Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Halloween Submissions

Oh wow, this one's gonna be a doozy. Hypothetically speaking, if I (Sara) were voting I'd have a terrible time picking between these Halloween crafts. I adore the pillow, but am a total sucker for anything made of felt + sequins ... and Sarah's Garland is no exception. Eek! that candy corn just makes me grin!

For the details & bigger pictures of the ...

Pom Pom Pillow, click over here &
Garland, click over here.

Good luck picking your favorite & please vote for your choice!

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Halloween Pom Pom Pillow - Challenge Submission

I find it a lot easier to write a blog post when there is a "story" behind the project. In this case, there is ...

Last year after Halloween, I went to my fave local fabric shop (Scrapbooks, Etc.) and found this awesome Moda fabric on the 50% off table. It's called Haunted Mansion and it's an awesome combination of MUTED fall colors with a little spider pattern and some polka dots. I snatched up two yards. I envisioned making something for the kitchen table with it, but since I still use plastic placemats for the kids, I didn't see the use (and I already have a collection of table runners!).

Then the other night, Sarah was over and I was showing her some stuff in the craft room and I pulled out the fabric to show her. Meanwhile I committed a 'sin' in the knitting world and CUT some yarn that was tangled up (I've spent hours in my life meticulously untangling yarn vs. cuttign it). I laid the cut yarn on top of the pillow and saw a perfect combination! How well do these yarns compliment this fabric?

Hence, the search ensued to find a Halloween Craft that combined both fabric and yarn. I thought back to seeing this pillow by Living with Punks and had one of those a-ha moments! The perfect craft ... I whipped up the pom poms during last week's Project Runway (yay Olivier's gone!) and made the pillow in about an hour. It wasn't very hard, and I LOVE the turnout.

I have lots of other Halloween crafts in my mental queue, so here's hoping I get to them before the big day. I especially want to make at least one other pillow by painting big orange polka dots on linen on some linen blend - using this technique.

In the meantime, happy Halloween crafting and take a sec to vote for your fave project! ;)

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Halloween Garland: Challenge Submission

I was less than inspired when faced with this Halloween challenge initially. I jumped from idea to idea to idea. I settled on some sort of garland, and things just exploded from there. I ended up with ten adorable Halloween ornaments and a set of patterns posted in the Sara vs. Sarah Etsy shop!

I definitely went overboard on this one, but once I got rolling, I couldn’t stop! The whole thing went together surprisingly quickly.

Believe it or not, I had everything I needed in my stash. Yes, that’s how much crap I have. It’s ridiculous, but it sure comes in handy when inspiration strikes.

If there’s one thing that both Sara and I agree on, it’s that there’s nothing cuter than a felt and sequin ornament. We’re crazy for them. Now they’re not just for Christmas any more.

Be sure you vote for your favorite project. And leave a comment if you would. We love hearing from you!

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Can of Worms

Warning - picture overload! So recently, I bought some pants for my daughter and loved them so much. I looked at them for a while and thought, I bet I can make those. So I gave it a whirl.

It worked! And now I've opened a can of worms in realizing that I can re-create storebought pants! Now that I understand the basic construction of pants, I get it. There are 5 pieces: 2 front pieces, 2 back pieces & a waistband.
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Monday, September 26, 2011

Scrap Quilts Again

I’m starting to sound like a broken record here, but I’ve been sewing up my friend Denise’s waste triangles again!

She gave me these a couple years back which is when I started work on them. I then abandoned them for awhile in the back of a drawer. Why? I don’t know why. The blocks were so close to being done. It’s just what I do. I need to let them age like a fine wine.

I’m auditioning the lime green fabric for the background. I like the lime green, but don’t love the print, however, I’m trying to stick with what I have in my stash rather than buying something new (if you could see my enormous stash, you’d understand why). I think it will work fine.

