe down the road I'll make a gift for someone who fits that bill. Luckily I've now worked out the kinks. This apron was almost a major disappointment for me.

I was very excited about doing some embroidery on the chambray--I think I had envisioned that right off too when I saw the pattern. I did lengthen the apron portion a good 6 inches for myself since I have long thighs. I wanted it to at least cover my lap.

The pattern worked up nice and directions were easy enough, the almost "crisis" came with the bust. I chose the size my measurements corresponded too, but I have to say the first bodice was WAY too big. Yes, you read that right--the first bodice. Actually it is the same bodice only redone in the beginning picture. If you look at my picture below in the salmon colored shirt it appears a bit too big, and I am standing as straight as I can with my shoulders back and chest out. This is not how one cooks or crafts. So when I did my normal thing it was baggy and gapped alot. It also seemed very WIDE across the bust, like it was clear into my armpits.

Gappy and too wide across the chest
So then I had to do a lot of unpicking. I suppose I could have just recut an entirely new bodice, and redid the embroidery, but I didn't really want to. I also thought about just removing the bodice and turning the apron into a half apron. I didn't really want to do that either. So I unpicked and unpicked (3 seams of 2 rows of topstitching). Yikes!! I probably took in the bodice seam a good inch at the fullest part on both sides. I think that it lays much nicer--and more naturally--than it did previously. (see first picture again)

My suggestions for this view of the pattern are check the bodice first. You may want to make a mock-up out of muslin or some other leftover fabric. Unpicking that much is not fun! I don't necessarily feel the need to share everything on this blog, but for reference sake I am probably a B cup and this pattern is more for a C or D cup in my opinion. Adjust the bodice accordingly. I think that it could easily be made with little to no curve and look just fine.

Summer Staples

My wardrobe crisis continues, but I'm loving this current solution: Elastic waist skirts. Never thought I would resort to that one, but I suppose it is not quite the same as elastic waist pants. The pics aren't that great because I was trying to do it with the self timer. But I think you get the idea.

I used Butterick Pattern 5043 View A. I have been wearing these just about every day and they are so nice. Much, much cooler (temperature) than shorts.

These are the other colors I made:

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Ruffles, Ruffles...

and more Ruffles

Been frantically trying to accomplish my list this week before we leave for vacation. It's too long. But here's one thing I got to cross off: Fourth of July inspired aprons for the girls (sorry to spoil surprise). I've been using this same pattern. I'm obsessed with it because it's so feminine.

Jean Skirt

Just as I was getting ready to pare down my growing pile of magazine subscriptions (Family Fun was on the chopping block), my current issue arrived in my mailbox. I saw this cute skirt to make with old jeans and couldn't resist. One thing I love is cute and EASY projects! This one is both!

(The FF website stinks in my opinion so I couldn't find any web directions for this project, only my pitiful picture of the magazine article. I think you can read the directions if you click on the picture and make it bigger.)

I have seen these types of skirts all over, but never got around to actually making one until this article showed up. It was a very simple project that anyone can do regardless if you have sewing abilities or not. The FF directions call for the skirt to be glued together with fabric glue (an easy no-sew project for non-sewers). Being a sewer, though, I just couldn't bring myself to glue an article of clothing that I can easily sew!

These are the original pants, still cute, but about 2 inches too short for the 6yr old! Sorry cousin B, they were going to be yours until I saw this article! :)

Here is my finished skirt complete with sassy 6yr old model.
I added the ruffle because 1. I wanted the skirt to go to the knee 2. I thought it would be cute to add some color to the white and match all the beaded detailing.

Front and Back Views

Depending on the finished length of your skirt, I found that you don't need to cut a triangle piece for the back unless you want it to be to the knee or longer.

I am excited about how this project turned out. I did it last night in about 1 1/2 hours, but that inclued adding the ruffle, too. So, without the ruffle, it would be an easy 30-45 minute project.

