Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sneak Peek At February!!

You guys wanna see a sneak peek at what's to come in February? Of course you do!! Well, I went to Hancock Fabrics this weekend as they were having a big Blowout Sale - up to 50% on select items!! I scored a bunch of fabric that I have plans for already, whaddya think of the colors and designs?:

I also got some D-rings so that I can make detachable handles/straps on the purses and clutches I want to work on for February:

Speaking of, here are some ideas of things I might work on/tweak to my liking to get things made to post in my store:

I hope you guys are excited for February! I know I am!! I can't wait to get started on getting some awesome things made with all that awesome pretty new fabric!!

Craft ya later!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Making Books Into Purses

I'm sure you're all aware of the craze going around right now of making a hardback book into a purse. I hadn't really thought about it's possibilities or potential until my friend Michelle asked if I wanted to go shopping with her to search for some candidates for the process! She sent me a few ideas of purses she'd seen:
From Etsy seller bibliobags

From Cosmo Cricket Blog

I like the idea of having a sturdy purse from the hardback book's frame, but I especially like the idea of having a sturdy type of case I can use as an idea sketchbook (the 2nd one).

After about 10-15 minutes of looking through books though, I realized something; I'm apparently a little picky when it comes to picking out a book to use for the sole intent of ripping out the pages and using the frame alone!! That and I'm kind of cheap and seeing as how the really nice ones were either really old (aka falling apart and/or printed decades ago) and/or really expensive, I couldn't bear the though of taking them apart to make a purse out of!

Therefore, I'm kinda glad I found the below 2 books, one in the kid's section for $5 (left) and one on the clearance shelf for $1 (right). The one on the right is actually written by one of the author's I normally read anyways, Kim Harrison, so I figured I'd go ahead and read it, THEN I'd tear it apart! I might try to see what adding other things to the front would look like and what options are best (between decoupaging, embossing, etc) but would be a good candidate for my idea book?

The reason I like the kid's book though is for the awesome images inside! I'm not sure I'll be able to use the book frame itself since it's a little on the small side, but check out the art inside!!:

I can totally see using these images for resin pendants, decoupaging, maybe even scrapbooking?? The possibilities are actually pretty endless!! I'll definitely have to make copies of the pages though first before I use any just because they're so awesome!!

Once I play around with these guys though, I'll show you guys what I come up with. But what about you guys? Have any of you converted a book into a purse? If not a purse, have you used hardback books for any other type of upcycling or repurposing projects? Let me know in the comments!

Craft ya later!

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Monthly Challenge - January Continued

I am still working on finishing my loom knitted scarves for January's:

I will show you guys scarves #4-#6 now, but I still have more ideas and I still have 4 more days to see how many more I can do!!!!

First off,  I finally finished that green scarf with the gold stripe!! YAYYY!!!!

What do you guys think?!?! Isn't it awesome!? Thing is, as much as I love how this one turned out, I either won't do another like it, or I'll just maybe have money for it next time... lol

Next up, I made another turquoise blue with fringe as the boss of the recipient of the last one wanted one so they could be twinsies! lol:

I love doing that single e-weave pattern cuz it's soooo easy and soooo fast!!

Next up, one I made for myself so that I can maybe wear it under my motorcycle jacket and keep my neck warm on those darn cold mornings:

I've had this yarn for a few years now and just didn't know what to do with it.....until now!! I just LOVE the way the rainbow colors are laced into the green, don't you?! I didn't use the full loom as it's 12 pegs on each side since I only had so much, so I'm really glad I made it only using the inner 8 because that's the only way I got it long enough to actually matter!!

Now, I know I promised a sort of how-to on making the green/gold striped scarf, but I went ahead and least took pictures to give you a good idea of how I did it. If you have done any loom knitting, or possibly just any knitting or crocheting in the first place, you'll probably understand better, but hopefully if not, the pictures at least give you some sort of idea on how I conceived the pattern:

The above picture shows you what it looks like before you start a row. The middle shows the first part of the gold weaving, doing a double e-weave wrap and then the 3rd picture shows the next step which is to wrap the gold around the middle two peg pairs to get a double layer only on those middle 2 pairs of pegs.

Next, I wrapped the green around using the double e-weave, wrapping the first and last gold pegs and crossing over the gold in the meantime. Lastly, I wrapped the green around the loom again, only, I skipped any gold pegs and only got the double layer on the green only pegs. Once you have 2 strands on each peg, you can loop the yarn over the pegs, push them down, and on to the next row!! To start and end the whole scarf, I just did 2 rows of green only, doubling up on all pegs using the double e-weave pattern.

