Sunday, January 30, 2011

Vote for Round 2!!!

The polls are open at Crafting with the Stars!!! I am thrilled with how my project turned out, and also impressed by my competitors. Head on over HERE and vote for your three favorite projects. I’m curious which ones are your favorites and which one you think is mine!

Tutorial: Sweatshirt turned Jacket

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My favorite piece from the Comfy-Chic Anthro-Inspired Ensemble (my entry for Round One of Crafting with the Stars) was the jacket.

I took this large, shapeless sweatshirt from Goodwill

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And turned it into this super cute jacket

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My inspiration came (loosely) from Anthropologie’s Swept Swag Sweatshirt.

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Wanna know how I made this comfy and cute top?

I liked how the Swept Swag Sweatshirt had the curve and connected at the shoulder. An asymmetrical front slit did the trick (look closely and you can see where I cut it).

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I also cut rounded the corners both at the bottom and top. I just free-styled it, but you could use a CD to trace the rounded corners first.

Then there was a lot of trying it on, going to the mirror in the bathroom, back to the sewing machine, back to the bathroom, the sewing machine… you get the picture.

I wanted a fitted look, so the first step in achieving that was making the back smaller. I simply folded the back in half and ran it through my serger. Please note: you really, really, really don’t need a serger to do this. I just liked using mine because I don’t have to pin when using it and it rims the fabric as I go.

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Later in the project, it seemed like the back stood up awkwardly off my shoulders/back (does that make sense?) so I cut in a bit (this time using my regular sewing machine because I was upstairs and my serger was downstairs and yes, I’m lazy). You can see in the picture below how my stitching was going straight and then sloped in. This slight adjustment made a HUGE difference in the fit of the jacket.

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The next step was adjusting the sleeves and the sides. I really didn’t want to have a modified sweatshirt look, so I majorly took in the sleeves. They now fit tightly to my arms. I just started at the cuff and sewed up the sleeve, turned the corner at the arm pit and sewed down the side seam. I cut of a TON of fabric during this part. And I did it in small increments—trying it on, seeing I could go smaller, etc, etc. You can also see how I angled in under the arm—this allowed it to fit to the body higher up and then loosly fall around the hips.

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When I tried it on at this point, the area around the shoulders fit funny—the shoulder seam sat in a weird spot and the sleeves looked almost puffy. All it took was sewing around the sleeve (be careful you don’t sew it closed). You can see in the picture how the grey serged stitch was the original sleeve seam, and I sewed below it. That did the trick!

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The jacket was taking a nice shape, but it didn’t have the wow factor I was looking for. So, starting at the shoulder seam and going down to the side seam, I sewed 5 rows of straight stitching around the edges. I also serged the raw edges of the sweatshirt. Again, you don’t need a serger to have a polished look on this project. You could skip that part all together.

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I also sewed five rows around the cuffs to help reduce the sweatshirt look.

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At this point I liked how it was coming together, but it still lacked wow factor.

(Finally I can show you an “in process” picture!!!)

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My star (Michelle from Someday Crafts) and I were stumped, so I asked my parents for input. My dad (go dad!) suggested that I needed a touch of red, like in the movie Sabrina when they’re doing the photo shoot and she put a red scarf on the ground to add a pop of color. My dad was so right!!!

I took a sweater that was in my Goodwill box and cut several strips of the ribbing. I then sewed it around the trim and it curled nicely to make it look almost like piping.

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I liked how sewing that on also kind of ruffled the jacket. My last step (or so I thought) was sewing button holes on. At this point I was in a HUGE rush. I only had 5 minutes before I was supposed to leave to take the pictures with my model. When I went to try the jacket on to place the buttons, I discovered I had sewn them on the wrong side!!! Thankfully, that meant they would be covered up. But I didn’t have time to deal with both button holes and sewing on buttons. So the buttons when on the top corner instead, and snaps were sewn underneath. I like the clean look of the buttons just sitting there without the pull of a button hole. Yay for a mistake turning into a great solution!

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When I tried this finished jacket on with the finished shirt (tutorial to come in a few days), I was so excited!!! The outfit finally had the wow factor I’d been trying and trying to find.