I think I am going to make a blue denim skirt like this for Miss K (and maybe a matching one for Baby S) and either do it without a ruffle, or add some sort of patriotic fabric to the bottom (in time for the 4th of July). CUTE!! Another variation I thought of would be to just sew around the unfinished edge and then let it fray.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Syndee's Sticky Popcorn

Here is a yummy recipe for super easy caramel popcorn. I got this recipe from one of my roommates in college many years ago. It has remained my favorite recipe for gooey caramel popcorn.

2/3 c. popcorn, unpopped
1 1/2 sticks butter (3/4 c. butter)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 bag of mini marshmallows or about 20 large marshmallows

Pop the popcorn and put in a large bowl. In pan, heat together brown sugar and butter. Stir until melted. Add marshmallows and heat until thoroughly melted. Pour mixture over popped popcorn and stir until mixed. If any remains, store in covered container.

**Sorry I didn't post a picture. We ate is all before I thought of it.

Oh Happy Day

I didn't make this, but I am so excited about the new addition to our living room. I have to post it....

My $9 IKEA rug (3'x5'). I'm loving it!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Mending Confessions

O.K. here much as I adore sewing I absolutely detest mending. Not my idea of a good time whatsoever. I have turned down many a paid sewing job because it was a "mend" of some sort. Even getting paid to take care of it does not make my happy. The only mending that is fine for me is cutting off long sleeves or pants and turning them into short sleeves or pants. Piece of cake--no finaggling or thinking really involved, just do it.

Well, when it comes to my hubby's mending I can't turn down the "job". However, I will admit that I do put it off as long as I possibly can. This is usally how the scenario goes: He'll inform me of some mending job he has for me, I'll tell him to take it to my sewing room, and then for the next couple of weeks, or maybe months, I use those items as padding on my sewing chair while I sew other things. Then sometime the guilt will kick in and I'll mend the things I need to so that I can move on to something more fun.

Yesterday, the guilt kicked in--but with a good laugh involved. I went down to my sewing room for something else and found this tag attached to one of the pairs of my hubby's pants (still sitting on my chair as a cushion) that he needs fixed.
He got these from work--the guys on the floor who wear uniforms put these on their items when they need repaired and then they get sent off to someone who takes care of it. Some days I wish Hubby still wore uniforms to work so that I wouldn't have to deal with his pant mending. Anyway, I guess this was my subtle reminder, that yes, Hubby really does need those 2 pairs of pants fixed. In his defense I have to say that he really doesn't care how they look when they are fixed, he just wants them done so that he doesn't lose keys or a wallet out a hole in the pocket.

I'm happy to report they are both done, finished this morning. Now I guess the next thing I need to do is find something else to cushion my chair. :)

Friday, June 20, 2008


Thanks to Cassie from The Crafty Crow for featuring Leslie's Memory Game on her website.
Go check out her website for great kids crafts!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Christmas in June

I had not intended to be making tote bags here this month, but with 2 graduations and a b-day party this week I went ahead and added 3 more to those previous since I will eventually need to send a couple for Christmas presents to some nieces and a nephew. Really, making 6 instead of 3 is not that much different for me. I might as well get it all done now.

So here is the b-day bag that M. took to her friend E. who is also moving at the end of the summer to New York state. E. told me she loved it when I went to pick up M. from the slumber party this morning. That is good to hear! The inside of this bag is the same yellow polka dot fabric from the previous post about the mini totes.
These two bags will be for my nieces (ages 3 and 5) for this Christmas. I hope that they will like them. Tonya, don't let the kids see these if you happen to be checking out the blog.Inside fabric of both of them.

For boys we make messenger style bags. For my 8 year old nephew this is what he will be getting from us for Christmas. I found this great fish print and an embroidery pattern to match. My son Z. informed me that L. will definitely like this bag because it is "awesome". Detail of fish pattern and monogram. I downloaded this fish at Ann the Gran. Go under Free designs and then the fish section.

