Thursday, December 29, 2011

Xmas Craft Round Up

Somehow I made it through this month with something to show, but not nearly as much as I had hoped or planned, typical! But here's why...

The week before Christmas, aka MY crafting week, after I finished Xmas Etsy orders and made it to the one party we had to attend, I woke up early Monday morning with a terrible need to pee. As with most women in their third trimester of pregnancy, this is not abnormal, but the following events surely weren't part of your every day pregnancy.

Long story short, I wound up in the hospital for 5 days with a kidney stone, came home Friday because I refused to spend Christmas in the hospital (though I did spend my wedding anniversary there). I was only allowed to have a pain killer that would merely dull the pain at home, and was unable to move for the most part. I got the best gift of the year on Xmas Eve when I passed the stone mid-day and was able to stop taking narcotics. Those things can really mess a person up! I truly feel giving birth this time around will not be quite the ordeal the kidney stone was, it's true 100% that the pain is equal to that of labor. Christmas Day I was starting to feel like my old pregnant self again, waddling here and there, but still sluggish. And finally, today almost a week later, I have energy to do more than just make it through the day. Hence the blog post, yay!

So although I have no ornaments or crafting purely for joy to share, these are the orders I managed to finished.

Baby Slippers: 6-12 months

Lots of Owl Hats:
Introducing new color schemes: "Lily" in Childs Large

...and "Olivia" in Teen

Another of the ever popular "Sophia" in Adult Large (I made three of these exact ones)

...and one in Toddler

And for the first time in a few years, I made scarves! 

This one was a thank you gift for the wonderful lady who watched Silas the week I was in the hospital.
I'm calling it the "Chain Scarf". It's not super warm, more a decorative design, with a removable flower to boot!

This one is a self tasseling scarf from the Happy Hooker crochet book. I love the stripes, but it's a bit rigid, so I went back to the drawing board.

...and came up with this. I called it the "Flex Scarf" because it's very flexible and cuddly. It couldn't be more simple. If you know crocheting, you can see in the close up it's simply a single crochet and a chain stitch repeated row after row. It works up very fast!

The scarf and gloves were commissioned by a friend probably 2 months ago to match a Sophia Owl Hat for a complete set. I fell so far behind but I'm glad I had time to rework them because the stretchy new scarf I came up with led me to remake the Frejya glove pattern and use the same combination of stitches for the wrist. It's a LOT better.

I also have a new sizing chart for the Owl Hats which allows for the hats to fit much more loosely, hoping they will in turn be a bit warmer. I'll change up the sizing chart on Etsy too and add a tab here for it. The more I rework these patterns, the more confident I become in my actual pattern, hoping it will one day push me to actually write the pattern I meant to write years ago... one day, it will happen!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Million Dollar Blanket

I can't describe how nice it is to FINALLY sit under this blanket. I started it when I was 7 months pregnant with Silas in 2009. I had just finished crocheting his baby blanket and was on a roll. But, well, then I had the baby, and all motivation went out the window.

So after moving into our new place in Maryland I realized just how for off track I became with most of my projects while I was in Germany, there was too much inspiration around me, I wanted to do too much and I started WAY too many projects. So here I sit with a backlog of projects to clear up space in the office/crafting room in our house. and well, I'm proud to show my first big finish.

Made from 100% organic cotton yarn (aka super super soft) this blanket feels like a million bucks (and cost a pretty penny too). But it was SO worth it. It's 6' long! Long enough for my gangly body to fit under and wide enough for a twin bed (as if I'd ever relinquish it to a child though, ha!) And honestly, it's the only thing I've crocheted for myself (other than a scarf) I'm so proud!

It really came in handy yesterday when I was feeling like I couldn't peel myself from the couch or I'd fall over from exhaustion. But I'm back to 100% today and motivated to pick another half-finished project to get moving on (but after all the christmas crafting of course :)

Etsy orders here I come! (Another hat sold today, yes!)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Felt Ornament Inspiration

I love the creativity here. I may end up buying a few of these if I run out of time, but I'd like to try making them first...
From StudioTree. Set of 3 Retro Ornaments

From Bloom and Barnacle: A felt stocking, from recycled sweaters, genius!