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The tutorial for the shirt and purse will be coming this week! Happy sweatshirt adapting and I’d love to see what you make if you follow this tutorial!

I’ve linked this up with 733’s Knock it Off Contest.

I’ll be linking up with some great parties. The buttons in my left sidebar link to their parties, and you can also check them out by clicking on my parties tab at the top.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Oh, What a Week!

Sorry for the lack of posts and the fact that I haven’t put up any tutorials from my Comfy-Chic Anthro Inspired Ensemble. I really was all set to get a tutorial up quickly for the sweatshirt-turned-jacket. And then I went and looked at the pictures I took in the process of making it. Yeah. Turns out I have a before, in process, and after picture. So I’m trying to figure out if just showing you pictures of parts of the final product and explaining what I did would do it would work, or if I need to go back and make another one. So much of this project was just making adjustments as I went. What do you think?

So between that dilemma, having Nolan’s sister in town and stay with us for two nights, my parents arriving, work, putting on Family Movie Night at church, oh, and a time consuming project for round 2 of Crafting with the Stars… not much has happened as far as getting blog posts up goes. But trust me, you’re going to love my entry for round 2. I so, so, so can’t wait to tell you all about it. Next week. After the results are announced.

But until then, I’ll leave you with a project I did to get my decoupaging wheels turning. It’s obviously not what I did for the contest. But it was a fun little Monday project.

I thought it would be fun to dress up the space above my headboard a bit. So I took an unused frame, some white computer paper, light blue tissue paper, Mod Podge and paint…

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And made a pretty, whimsical tree picture.

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The strips of computer paper were decoupaged onto cardboard, and then I used little pieces of tissue paper to make the big tree. Strips of tissue paper were twisted to make the small tree. After the Mod Podge dried, I used a platinum colored stamp pad to accent and shadow the trees a bit. I think they kind of look like vintage fabric art now.

It seemed like the picture needed a little something to go with it, so I tinted some Mod Podge green and used it to stick more of the tissue paper pieces all over a small candle holder/vase. Then I cut some small sticks/branches from a tree outside and covered in in blue-green tinted Mod Podge and tissue paper. I think they’d look sweet on a shelf above my bed, with maybe a little plaque as well?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Comfy-Chic Anthro Inspired Outfit

This was my entry for Round 1 of Crafting With The Stars.
Oh this outfit was a doozie of a project! I can’t tell you how many times I was back and forth from my sewing machine to the bathroom mirror. Oh, and we don’t need to talk about the failed attempt I made at a jacket. I kept feeling like I was missing the “wow factor.” It was finally, 5 minutes after I meant to be headed out to meet up with my model, that I felt like the outfit was complete and what I had wanted it to be all along.
I took this:

2 Dollar Store t’s, 1 men’s sweatshirt from Goodwill, 1 skirt from Goodwill, 1 sweater due to go to Goodwill (plus 1 not pictured), and 1 bridesmaid two-piece-dress from Goodwill

And turned them into this:
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The shirt, jacket and purse were all Anthropologie inspired: the Deuxhill Cowlneck, the Swept Swag Sweatshirt, and the Garden Accoutrement Bag (although certainly loosely interpreted).
I’ll be posting tutorials over the next week for each of these items. I’m guessing anyone who is interested will most likely be able to make the jacket and top, while the purse was pretty specific to what I found at Goodwill.
And I’m excited to announce that I made it on to Round Two of Crafting With The Stars!!! The next challenge is decoupage and I’ve already started on my project. I’m so excited about it and can’t wait to show you!

UPDATE: Want to make one of these items for yourself? Click HERE for the sweatshirt turned jacket and HERE for the bag.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Hungry Caterpillar Birthday Invitation

My little Jace turns 1 in just a few weeks. I can’t believe my tiny baby that struggled and struggled for 36 hours to enter this world is almost one.

 

 

Oh I miss that tiny little guy. At least I really LOVE this big guy

(I do love both these big guys, but am talking about the littler big guy in this picture)

 

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I’m having fun planning a Hungry Caterpillar party for him. Of course, the first step was the invitations. I had seen some really cute ideas online, but wanted to come up with something in my Silhouette software. Overlapping circles, welding them together, and then cutting in different layers allowed me to make exactly what I wanted. I love how they turned out and had so much fun dropping them in the mail!