Mini Tote Inspiration

Last year Shauna gave me this cute little Longaberger Halloween bag for my birthday, since I'm an October baby. She filled it will all sorts of fun paper things--memo pads, sticky notes, list pads, post-it notes, Thank You cards, doodle book, etc. (We also like paper in our family thanks to our mother.) Here is the bag itself. Anyway, I thought it was such a fun idea that I decided to use it these past couple of weeks for a couple graduation gifts I needed for some girls we know who are graduating from high school. I don't always know what to give people and don't like giving money most of the time, but I thought this might work.
Here are my bags. I embroidered a little design on the outside. I debated on whether or not to put their initial on the outside, but decided to try something different. The inside fabric is also fun.
And yes, I did fill them up with list pads, note pads, some blank cards, memo pads, etc. too. They should be able to use those things while away at college and then can use the little bag for a purse if they'd like too.

Finished Measurements:
9" high x 8" wide x 4" deep
14" long handles

For the handles:
Cut 1 1/2" wide strips of fabric about 16" long, fold in half (3/4" wide now) and press. Insert a 14" long piece of small piping and fold the edges in again (like you are making bias tape) and topstitch close with a zipper foot. Position the handles on the inside of the bag between the two pieces of fabric. Sew around top edge of bag and leave opening to turn. I usually leave an opening between the handles on one side. Turn right side out and press. Topstitch upper edge closed.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Hooded Towel

It has come to the point where L is too big to use his baby hooded towels, but he is still cold when he gets out of the tub.  I came across this hooded towel tutorial that was super easy to follow!!  It took me about 30 minutes to finish it.  

My only thing that I would do differently next time, is buying a thinner towel.  I use towels that we already had and they were so thick that it #1 hard to sew through and #2 it broke my needle.  So I think a thinner hand towel and towel would work out better.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Summer Skirt

I have this friend, Esther, who lots of times during the summer will wear these cute skirts to the park or other similar activity. She looks cute and comfy and I decided that I wanted to give it a try too. I finished one of the skirt patterns I had and wore it all day today and it was pretty nice. I felt like I was put together and could still enjoy being outside hanging with the kids.

Butterick 4137--view B
I'm sorry that I keep posting about discontinued patterns. I really didn't think that I had this pattern that long--this is the first time I've made it--but apparently it too has been in the stash awhile.

This skirt I made out of some linen that I had in the stash--and it hardly wrinkles. YEAH for that!! This pattern also comes with some really cute shorts, and capris. I think that I am going to make a pair of those too. I wanted to first make a skirt to see if I liked it before moving on to pants.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Reversible Purse

As seen on the Martha Stewart show--their version of the Reversible Purse.

I don't always watch the Martha Stewart show, but one day I happened upon it and they were making this cute bag. I immediately downloaded the pattern and instructions after watching because I wanted to try it. Here is my version that is made out of a dark blue denim and a cute purple floral piece I had left over from one of the girls' shirts or something like that.
I've also been trying to use my embroidery machine a little more. I found this pretty flower pattern at the Ann the Gran website. You can download MANY different free embroidery designs.
My daughter L. showing it off for me.
The reversible side--love the pretty floral. I think that Martha's idea was to have a pretty floral or print on the outside and a solid on the inside. I tend to think opposite of that. But if I found the right print I would probably be happy to have the solid on the inside.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Checking off that list

I'm taking a break from those needlepoint states for a few days because my wrists are literally hurting. I'm feeling a second wind of motivation to conquer that looming pile though. My parents are coming this week so I had to get my sewing station organized in the guest bedroom.

It was literally strewn across the entire room until this photo.
Eventually I want to paint this room another color since it is the same as the upstairs. Pink! But that is not high on my home decor list right now.

project inspirations

Another motivation is a trip to Pennsylvania for the fourth of July. There are lots of things I want to finish before we go. Mostly some new clothes (skirts) for me. And last night I had some killer ideas for other Perfect Dresses for L. They are going to be so cute!!!

This is what I worked on yesterday. and I am so happy with how it turned out. Love, love, love it!

18" red felt pillow
Total cost = less than $4
(copied idea from here. original Pier1 pillow was $30 and much smaller)

The room view

And fabric close-up of the other pillow:


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