From Dekapo: Felt Christmas lights! So colorful and bright.

From Shroompers: Felt baby sprout, perfect for the baby-on-the-way :)

From KatieCanavan: Even your tree can have a mustache!

I also searched for a felt pickle to use as an ornament, remember the German pickle story??? I couldn't find a good one. the search is on for a felt pickle pattern =]

Christmas Sewing is Underway

This custom order from my Etsy shop (12-18 month baby slippers) has brought out the Christmas sewing in me. Oh the grand plans I want to set myself up for... But I won't. Outside of orders from Etsy, I want to make a 2012 felt ornament and LOOK for ideas for stockings to make for my kids, I'm not promising to make on in time, but I will take notes.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Smallest Sophia Owl

I finally have a really good pattern that goes as small and newborn for my owl hats. This was my first order for this winter, so I decided to change things up a bit and do color at the bottom instead of the neutral I generally end my hats with. I love making the NB and 0-3 month hats, so tiny and cute! As usual, the Sophia color way is the most popular! Looking to purchase one? See my Etsy listings.

Go Lions!

Christmas gifts for a friend... I came up with these (I made one for a 1 year old and one for a 3 year old) because she told me her nephews like the Lions, I'm not sayng I'm going to be making NFL themed hats, but if you have any ideas, I can try! Hope you like then Jenn!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New Blog!

I'm going to try two blogs now, one for crafty stuff, toddler/kid activities, possibly family meals thrown in every once in a while. The other for my family stuff, I'll be doing by invite only. Let me know if you want to follow us (I'll need you email address) and I'll send you an email.

Most of the older posts here are copied from my old blog (The Black Forrist) and back dated properly.

I think this way I won't feel pressured to keep up with family endeavors at the same speed I keep up with posting about my handmade harvest.

I love comments, I feel loved!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fathers Day Gift: Kindle Cover

 Silas made my job easy this year. He broke Zac's Kindle cover a few weeks ago. He created to perfect gift opportunity for me. Thanks Silas!

I found quite a few listings on etsy, but designed mine based off the pictures in this one. Not knowing anything about the construction I just started cutting pieces out and sewing.

I managed to make more mistakes on the project than I ever have before and STILL had it turn out to be salvageable. And best part is, Zac started using it right away! That pocket on the front was meant for the back. oops. But the charging cord fits, that's all that matters, right? And the double layer of Peltex 70 was a challenge to work, but I ended up piecing the second layer in where the extra stability is needed instead of using the full length of the cover twice.

I used an old scrap of black fabric with tiny brown pin stripes that seams especially manly to me. I didn't have black elastic, so I used a sporty headband I had set aside for sewing a flower or something onto, but this was an even better use. The rubber on it is perfect for keeping the Kindle in place. I ran out though, so plan B was the strap across the top which has elastic in it for a snug fit.

I added the extra pocket behind the Kindle for an extra secure storage option for long hauls when it may need to be extra safe from destruction, i.e. sticky toddler fingers. There's lots of quirks to work out on this design, but it made Zac's day, so I'm stoked! (yes, he got it early because I thought LAST weekend was father's day, heh)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Tagalong Bag

We're moving, for real this time. That might explain my absence as I've been trying to filter out all the things I don't want to have to go through when we arrive in Maryland. That's right. East Coast here we come. Nearly the farthest place from California, but hey, not as far as Germany!

Onto the sewing already, eh? I finished this project in May but have been post processing other pictures and videos from a year ago! Does it surprise you that I'm that far behind? Well you don't know me well enough if it does.

I've had the idea for this bag mulling for about a year. At the mall in Sindelfingen I saw a simple tote bag with a handle on the side and a symbol of a woman and a child walking together above it. Not sure how practical the handle really is, but hey it's cute.

I started this bag with no intention of making it into the "toddler toting" carry-all, but rather just as a way to use my lovely Sherbet Pips charm pack. I had the front and back sewn together and pinned up on my wall for two weeks before it dawned on me that it is perfect for this Tagalong bag!

Most of the time I like a cross body bag, but wanted the option to make it a shorter shoulder bag...