Ever have one of those things you're trying to figure out how to do, or do better? You think and think and think, and you just cannot think of a good way to do it... then one day, BAM! You finally think of something that'll totally work! This was one of those things. When cutting pieces of yarn for fringe, it seemed a little hard to measure to match one piece, or guesstimate and then trim after. I decided I wanted to use a ruler last night but since I couldn't find any.... I grabbed a 3-hole punch that has about 9 inches marked off, put a piece of masking tape on the floor and just marked off increments of how long I wanted the fringe. This made cutting the fringe pieces soooo much easier, and I barely had to trim one little group of fringe after wards! w00t!

Alright guys! That's scarves #4-#6!! Later this week I hope to show you at least 2-4 more that I've done to complete my challenge for this month!! I want to use a gorgeous chocolate brown and gold I got of the Simply Soft - Caron yarn to do 2 different scarves; one with vertical stripes where the gold and brown overlap in the middle and the other with horizontal stripes between the 2 colors all the way through. I also want to maybe try and make a scarf with a gray and cobalt blue yarn and try something like a zig zag throughout the length...?? Either that or I'll just attempt to make a few cowl scarves with buttons to close them.

Craft ya later!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My First Zippered Pouch/Wristlet

Hi everybody!! I'm pretty excited to show you what I made last night; my first zippered, strapped pouch/purse/wristlet!!

Isn't it cute?! It's my first ever zippered little pouch/wristlet/purse!!! And I did 3 new things I never have before!!

The zipper isn't technically my first, but it may as well be!! I've only done one before on a skirt for a Halloween outfit and as those are only worn once or twice, there wasn't much care on installing it. Here's my purse zipper though:
What do you guys think?? Did I get the fabric close enough to the edge of the zipper?? I tried my hardest to make it a hidden zipper but apparently I might need a zipper foot on my sewing machine to really get that good! 

The next first was putting a gather on anything!! I did have to fiddle with my sewing machine a bit (since I didn't have my instruction manual with me) to get the long stitch tension set right, but I got it!! And then when I put the middle strip on, you can hardly tell that there were 2 different stitch lines, right??:

Then there was the wrist strap I put on here. I've never really done a strap on the other 2 little purses I've done (they were both kisslock, will show y'all later! ;) ) so I think this turned out pretty good!:

The inside is a little unfinished, but I wasn't focusing so much on it as I was on the outside and getting the previously listed new things done right:

After I finished it however, I found the most awesome thing about using this little guy; my cell phone totally fits in here!!! YAY!!!

Things I will definitely need to work on next time will be making the edges on the inside (way way wayyy) more finished, putting a pocket in the inside for cards (the one I tried to put in there, I cut it too small for the seams I did so a card would NOT have fit) and in general just get my stitchlines more smooth and uniform. 

I made this little purse loosely based on the following tutorial:

Noodlehead: Tutorial for making a gathered clutch

I only had a 6" zipper in my stash so that's the size I made, 6"x4", and I really only glanced at her tutorial for making the gather and the zipper installation itself so that means I made my own template pieces and measurements myself and the whole process with me trying to figure it all out in my head took about 2 1/2 hours!! 

The next one I make however I would like to make it more to her actual tutorial and see the difference (with the exception of the amount of extra fabric for the gather as I'd like more than what I have here and what she has on hers lol) between the two. I also definitely want to try a pocket again and see about getting one (or more?) in the inside of the clutch.

Lastly, making it to her tutorial, I'd have to figure out the little pieces she used to cover the ends of the zipper at the top as opposed to mine only going to the end of the purse sides themselves.

Stay tuned!!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Monthly All Girls Craft Group - January 2013

Yesterday was the first monthly all girls craft group we had and it was soooo much fun!!! And from what I heard from the ladies, everyone had a blast! This will definitely have to turn into a regular thing! ;)

We had it at my bff's house and had 2 long tables and 1 card table set up... There were 9 of us total, and everyone pretty much had their own things going on from playing with clay to learn new techniques...
I love all the pieces she made!! Especially the first attempt at the faux knit technique!! Isn't it fantastic?! And that owl is just so cute!!!
There was some work done with perler beads:

Scrapbooking was getting done. Yay for getting baby books worked on!!:

There was teaching even when Airon wanted to learn crocheting from Sarah since neither one of us can figure out how to get past that first chain stitch row!! (She's gonna have to teach me that later ;)):

And of course, like any good woman now-a-days, we can multi-task!!:
Airon ironing her perler bead flowers while having a beer. Definitely my kind of crafting!! ;)
Here's the few things I managed to get done myself. The left shows the 2 handwarmers/wrist wrests for using a mouse and the right picture shows the hand stitch closing. The pink was first so a little messy, but I feel the white is a little less conspicuous.
The next 2 pictures are the corners of the neckwarmer/wrist wrest for using a keyboard. I decided to try an all-around stitch so I could make it look a little more professional and to also not have to hand stitch the open end closed!! What do you think?? Can you tell that's what I did? ;)

 I did get a bunch of other pieces cut to just sit down and sew/fill later, so that's good at least.