Next up from the piles of Denise leftovers, these cuties.
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Friday, September 23, 2011

Upcycled Iowa Hawkeyes Dress aka "Go Awkeyes"

When it came time to box up, donate or otherwise get rid of "baby clothes" I had a really hard time getting rid of things. I mean my 'babies' were practically babies together at only 14 months apart, so I coped by keeping PLENTY. This particular onesie is one of the little treasures I just couldn't part with :) And, now I'm so glad I kept it.

I debated turning it into a doll outfit, but ultimately I decided to UPCYCLE it for the girls! It was so darn small (0-6 months) that I had to cut and patch it ... I'm pretty thrilled with the turnout. I've been on a fabric shopping spree lately and had this awesome black / yellow / white / grey number on hand. I like the overall turnout.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Our Next Challenge

Projects are due on Wednesday!

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

And the Winner is...


With 26 votes to Sara's 8, Sarah wins with her project, the Shrinky Dink Dog Tags.

To read more about the Shrinky Dink Dog Tags, click here and here.
To read about the Portable Dog Bed, click here.

Check back with us tomorrow to see what we'll be up to next!

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What to Do with "Waste" Triangles

I have mentioned before that I am a collector of other people’s scraps. I’ll take scraps from anyone, but I love my friend Denise’s scraps the most as she is a prolific quilter and she has great taste in fabric. I particularly love the triangles.

Some people call these waste triangles as they are cut off the corners when making other units such as half square triangles or flying geese, then thrown away {shiver}. I think they are the greatest thing in quilting!

I chain piece them together.

Press them open.

Trim them down to a uniform size.

Them sew them into blocks. In this case, I’ve made the “broken dishes” block, one of my favs.

Like all quilting, there are many steps in this process and it can get a little tedious, especially since I’m working on such a small scale. As you can see here, all these blocks need to be trimmed down to a uniform size which means several nights in front of the TV (see previous post about cutting in front of the TV here).

But the reward is great. How cute are these blocks? The unfinished size is 2.75 inches.

My plan is to sew them together with an alternating solid block. When finished, I should have a nice sized baby quilt. I don’t know anyone having a baby right now, but rest assured, someone will have a baby and I’ll be ready for it.

I’ll be sure to check back in when the top is finished.  In the meantime, tell me what you do with your scraps!

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Shrinky-Dink Dog Tags: The Tutorial

Let’s get down to it.  We’re here to make some Shrinky-Dink dog tags.

I’m amazed that a lot of people don’t seem to know what Shrinky-Dinks are.   They were a crafting staple when I was a kid so I assumed they were for everyone.  I guess not.  Anyhow, they are sheets of plastic that you can draw on with markers, pencils, pens, etc.  Then you can cut them out and shrink them in the oven.  When they shrink, the plastic gets thicker and stronger.  Perfect for a dog tag!

What’s great is that these days, they have printable Shrinky-Dink sheets that you can run through your ink jet printer.  A pack of 6 sheets cost about $8 after using my 40% off coupon at the local Hobby Lobby.  I could fit 8 on a sheet so that’s 48 tags for the price that one would cost at that big box pet store.  Ha!

To make this project you will need:
·        Printable Shrinky-Dinks
·        A good, sharp scissors
·        A quarter inch hole punch
·        An oven or toaster oven
·        Parchment or a brown paper bag
·        Spray sealer
First, you need to create your design.  I used Illustrator to design my dog bone shaped tag, but you can use whatever program you have available to you.  If you prefer, buy the regular Shrinky-Dinks and draw your design free hand.  You can use markers, colored pencils, pens, rubber stamps, or anything else that will stick to the surface.  You want to draw your design about 2-3 times as large as you want the final product to be.
My design printed on paper for a test run.
Next, cut out your design.  Use a small scissors that is sharp all the way to the point if you have one.  It will help you get into the nooks and crannies.  You could also use a craft knife and cutting mat if you wanted.  Craft punches work great, too.  As a matter of fact, that’s what I used to make the hole for the ring—a regular old ¼ inch hole punch.