 

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Incase you can’t read it, it says:

We can hardly believe a year has passed

Our little caterpillar has crown so fast!

Join us for some food and fun,

‘cause little Jace is turning one!

 

Don’t forget to vote at Sew Dang Cute for Crafting With The Stars!!!

 

Be sure and check out the awesome link out parties I’m joining in on. They’re linked in the left sidebar or up top in my parties page.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

It’s time to vote! It’s time to vote!

The polls have opened for round one of Crafting With The Stars. Just as I thought: I have some tough competition!!! I can’t tell you which project is mine, so just vote for your favorite three. Head on over HERE and vote! Those advancing to Round Two will be announced on Wednesday.

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so much i WISH i could show you

I have been busy, busy, busy this week creating something I absolutely LOVE. I wasn’t sure about how it was coming together until the last minute I had left to create when suddenly it changed from a project I was unsure of, to one that had the “wow factor” I was looking for. So much so, I had to go squealing, “It worked! It worked!” to my smiley almost-one-year-old. Oh, it’s so hard to not show you. But I have to wait. You can see it tomorrow, though, at Crafting with the Stars! (You just won’t know which one’s mine.)

 

And now I’m happily dreaming about my project for round two, should I make it on (I hope, I hope!). But I can’t share that with you either.

 

I’ve had a few people say they like the idea of a series on some very basic sewing skills, so I’ll be working on getting that together this week.

 

But until then, I’ll leave you with another picture of the cutest thing I ever made: Jace!

 

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Our Story: Me & Sewing

I learned to sew in middle school. Once a week, a few of my friends and I would go to the fabric store (I think it was House of Fabrics, then became Fabric Land, and ended up as Jo-Ann’s) where we were taught in a backroom how to sew. Looking back, signing me up for those classes were one of the most valuable things my parents ever did for me. I learned to follow a pattern, became familiar with a sewing machine, learned how to shop for materials, and had a lot of fun! I made scrunchies and vests and dresses and bags and may have had a sad attempt at a hat once. I wore most of what I made. The two items I look back on most proudly were a dress for my aunt’s wedding (I was the guest book attendant), and a jumper. I still remember wearing it to the 8th grade awards ceremony and being recognized for my contribution to the school’s yearbook.

Before leaving for college, I made myself a quilt. I felt confident doing so because of the classes I took in junior high. I used that quilt all four years and loved it (it still is used on the guest bed when my parents visit). I didn’t sew much after that, and then about two years ago decided to make a messenger bag style diaper bag for a friend. I remembered how much I loved sewing. After making a few more, following the pattern, I began to feel more comfortable just making it up as I went. I knew the basics and the techniques needed to make the bag. Because of that, I don’t use patterns for any of the purses and bags I make these days.

I bought a new machine with Christmas money a year ago (until then I’d been using my clunky machine from middle school). I hesitated at the time because I was worried I wouldn’t use it enough to get my money’s worth out of it. Nolan was commenting a few weeks ago that we never would have imagined how much I would end up using it.

My first clothing project since middle school was the dress I made for a wedding in August. I took so long reading through the pattern, reacquainting myself with terms like “basting stitch” and “seam allowance.” This one dress, though, reminded me how to piece clothing together. Since then I’ve been able to either use patterns or make it up as I go. There is so much value in learning to read a pattern—even if it’s just to master some basic techniques in order to “make it up as you go” more easily.

I’ve had several people make comments about wishing they could make some of my tops, but they don’t know how to sew. Or friends of mine have told me that they can sew, but they don’t know how to follow a pattern. And then I recently got an email from someone wanting to duplicate the Slubby Ruffles Top. She’s being an awesome mom and venturing into the world of following a pattern just to make this top for her daughter!

Because of that, I’d love to do a few tutorials that would go over how to follow a pattern, and then walk you through my creative process in designing my own clothes. That is, if you’re interested. Does that sound like a series you’d like, or has it already been done enough in blog land?

