Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Spa Birthday Gift

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I must begin by saying, that yes, my name is Meg...
and I am a craftoholic.

But you must also understand that I come by it honestly.
My mother is the worst.
My aunt, Maureen, is perhaps just as bad.
Between my wedding and my baby shower, I couldn't even tell you how many paper cuts were managed and bottles of wine consumed between the three of us putting together all the details (and loving every minute).

And now my older sister has become a birthday party hostess extraordinaire.
She's thrown cowgirl parties, superhero parties, and now...
The Spa Party.

I must have had an hour long phone conversation with my mom about the color theme, the favors, the crafts, the guests, and on and on and on...
For those of you that think this is just too involved for a kid's birthday.
You're probably right.
love this quote from Audrey
But whatever.

Well now she's turing the big 1-0...
10 going on 30, that is...

and decided that she wanted to host a few of her gal pals for a day of luxury.

From what I gather, Danielle prepared some really great ideas and "treatments" for the girls to enjoy.
I wish I could have been there, but I live literally across the country, so had to do my best to come up with a spa related gift for the little missy.

I've never been a girly girl.
And I've never been one for parents who let their little girls dress, act, and talk like adults as well as apply unnecessary make up to their already beautiful faces,
But I'm all for age-appropriate girl fun
and I know that Danielle, my mom, and I (and I'm sure many of you) are in agreement.

So I whipped up a few simple, handmade "spa" gifts and added them to some purchased "spa" gifts,
and I have to say, I'm happy with the outcome. I really hope she likes it. :)

I've included the tutorials for a few of the quick spa gifts below, first an eye mask,
and then what I'm calling a lavender scented "neck roll."
Eye Mask

This was simple to put together with scraps that I had.
A lovely piece of periwinkle floral cloth,
some minky fleece
and a piece of elastic

I cut a piece of paper to use as a stencil
(keeping in mind about 1/2" seam allowance)
and used that to trace the pieces for my fabrics.

I roughly measured around the back of my head and then shortened the elastic by about an inch to account for the smaller head of a 10 year year old.
(I know, real scientific)

Note: It helps to fold up a couple inched of your elastic in the middle and pin it so it doesn't get caught when you sew your mask.

Then pin you fabrics in place sandwiched together with right sides facing
and with your elastic centered on the sides

and sew around, leaving a hole big enough to turn it out when you're done.
Note: you'll probably want to backstitch back and forth at least once over the elastic to reinforce it since it will be tugged a few times.

Then, unpin, turn out, and press.
Top stitch around the edges, and you're done!


Neck Roll

I made this one with some leftover pieces of terry that I had.
You could use any fabric, really, but might I recommend something soft that you'll want to have against your skin? We are going to relaxing comfort, right?

Cut two rectangles about 5"x17".

Pin together with right sides facing (if you have right sides :)

and sew around the edges with 1/2" seam allowance, leaving a hole big enough to turn it out.

Unpin and snip your corners off.

Turn right side out.

Now to fill...

I used rice with some dried lavender that I had from the garden.
I found that a baby food jar was just about the right size to measure and pour easily.

Fill your jar with some rice (and the lavender if you choose).

and pour into the hole.

Now slide it all down to the bottom and pin it about 4" from the bottom like this.

And sew straight across.

repeat three more times until you have this.

Sew it closed!

Now you can warm it in the microwave or cool it in the freezer, whatever sounds best to you.
wrap it around your neck or place on your forehead for sweet relief.

Lavender Sachet

I had some lavender left over, so I put some in a sachet to keep in her drawer.
This way her clothes will smell as sweet as she is.

I made some tags for everything so she could tell what it is (mostly for the neck roll)

Happy Birthday Miss Ruby!
I hope you had a great party, and you enjoy some relaxation!

Friday, January 27, 2012

And Clearly I Have a Problem

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I'm a little embarrassed about this...

I recently set out to reorganize what I fondly refer to as my "studio space",
what my husband calls my "sweat shop,"
and what is, in actuality, a spare room on our third floor where I store all of  most of my crap.

And just as I was about to pat myself on the back for being so awesome about cleaning just like a good little new year's resolutioner...
I found a project that I didn't even remember having begun.
I couldn't even give you the details if I tried.
It must have been that long ago.
If I had to guess, judging from the other things I found in that general stash, I would say I started this about 2 years ago.

Yikes. I know. It's horendous, really.

But the good news is this:
I could tell what I had done,
and even better, where I was going.

So I was able to finish.
Thank goodness this isn't a total tragedy.

Here's what I do know:
The yarn is Loops & Threads "Impeccable" in true gray.

This was one of my first projects (if you're counting start date, of course) that I cabled.
I love cables.

I love buttons.
This is actually a functioning buton. It has what I'm calling a "prosthetic" botton on the front that is good-looking.

It has sew-on snap buttons on the inside that are not as good-looking, but very practical, indeed.

So that's it, folks.
Sorry I can't give you a tutorial.
I know the pattern, of course, but I'm almost certain it is not my own, so I can't share.
sad face.

Hope it inspires anyway.
It's at least inspired me...
to finish the things I start
because let's be honest: this is ridiculous.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Up-cycled Jeans to Toy Storage

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My find of last week...