With me trying to get some of my scraps used up, the other thing I decided to do when I couldn't cut the bigger pieces anymore is to cut 3" squares and set them aside so when I've got a good supply of those, I can make a sort of patchwork piece to cut other patterns out of for other projects. I'm actually a little excited to do that and see what it looks like and what I can make out of it... ;)

All in all though, this is definitely going to have be a regular thing!! Thanks to everyone who came out and hope to see you next time as well as some new faces!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

DIY Sewn Handwarmers - Tutorial

I, like many people right now probably, have been suffering from cold hands!! It's cold out there you guys!! Now, we may not be getting snow here in Texas, but being in the low 30s is still pretty darn cold for me, especially when I'm wearing my 4 layers on a regular basis....

Anywho, I decided I wanted to try and make my own little handwarmersjust like this fine lady over here that made handwarmers look like owls, NatashaGoes, only I wanted to make some of my own as a basic first try in squares.

Difficulty level: Beginner + 1 (Basic sewing machine skills needed)
Time needed: ~ 30 minutes or less (based on skill/experience) 
Supplies needed: fabric - enough for 4 5"x5" squares, matching thread, sewing machine, pins, scissors, rice, funnel, measuring cup/spoon, template and/or ruler 

I chose fleece I had in my fabric drawers in a white and lavender purple:

The yellow square is a piece of cardstock I have from a pack that measures about 4.25" x 5" that I used for a basic template:

Next, I pinned a purple and white together, right sides together:

Then under the needle we go! I used just a basic straight stitch at medium tension and length; these won't be something to wear nor fiercely handled. Note that I have not started at an edge nor in the middle, but closer to one side right past the middle. This is so once I get back around to this side on the other corner, I can stop sewing to leave a gap:

See the gap? I've stuck my seam ripper in there so you guys can see it properly:

Here we have both pairs of pieces sewn together: 

And now we flip them inside out. Through the gap you left earlier, push through a corner from the bottom and carefully pull the entire thing in on itself. Be careful not to rip the seams you made by sewing the pieces together in the first place:

The last bit of edges can be pushed out by sticking your finger in and poking in the corners. If you can't get your finger in there, use a small stick like a chopstick, pen, pencil, etc:

Once you do this to both, they should look about like this:

Next you need to gather your rice, funnel and measuring cup/spoon: 

For these small warmers, I only needed about 1/4cup of rice:

Funnel goes in the hole in your warmers, and the rice in the funnel:

You don't want to fill the whole bag to bursting at the seams, but you'll want to make sure it's mostly full:

Last step! All you have to do now is fold the edges under to match the seams you sewed previously and go under the sewing machine!!

Real quick note; make sure you put your foot down. I was so excited to get these done and distracted by the fabric being so darn thick in there, that I couldn't figure out why the heck it kept getting stuck!! Then I realized, when I reached back there to lift the foot up and get it all out to investigate.....the foot was never put down in the first place on this step!! Funny thing is, I did it right on the first one, this just happened on the second one:

Oh well, at least it's an easy fix!! Just open the door, get the bobbin out, and cut all those strings.

Well, there you have it!! you now have 2 awesomely soft handwarmers!! You can see where that external stitch shut was, but it's no biggie. This is about how professional cornhole bags look anyways:

I nuked one in the microwave for about 30 seconds and when I opened the microwave door, I could almost smell the burnt/cooked rice. Hmmm...... I took it out and it almost felt wet, like there was steam making the outside wet? Also, it didn't stay warm longer than about 20 or so minutes. 

I guess it's back to the drawing board? That is, unless I only need these guys to stay warm for about 20 minutes, which isn't that big a deal, but I want to try other fabrics as well as other sizes. I want to make one to put around your neck and see how well that works out. That and I want to try out making one cold and see how long it stays that way!

One thing's for sure, I had fun making these as they're very simple, and worst case scenario? I can make 2 more and now it's a set of cornhole bags for a kid's hands! :)