Friday, January 21, 2011

I Like to Party at the Sunday Showcase Party

I told you two weeks ago about how I’m a party girl—link up parties, that is. I love these parties. I participate in quite a few, and I know that there are even more that I don’t crash. As fun as it would be to party it up like a blog rock star, I have to limit my craziness just a bit. I’m a follower of every blog that I party at. And being a follower is a big deal for me. It means I actually read just about every post that blogger puts out there. I click on so many of the posts other partiers link up. And it takes a lot of time. It’s an investment, really. And while I have a link up party page that will send you to the sites that I party at, and I’ve just changed my blog layout so all their buttons are on my sidebar as well, I thought I’d give a bigger shout out to each of these hosts.

This week I’d like to tell you about why I like The Sunday Showcase Party at Under the Table and Dreaming by Stephanie Lynn.

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I like her party because I like her blog. And I like her blog because I like her projects! She makes cute stuff! Like these antiqued books:

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And she did a beautiful Thrift Store Mirrored Lamp Makeover:

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And this project made me wish I had a bay window. She did a tutorial on how to make a curtain rod fitted to your window.

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And just a few days after seeing this, Hooked on Houses did a post on Jennifer Lopez’s new house and how she decorated it. She has a bay window with a rod that looks just like Stephanie Lynn’s! Not only does Stephanie Lynn have a good eye for decorating and an amazing creative ability, but she also knows how to spot a special something. She features some fabulous projects from other bloggers. Her party starts on Saturday evenings.

Thanks, Stephanie Lynn, for being such a great host!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I’m a Contestant on Crafting with the Stars!!!!!!

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I am SOOOOOO excited to have been selected to be a contestant on the second season of Crafting with the Stars!!! I gotta tell you, I really didn’t expect to make it in! And the ladies I’m up against (you can check them out here) are some tough competition. Their projects are incredible! Don’t tell them, but I’m just a little intimidated. I’ve been paired up with an incredible blog star though, Michelle at Someday Crafts. I’ve stalked her blog and been so impressed by her work. I’m excited to get her feedback and learn from her as I make my projects. Our first challenge is dollar/thrift store. I’m looking forward to walking the aisles and getting some inspiration. Be sure and stop over at Sew Dang Cute to keep up on the competition and to vote (which starts Monday).

Valentines Felt Flower Wreath

Jenny at Embellishing Life posted about her adorable valentine wreath a little while back. I loved it, so I bookmarked it. And now that Valentines Day is less than a month away, I felt like it was time to bust out one of my own. I thought I’d add a touch of pink to mine as well. I picked up some felt at Joann’s and a wreath form at the Dollar Tree. I did red rosettes around the top two thirds, and the pinks in no particular pattern around the bottom third.

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Because my wreath form was thinner, I felt like it still needed a little something. So I made some pom pom flowers like Ashley at Little Miss Momma did a tutorial for. It added just the right touch at the bottom of the wreath.

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Then I just tied some red ribbon to hang it with, tiptoed out on my rain soaked front porch and with cold, cold feet, admired my wreath.

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I could have waited to take pictures in the daylight, but knowing me, I’ll be running late in the morning. And then I’ll forget when I come home in the afternoon, and I’ll remember when it’s dark again. So, instead, you get to enjoy looking at it through the reflection of my flash.

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I love it. But I didn’t admire it for long. My feet were cold and wet.

 

UPDATE!!!

I actually woke up on time today, got ready quickly and had the time to take some pictures of the wreath! So here you have it, in daylight!

 

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Please take a moment to check out the wonderful link up parties I’ll be joining up with. You can check them out in the side bar to the left or on my link up parties page!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cooking Spice Subway Art

I’ve loved all the subway art pieces around blogland, and when I got my Silhouette for Christmas, I knew I wanted to make one for my kitchen. I just needed to find the words. Pretty quickly I liked the idea of using the names of spices. I’m not sure subway art was the wisest idea for an early vinyl project, but I sure did get to know my machine and its product very well, very quickly. I painted a canvas dark red for the backing and used the cream vinyl that came with my machine. Has anyone else had issues with getting the Silhouette brand vinyl to actually stick to your project? I had tons of issues on this project, and the baby sleeping sign I made for the outside of my house keeps trying to come off. (As a side note: I have purchased vinyl from another vendor that works much better, I’m just curious if I’m the only one have the Silhouette brand issue.) After several lost letters and a few misplaced words, I finally finished it and loved the outcome!

