Tag Archives: crafts

All growth does not take place in sunlight

The best pillow.

I had an epic sewing day, catching up possibly as much as two years of mending and hemming, which put a lot of clothes back into my wearable circulation.

I also made this wonderful piece of embroidery into a pillow (case? sham? cover?  cover.)  — pillow cover, complete with buttons to get it off the pillow for washing, done with the buttonholer!!

 

Christmas Gift Sacks

Consider a reusable alternative to gift wrap.

Gift wrap is lovely, and fun to be creative with, but it does take time to fold all those corners.  Personally I’d love to be a mall-wrapper, at least once, but not everybody enjoys wrestling with gift wrap.

Paper is single-use, and generates waste (bigtime).  img_4660

There’s enough time left before the holidays to make some fabric bags to “wrap” with.

These use up scrap fabric, can be gifted back and forth, utilize waste, and frequently are part of the gift, as they might get used year-round to put things other than gifts in (like my Kindle, socks, and headphones).

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It’s just a square or rectangle of fabric folded in half, sewed up bottom and side, and turned inside out.  The pinked edge is a nice touch, and a ribbon can be tacked on, as shown, or…

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You can get fancier and sew a pocket with one or two drawstrings.

My mom made all of these, and many more.  They arrived in last year’s Xmas box, and some of them will go back this year (sneak preview!).

She also used new dishtowels and  facecloths (the small bags that just fit a hand, or a bar of soap, were promptly used in the shower).  Some had shoelaces for drawstrings (getting masculine – bootlaces in corduroy bags).

The smallest are the washcloths, and they range up in size and dimensions to … very large.  The size of a big pillowcase (speaking of which, a pillowcase would work great with a ribbon).  The sky’s the limit really.

Happiness Jar

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When I saw this on Facebook I loved it and immediately shared it, saying “So doing it!”.  I didn’t immediately do it, though, knowing that it would be there on my FB so I couldn’t forget.

Then I was in my friend’s kitchen and she proudly showed me her fancy happiness jar on the kitchen table.  Not only that, she described how she had shared my share, and some of her FB friends had enthusiastically announced they’d made theirs before she had.  Uhoh, she thought, I have to get mine in action, I posted it and they’ve already done it.  That made me feel a little more queasy, as I hadn’t done it yet, and there were already certainly two degrees, possibly three, of enactment already sparked from my post.

Well, it’s done now, and we had several slips to top it up with from the first month of this year.

I love this idea because it has multiple elements of happiness-causing behavior.  It creates a tradition, creates a handy year-in-review memorabilia, and amplifies happiness by creating (at least) two chances to recollect the happy event: in the writing it down and the year-end reading.  The slips can all be stuck on something, laminated, reduced on a photocopier, or photographed to make something artistic and lasting yet small.  Brilliant!

Here's mine
Here’s mine

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Reindeer

The hatch-battening days have struck.  Today was not cool by numbers, but had that piercing quality that makes you wish you were wearing a warmer hat, and mentally assess your coat and scarf and mitten collection.  Will it be enough?  The days that soberingly remind you that winter is cold, and reminds you what that feels like.

Inspired by the possibility of earning a little money at Xmas craft fairs, today the kids and I opened Santa’s workshop and made some prototype reindeer.  First we filled the back of my sexy new truck with branches and dragged them home, importing that wonderful wood and snow smell of Christmas.  It went incredibly well.  The green wood was really easy to cut and drill, and the process was creative, flexible, and rewarding, rarely frustrating.  The oldest boy amazed me by pumping out three different sizes.  The smallest one is only an inch and a half tall.  The “head twig” was too tiny for him to drill for antlers.  We’ll see how large a team, or herd, we can create tomorrow.  This should be good.

Its almost like they hatch- they just come together as though they were meant to, and then they emerge- full of personality and mocking their intended design, if you started out with one.

It’s Halloween costume time.

A couple I know with three children have welcomed Kevin and I into their backyard, and they have the grace to make me feel entirely welcome and comfortable in their house at all times, like an unplanned roommate.  I feel quite useful with my sewing skills, and have started early on the kids’ costumes.  With so much time, we’ve tackled some most imaginative ideas.

IMG_0017The oldest boy is going to be a shark, formerly a fair-prize-sized stuffed dolphin, emptied of its stuffing.  It’s taken some work to make the transition from a friendly looking dolphin to a shark menacing and realistic enough to satisfy an 11yr-old.

The littlest girl wanted to be a Smurfette, so I created a one-piece leotard that zips up the back out of a garishly blue woman’s sweater.  That’s her smurf skin, topped by the white dress (made from an adult white t-shirt) , a blond wig, white stocking hat (made from another t-shirt with a handful of polyfil stuffing for the distinctive shape), and some white “shoes” made out of some fleecy slippers that velcro over her normal shoes.  Impossibly adorable.

The middle boy wanted to be a dead Energizer bunny (a crafty bit of anti-brand attitude I thoroughly appreciated), so I started on a one-piece back zippered bunny suit that resembled pink Pjs but for the integral hood.  Just after the requisite larger than life ears were ready, he decided he wanted to drop the Energizer part and just be a dead/zombied pink bunny.  Supporting the ridiculously large ears wasn’t easy, and I didn’t think it would work at times, but they turned out amazing!  Almost half his height again tall, the giant ears defy gravity and are very adjustable. Continue reading It’s Halloween costume time.

I learned something about rag rugs.

I learned something about rag rugs.  They take a long time to do.
And smaller is not better.

I cut all of the first strips about a half inch wide.  I was surprised at how long the strip-cutting took, too, as I patiently worked beside the fire pit cutting long continuous strips out of my rag bag.  The braiding was the fastest step of all, and very satisfying- somehow even the ugliest fabric looks really cool braided against complementary colours.  However, all the work I did to make the strips long and continuous was pointless, because long strips just tangle and fray the more they’re handled.  Short workable strips worked in are the way to go.  And then, the sewing.  That’s where I really learned to start wide at the very beginning.   The tinier the little braids are, the more sewing there is.  I hand-whipped the braid all together in a back and forth rectangle.  The end result is beautiful, but small and not very thick.  It would actually make a really pretty placemat.  My second rug was more respectable, but it could be thicker again.

Tips for rag rugs- start large.  A good two or three inches wide for the rag strips at the beginning would make a respectable gauge of braid.  Always keep one of the strands under two feet long during braiding.  And whip tight.  The braids have lots of flex in them and stretch out to shape nicely.