My solution was to add extra snaps to one side. Undo the snaps at the opposite end, slide through the shoulder pad et viola, a shorter strap!

I took the easy way out with the strap and used a nylon belt (is that what it's called?) but it's not the nicest feeling against your neck with any weight at all in the bag, so I whipped up a quicky shoulder pad with non-slip backing so it always stays in place. Neato!

The kid handle (cue mother: "hold my handle") was an easy addition after I quilted the front side. I lined the bag with a grey canvas for extra durability AND included a net bottle pocket. I know, genius, right? It looks really small because of the angle, but it fits the large Camel Back bottle. Here's the inside before I sewed the bag together with a much better scale for the bottle pocket. The net is from an old laundry bag, good thing I never throw anything out, ha! I did take enough photos for a simple tutorial, but I'd like to try a second one to work out the quirks. For instance, I meant for there to be a zipper on top... the zipper piece didn't work as planed, nor did the strap. But first try was good enough to give to the one friend I cannot believe I have to leave behind here in Germany. I will miss you Marion. Thanks for being you!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Retro Hausfrau Apron and Pot-Holders

Finally... I get to show my latest sewing project!

It was a bridal shower gift for one of my favorite people alive, Janine! Theme was 50s house wife and it too place today, but I made it weeks ago.

Idea came from here. I asked the seller to make one in colors similar to this, she didn't have anything to offer, so I drew up a pattern and made one. (I also bought fabric to make two more, I love this design!)

I started calling this a "retro diner apron" but really it's more hausfrau-ish, no? No good photo of the whole thing... They just didn't come out well and I sent it off before I could shoot more.

I threw these together with a hand towel and left over fabric based off of a pair I use in my kitchen daily. I'm calling them "pincher pot-holders"... do you know of or have a different name for them?

I think I'm in love with this fabric.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

TOP 75... I made it! PLEASE VOTE!

Whoa, I'm shocked. My fabric design "A Few Of My Favorite Things" made it to the top 75 fabric choices for the Project Selvage contest!

Take a moment to vote for as many fabric as you like.

Thanks to Jessica for posting about this. I didn't realize I had even made it till I read it on her blog!

Photographer: Vivian Maier

Amazing photos, neat story.

Found via Lady Croissant.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Project Selvage... 1 or 2?

Still working on my initial fabric design for Project Selvage. Tomorrow is the deadline for entries. EEEK!

Option 1: (no changes, same as before)
No time for major changes any more... but I'm leaning towards #2... anyone have thoughts to share???

SO many options for coordinating fabrics... fun fun fun!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

New Endeavors: When it rains in pours.

Were you wondering what's been keeping me from blogging?

I've been doing this really great course called Indie Business, attempting to learn how to have a small business for REALZ. It started March 1st and there has been a lesson every day (I'm about 7 lessons behind). 6 weeks in total, LOTS of information.

First project was to create a binder to keep yourself organized.

I had just bought a scrap book paper set, which I never do, but it was perfect timing! The colors were perfect for me! I also covered an old binder with brown paper just like you do the first day of school with your text books... back in school again =].

Our instructor had us make dividers with tabs... I won't be buying any more dividers in the future, these are WAY better!

And, what's a crafty photo shoot without my side kick... RIGHT behind me. He was generous enough to let me use is play are for my photos anyway!

I've seriously fallen behind on the projects for this course due to a higher calling =]

You all know of Spoonflower right? I vote every week for the new themed fabrics, always thinking "I wish I could do that". WELL... I read that Michael Miller is partnering with Spoonflower on a contest for "baby boy" themed fabric, called Project Selvage. I instantly knew I had to take part. Deadline for submissions is March 24th... I've spent every free second over the last 2 weeks creating little images for my fabric "A Few of My Favorite Things". I just finished what I think I want to submit:

You can see more of the repeat on the Spoonflower website, although I'm attempting to make a free flowing pattern in time since that's really what's hot at the moment. Everything I do ends up more geometric though, grrr! Come March 31st, if I've made it in the top 75 designs, voting will be open to the public for 1 week. Top 10 designs get to make a full "boy" line, 6 fabrics, for submission, and the winner gets to make the girl version and have a contract with Michael Miller! They'll be printed for the Quilt Market in Houston this summer!