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Nolan’s mom gave me a few more antique tins, an old potato masher and egg beater for Christmas, and my mom gave me a milk can from Hobby Lobby. She met the store in Pensacola, FL over Thanksgiving while visiting my brother and instantly fell in love. My sister-in-law and I benefited nicely! It was fun adding the new pieces in and putting the sign up above my kitchen cabinets. While it doesn’t fit as well with the vintage styling of the rest of my décor, I still like the way it looks.

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I made another vinyl sign on the same color of canvas to replace the Enjoy sign (I explained how I made it here), but in the end Nolan and I both liked the original sign better. I think I’m happy now with the way my kitchen looks, but I doubt I’d reject additional vintage pieces for it!

Check out the great parties I’ll be linking up with by checking out the sidebar or my link up page. While you’re at it, feel free to read up on why I party where I do.

Oh the joys of a power outage

Yesterday I woke up to the sound of the power going out. You know, the sound of a suddenly silent house? The heater quit, the baby monitor went off, the alarm clock clicked off. Things came back on, then off again. Then back on, and then off again, and stayed off. It was wonderful (said sarcastically). I had baked French toast in the oven for Nolan's birthday breakfast in bed. My hair was a crazy, pillow-dried mess than needed to be flat ironed before church. Not to mention all the other little things I appreciate that come with power. Thankfully, the breakfast was almost done baking anyways so I just let it sit in the oven for a little longer. We had a romantic, candlelit breakfast, packed up my make up and hair stuff, woke up Jace and headed to church. I stopped at the office on our way in to finish getting ready and we hoped the power would be back on when we got home.

That afternoon, the power was back, but our internet wasn't. A sad red light told us our modem was dead. It didn't appreciated the flickering power that morning. My wonderful husband brought home a modem on his lunch and restored our internet! Unfortunately, though, my computer has been slowly deciding to remove necessary abilities that can't be restored... basics like the battery meter and the ability to connect to wireless networks. Unless the network was already saved (like our old home wireless and the one at work/church), I can't discover or connect to it. So I'm on Nolan's laptop. All my blog posts are saved on my laptop. I had a great one planned for today! But you'll have to wait until tomorrow when I'm at work, connected to a wireless network that my computer already recognizes.


So until then, I'll be enjoying reading all of your posts! Happy Modems to you!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Super Mario Bros Cake

Today is my husband Nolan’s birthday. He’s pretty neat. He wouldn’t let me tell you this if I asked permission, so I’m not asking… He is the person who makes all my creative projects and decorating work. I have the initial vision, but he is the one who always comes up with the detail that makes it great. He’s a civil engineer and incredibly smart and good with numbers, but he’s also really good at knowing how much I should tilt an antique cookbook, or how to balance the décor on my mantle, or even when to not make a wreath too full. I love this guy.

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Because I love him so much, I wanted to make him an extra special birthday cake. The guy loves video games. But he calls himself a social gamer because he finds just as much joy in watching someone else play as playing himself. So I thought it would be fun to make him a Super Mario Brothers themed birthday cake.

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The green mushroom is 1 Up, another life, so that seemed fitting considering he’s going 1 up with his age (29!).

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He had asked for a chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting, so I tinted the frosting. The top is two shades of green like the different hills in the game. The question mark box has a brick box on either side (you never know if they hold coins or not!).

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I did “bricks” around the sides.

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I forgot to pick up blue dye at Joann’s while getting my other cake decorating supplies, and Safeway was all out of food coloring while I was there, so I had to use a package of blue cookie icing. I ran out of cream cheese frosting, so I couldn’t thicken it up at all, so it ran and dripped all down the back of the cake. The green mushrooms slowly slid down as the day wore on. Nolan said it was fitting with the game, after all, it never stays still and you have to catch it. What a sweet guy. 

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Happy Birthday Nolan!

Go here or check out the sidebar to the left to visit the fabulous parties I'll be linking up with!