I've never sewn with vinyl before, but I've been wanting to since seeing an explosion of post-Christmas storage ideas in the blogosphere.

FYI: I was perhaps a tad nervous about sewing with vinyl because it sticks to the sewing machine and to itself, but I found these great tips at Make It Love It.

Anyway, I especially liked these toy bags from Sew Fearless

My first destination of the fabric store is almost always the remnant pile, and I was so excited to find vinyl there last week... but it wasn't nearly enough to make the aforementioned,
so I had to come up with another alternative. I purchased the little pieces anyway and was able to get about 1/2 yard for 50 cents.

Remember my love affair with denim from the thrift store?
I had a ton of random jean pieces left over from my Pajama Eaters.
I had used larger men's jeans to make this project for my nephews for Christmas.
It worked out perfectly, but I had some random leg pieces and, for lack of a better phrase, the "rear area" left over.

After some rainy day tinkering, measuring, sewing, more tinkering...
I've made a couple windowed hobo sacks for Ben's blocks and Lincoln Logs.
Organization! HUZZAH!
I'm thinking I have enough vinyl and jean pieces left to make at least 2 more. We'll see if I ever get there. ;)

Anywayz, let's begin...

What you'll need:
medium to heavy weight fabric for the bottoms (mine was, of course, a remnant of medium weight home decor fabric)
leftover jean pieces or some other pair of pants (you could easily get one bag out of a pair of pants and have a ton left over)
a piece of vinyl for the "window"
rope, ribbon, shoestrings, or the like for the drawstring
regular sewing implements

Step One:
Cut all of your pieces.

First, cut a 9" circle out of your medium weight fabric.
You could use some snazzy instrument...
or if you have a Corningware casserole dish like I do... use the lid. :)

Then, cut a 5"x6.5" rectangle out of the vinyl.

You'll also need 2 3"x6.5" rectangles of denim.

I used a little bit of a leg piece that I had left over.

Now for that "rear" piece to which I referred...
Iron it out as well as you can
and measure a 9"x21.5" rectangle.

You'll want to make sure that you have at least a half an inch to the left, right, top, and bottom of the pockets for the seam allowances.

Lastly, you'll need a 8"x27" piece of denim.
This is a perfect use for a leg section.

Step Two:
Sew Your "Window."

Take one piece of your 3"x6.5" denim
and sandwich it with your piece of vinyl,
lining it up longside to longside.

And sew along this longside with 1/2" seam allowance.

Serge or zigzag your edge to prevent fraying.

Unfold your pieces and sew closely to the seam like pictured.

Line up the other 3"x6.5" piece of denim to the other longside of the vinyl and repeat so you have something like this.

Step Three:
Make the body of the bag.

Place your window piece face down on one side of your "rear" piece.

Pin at the top and bottom where the denim meets with denim.

Sew along this edge with a 1/2" seam allowance.

Serge or zigzag this edge to prevent fraying.

Open piece and sew along seam.

Make a tube by meeting your window piece with the other side of the rear piece.

Pin and sew with a 1/2" seam allowance.
Serge or zigzag your edge.
Open and sew along seam.

Turn right-side out and you'll have a tube like this.

Step Four:
Mark your "centers" of the bottom circular piece and the "tube" piece.

*This step is optional, but helps me a lot when lining up the circular bottom so it doesn't gather at all.

Mark a little "tick" at the bottom and the top.

Then mark the left and the right in the middle.

*Optional- snip the edges of your circle so that it will give a little more when you go to sew it on.
Make sure not to snip past the 1/2" seam allowance.

Flatten out your "tube," centering it on your work surface and mark another tick in the center at the bottom.

Do the same for the top and the left and right.

You should now have ticks marking the front, back, and sides of your bottom.

Now, just line up your markings for the bottom piece with the tube inside out and the circular piece upside down like shown.

Pin at your marks,

and then just work your way in, pinning as you go.
You should end up with your bottom pinned nice and evenly like so.

Now sew aroung the bottom with 1/2" seam allowance.

Remove pins and serge or zigzag your edges to prevent fraying.

Alright! Almost there!

Step Five:
Sew Your Top

Take your 27"x8" rectangle and fold, right sides facing so the short sides meet.

Pin in place.

Sew the short sides with 1/2" seam allowance.

Iron the seam open like this.

Now sew along both sides of the seam like this.
This will help hold the seam open, and you'll be able to feed your drawstring through easily later.

Iron over about 1/2" at the top.

and then another 1 1/2" again.
This will be your channel for the drawstring.

Sew along the bottom all the way around.

Step Six:
Sew It All Together

Slip your top piece, upside-down, over your bottom piece like shown.

Pin in place so your seam for the top piece is lined up with your tick at the center of your bottom piece like this.

Sew your pieces together with 1/2" seam allowance.

And (you guessed it!) serge or zigzag the edges to prevent fraying.

Pop the top up so everything is right side out.

Use a seam ripper to cut the seam in the middle of your channel.

Use a safety pin to feed your drawstring through.

You're done!

I got a few good "action shots"

but then Ben decided that he had bigger fish to fry.

I really enjoyed this one, and I hope that you will too.

And, let's be honest, it always feels good get a little organization mixed into the chaos.