Any ideas on changes to the fabric??? I've scrutinized everything about it too many times to look at it much more... I'd appreciate any input.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day!

For my love. I always wait till the last minute for inspiration for his card for some reason.

And this is 99% UNoriginal... it's borrowed from here, with my crocheting spin on it. Anyone want the instructions for lips or a mustache, let me know, I just made it up as I went.

Now back to the kitchen... dinner is almost ready. Guess what we're having... I bet you won't even get close!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Project Show and Tell

How I played this week:

A little paper and a crocheted heart. I heart Valentines cards, and Cosmo Cricket!

I heart finding inspiration in messy toddlers. Wanna make one?

New glove pattern includes different thumb holes... keeping more skin protected from the cold is "A Good Thing"

Another new hat finds a new owner.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Reversible Towel Bib: A Tutorial

I have bronchitis. For some reason when i'm too sick to go to work, I feel the need to sew. So here's what I did yesterday.

This is the only bib Silas will wear any more. Further more, he'll run around the house in it all day if I let him. I doubt anyone out there will even make one, but either way I felt the need to show you how easy it is, or if you want to buy one, I sell them here.

Gather Materials.

Starting at top left.
2" x 27" Strip of decorative fabric
Raglan sleeve* with same decorative fabric
Bias Tape (I go the easy route and buy it) You'll need 2@ 15" strips and 2@ 9".
14" of 3/4" elastic
16" x 24" Kitchen Towel. (Smaller can work too, just add fabric where you are short!)
6" x 26" Reversible fabric for pocket (it will go upside down when un-snapped. Use a laminated fabric if you have it!)
Tie* cut from fabric of choice
Fork and Spoon* cut from fabric of choice
Hook and Loop, or other form of closure for back (I use a longer loop strip to allow for an adjustable fit)
Contrasting and/or coordinating thread.

* You can print my template from here on 8.5" x 11" paper. Do not scale or "fit to page".

Not pictured, but you will also need:
4 snaps if you are making the pocket
Wonder-Under or other fusible lining
It's also helpful to have a water-soluble pen to mark your towel

Sew on Raglan Sleeve Fabric.

Image 2:
-Draw a line down the center of your towel on both sides. This helps for placement.
-Place inner edge of raglan sleeve template 4" from center and mark where the cut will go across the rounded bottom edge. Sleeves should be 8" apart (you can do 7" for a smaller towel bib)
Image 3:
-Pin sleeve in place and zig zag stitch around entire edge staying as close to the edge as possible. (see image 4)
-Repeat on other sleeve.

Create Arm Holes.

Image 5:
-Cut around bottom edge where previously marked. Careful NOT to cut into stitching or up sides (see image 6).
-Repeat on other sleeve.
Image 7:
-With 1 or your 15" bias tape, snip the back part so the top will lay over the upper sleeve while the bottom part will fold over the edge of the rounded end.
Image 8:
-Pin in place. Make sure to snip the opposite side as well. Sew around about 1/4" from open edge of bias tape (see image 9). Be sure to so slowly over the rounded edge so you do not get pleats and remember to back stitch at beginning and end.
-Repeat bias tape process on other sleeve. Trim off excess Bias tape.

Finish Arm Holes

Image 10:
-Using your 9" Bias tape, pin over the edge of the inside arm hole, covering the loose towel edge. Trim any excess bias tape.
-Sew around in the same fashion, 1/4" from open edge of bias tape.
-Repeat on other sleeve.
Image 11:
-To reinforce the corner of the arm hole, run a zig zag stitch, back and forth, over the top of the inner arm hole bias tape to the raglan sleeve, connecting the two pieces with more stability. Be sure to lock your stitch at the beginning and end.
-Repeat for the other corners on both sleeves (see image 12).