My tag before shrinking is much larger than it will be after.
Preheat your oven or toaster oven to 275 degrees.  Cover your baking sheet with parchment or a piece of brown paper bag.  Place your cut out tag on the parchment and stick it in the oven for about 3 minutes.  It will probably start to curl and shrink within the first minute.  Don’t worry, it will flatten itself out.  Once it is into it’s fully shrunky-dunk state, pull it out of the oven, and remove the parchment from the baking sheet.  Let it cool.

Finally, the package instructions say to spray the finally product with a sealer to keep the inks fresh.  I used glossy because I like shiny things.

I do have a few other tips if you decide to try this yourself:
·        The Shrinky-Dink sheets are smaller than a normal letter-sized sheet of paper.  Keep that in mind when creating your design.  Keep everything centered on the page so it doesn’t get cut off when you print.
·        I created a semi-circle on top of my tag for my loop.  Make sure it’s big enough that after you punch it and it shrinks, it will still be thick enough to stand up to doggish shenanigans.  In other words, don’t punch too close to the edge.
·        Colors will darken and intensify when the Shrinky-Dink is shrunky-dunk so make sure your original design is a couple of shades lighter than you want the finished product to be.
·        If you want to be really cheap, instead of buying Shrinky-Dink sheets, you can use any plastic that is marked with the number 6 (like clear plastic containers that berries or prepared salads often come in). Before hitting the craft store, check your recycle bin!

That’s all there is to it.  Make yourself a whole sheet of dog tags at once and never have to buy them again.  
A dog as cute as this needs an extra cute dog tag.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Challenge No. 28 - Pets ... The Submissions

Shrinky Dink Dog Tags, read more here.
Portable Dog Beg, read more here.

Voting opens NOW and runs through Tuesday @ midnight!

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Portable Dog Bed - Pet Challenge Submission

Coming up with an idea for this challenge was easy for me, because we JUST went camping and of course, we took our beloved Sammy the Dog. She is our first child and tag along whenever possible. She LOVES camping! This picture was taken over Labor Day at Knoll Lake, Arizona where we camped for the weekend. She was just a perfect camping dog .. she let us know whenever there was noise, she ate the fallen food from all SIX children who were there, she lounged by the fire, and of course she took a dip in the lake! In other words, she had a blast! 
OMG I love her! (@ camping over labor day)
 Now our first night, it got COLD and what do you know ... as soon as we opened up the tent to get in, she just followed us! She's no dummy ... she wasn't about to sleep alone when she could get in the confines of the tent and cuddle! She was so funny - she curled up into a ball at the foot end of the tent and slept there contently all night. Of course, I gave her some extra blanket to sleep on so she wouldn't be uncomfortable (the horror!) and shared a cover up blanket with her too- she may look tough, but she's really a cupcake.

The blanket spread out --- it's half the size of a beach towel.
Back to the challenge ... all weekend, I was so happy w/ how much fun she was having but I kept feeling badly that she didn't have her bed. That ground was hard after all. So, when I was thinking about this challenge,  I knew I needed to make her a portable bed.

I came across this one at Martha Stewart and ran w/ the idea. One requirement for my "travel cushion" was to make Sammy (short for Samantha) a GIRLY bed ... everyone always thinks she is a boy! So I picked an old pink beach towel.

My modifications were to just use one beach towel doubled over vs. two towels. I also added an elastic strap so that it can easily roll up and be stowed away for the next outing ...whether that is camping or her friend Ramsey's house for a sleepover. If you don't click to Martha's webpage  - basically this is two layers of quilt batting encased in an old beach towel. You cannot see it in the pics, but I sewed around the outside edges and created grids in the Portable Dog Bed so the batting doesn't move around w/ washing (think a duvet cover with those "boxes" in it).

I'm really pleased with the outcome  - this is definitely something we'll use and it was nice to craft for "Tam-Tam" this round!

It rolls up nice & tight
Geez, I love this dog. Well really, I think our whole house does...

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