Add a Fork and Spoon

Image 13:
-I can never get Wonder Under to pull off easily, so I trace my shapes, cut them out slightly smaller than the outline, and separate the fusible interfacing from the paper backing (see image 14).
Image 15:
- Using your center line and a measuring tape as a guide, place your fork and spoon where you like it, fold your pocket-to-be into place (it will be 4" deep) when you do this to see how it will look.
Image 16:
-Moving one at a time, place your fusible interfacing under each shape. Follow instructions on interfacing to adhere (I use a damp tea towel and iron for 12-15 seconds)
Image 17:
-Sew over your shapes. I attempted a "sketchy" look on these for the first time. (Using contrasting thread here would really make them pop)

Cover the Pocket

Image 18:
-Iron a 1/4" seam on one of the long sides.
Image 19:
-Pin the opposite long edge, right sides facing, on the front (the side with the fork and spoon). Each side should have an extra inch of fabric hanging over the edge.
-Sew along pinned edge with a 5/8" seam. Back stitch at beginning and end.
Image 20:
-Fold side edges to meet edge of towel. Iron in place.
Image 21:
-Iron 1/4" seam previously made back in place.
Image 22:
-Iron fabric open
Image 23:
-Turn towel over and wrap fabric around back side. Pin in place. Be sure to let the towel lay flat with no fold. The fabric should wrap around the edge like a quilt binding (this can be seen in image 38). Iron in place.

Finish Back Side, or "Smock"

-Sew around fabric pocket with 1/4" seam.
Image 24:
-Fold edges in when you get to them before going over corners.
Image 25:
-At the corners, with the needle down, lift the presser foot and turn fabric 90 deg. Remember to back stitch at beginning and end.
Image 26 & 27:
-I chose not to use fusible interfacing under my tie, but you can use the same process as for the fork and spoon if you'd like. Otherwise, just place the tie, lining it up with the top edge of the towel, pin in place, and sew it on.

Create the Casing for the Elastic Top

Image 28:
-I used a 1/2" bias tape maker to create a casing. Just insert fabric, pull it through and iron. Or iron 1/2" seams on both sides of your 2" wide strip of decorative fabric.
-You should now have a 1" casing to sew across the top of your towel.
Image 29:
-Sew one end of your casing with a 1/4" seam. Measured against the towel to give you the best fit, fold the other end under to cover the edge and give you a 1.5" - 2" tab on which to sew your hook and loop closure. Pin strip in place across top of towel.
Image 30:
-I place my needle as far right as possible and sew as close to the edge of my towel as I can, less than 1/4" if possible, just be sure not to go off the top edge of the towel.
-When you reach the end of the towel, continue on the fabric tab.
Image 31:
-At the corner, leave your needle down, lift your presser foot and turn 90 deg. Lower presser foot again and sew around tab, using this same method at the other corner of the tab.
-Continue sewing along bottom edge of casing with 1/8" seam.
-Be sure not to sew the side edges of the towel and the casing closed or you won't be able to put your elastic inside.
Image 32:
Using a large safety pin, slide you elastic in the casing.

Gather the Top and Sew on Snaps

Image 33:
-Inch your elastic along until the end can barely be seen, sew the edge of the casing closed making sure to sew back and forth over the elastic, holding it in place.
Image 34:
-Gather the top until the elastic comes out the other side. Stop when your safety pin is at the edge and sew back and forth over the elastic to hold in place.
Image 35:
-Fold pocket into place. Bring edge in slightly to create a bit of slack in front where pocket will drape open.
Image 36 & 37:
-Mark edge of pocket at end and directly under the arm hole with water soluble pen. Mark spot for snap on pocket. Lift and mark where the snap will go on inside, being sure two dots line up.
-Sew on snaps (see image 38).

Sew on Hook and Loop Closure

Image 39:
-Using a bit of Wonder Tape, place small hook and loop (hook side) on back of bib over the casing strip. Sew in place with big X across strip (see image 41)
Image 40:
-Again using Wonder Tape, place longer hook and loop (loop side) on the inside of the tab at other end. Sew in place again with an X across strip (see image 41 again)


Finished! Snapped in place, the pocket of the bib drapes open to catch the fallen. Tab closure at the back adjusts for a better fit. And inside out, with the pocket open the bib now becomes a smock to cover your kiddo through all sorts of art projects and what have you. Here's an idea... try edible finger painting!

I don't mind if you make these for selling locally, but I sell on Etsy, please respect that and don't sell on line any you've made using this tutorial. I'd love to see images if any one makes one!