Friday, January 30, 2015

Philadelphia Art Museum

Since I'm such a SoCal girl, snow is still magical to me, so I couldn't resist taking some pretty snow pictures while I was in Philadelphia. I'm just glad I didn't get stuck at the airport like last year!

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I've been to the snow in the mountains before, but it just feels so different to see snow in such an urban setting. I would love to live in a snowy area - I think I'd make a good East Coaster ;)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Jake's College Fund Piggy Bank

I just wanted to quickly share this little guy that I doodled on. My parents were giving a cash gift to my young 4 year old cousin for Christmas (by request of his mother who lives in a small SF apartment and is up to her ears in toys), and so we thought this would be a cute way to give the money.

This is just a plain white ceramic piggy bank - from Hobby Lobby I think, and I used gold and silver Sharpie paint pens to decorate both sides.

I filled one of the sides with some random swirls in gold and then added in dots and highlights with the silver. I actually had kind of a hard time coming up with nice swirls that weren't too hokey-looking (i.e. like something 10 year old me might have drawn in the margins of the class notes), but I think it turned out nice!

college fund piggy bank

I'm hoping that by posting this, other people will be able to use this as inspiration (or a template!) if they also find it difficult to creatively fill a surface with doodles. (Side note: you know who is the freaking master of creative doodles? Alisa Burke. That is one talented lady.)

As always, I would love to see your DIY project if you make this!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Neapolitan Baby Set

First up in the holiday making craze is this adorable Neapolitan colored baby hat and booties set.  This one has been a surprising favorite among Ravelers because y'all are just suckers for tiny things with ears aren't you?

Neapolitan Baby Bear Hat

You can see more of the specifics and my notes about the patterns and yarn on Ravelry: hat and booties. I made the 6 month size for the hat and rolled the brim up.

Neapolitan Baby Bear Hat

It was super easy to whip this up, I finished both the hat and booties in a couple of hours during the post-Christmas dinner lull. We even went out and bought a skein of this Bernat baby blanket and a J hook at Wal-mart on Christmas eve because my mom just decided that she needed a handmade gift for a baby shower like now

Everyone loved these when I finished, so they make a great project especially for new crocheters - very fast with super bulky yarn and maximum cuteness! I hope it fits!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Here's to 2015.

This more or less captures the essence of my holidays (but my life is not as cute as this illustration).

There was a lot of crafting, cat petting, eating, and snuggling up in my new giant scarf and pj pants.

Will you keep me warm this winter
Illustrations from a McDonald's ad (with this adorable song) if you can believe it :)

Will you keep my heart out of the cold

I just got back from Philadelphia, so I've been getting back into the swing of things with work and cleaning my room after the craftermath of the holidays. Look for a couple of handmade gift posts coming soon!

In other news, I've joined Instagram! You can follow me if you like - it'll mostly be craft WIPs, bikes, guinea pigs, and San Diego!

Let's hope 2015 is a more productive year around the blog :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Everyday Cloth Napkins

Everyday cloth napkins

We used to use a lot of paper napkins and paper towels when we ate our meals, and it seemed so wasteful to throw away so much paper that didn't even get that dirty. (I like to think we're pretty clean.) We finally decided to take the plunge and go the cloth napkin route, but we still use paper towels in the kitchen because eww no - I can't even imagine "reusable" kitchen rags let alone cloth diapering *shudder*.

We went and picked out several cute quilting cottons (100% cottons seem to be the best and cheapest for the job), and I bought 1/2 yard of each. 1/2 yard = 2 napkins. At first I tried to do a general color scheme, but I quit that real fast so now I can indulge my whimsical erratic style with whatever fabric strikes my fancy. Also, it's fun to pick out stuff from the red tag clearance section when it's an additional half off.

I'm sure there are many tutorials out there on how to do this, but I liked this one by Pretty Prudent the best. I cut my squares into 18"x18" (because 1/2 yard = 18", but of course you could always get a 22" cut and squeeze out exactly 2 napkins from 42" fabric). I then pressed ~1/4"-1/2" hem and again - just eyeballed it, no need to measure.

Mitered corners

Ahh, a beautiful mitered corner! Tip: If you're going to make several of these at a time, do it assembly line style, and do all the marking, then all the corner seams, then the final hem. It goes pretty fast this way! I've already made four more napkins since I took these pictures!

It's so much fun to have these pretty and colorful napkins at the dinner table. We like to pick out which ones "go best" with the overall feeling of the meal, is that totally weird?

And while we're being totally honest, we like to wash these after several uses, they're just not that dirty after a single use. What's the consensus on this one? (If you use cloth napkins) Do you wash them every time or are you ok with just throwing them in the laundry when the load has a little extra room? Chime in and let me know if you agree or think I'm a dirty dirty slob! :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Reusable Shopping Bag

I've been flexing my sewing muscles lately by making a new grocery bag! Our old bag was a freebie I got at work and was at the point of disintegrating (and butt ugly to boot!). I forget exactly who said it, but life is too short to be carrying ugly bags! It was the kick in the pants that I needed to whip up this shiny new bag.

I found this beautiful printed canvas at Hobby Lobby, and I couldn't leave without it, but since I didn't have a project in mind for it, I bought a measly quarter yard and figured I'd whip up a basic tote bag or something.

Fortunately, after a little scrolling through Pinterest, I discovered this genius tutorial from Terry Ann for a sweet new shopping bag with the front and back as one whole piece so you don't ever have to worry about the bottom collapsing and falling out under the strain of too many groceries!

Since I'd only bought a quarter yard of the printed canvas, I also picked up slightly less than a yard (end of bolt!) of navy duck canvas from JoAnn. It matches pretty well to the navy in the printed pattern I think! It's wonderfully sturdy and gives the bag a nice solid structured feeling, y'know, for lugging your gallon of iced tea home from the store.

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I followed her tutorial as written and just overlaid my printed fabric over the canvas and stitched my handles so that they covered the raw edges of the fabric (my handles are set a little wider than stated for just this reason). I stitched my handles on with a box x stitch for extra strength - not sure how true this is, but it is my impression that it is a parachuting standard for making sure the seam does not come apart.

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Terry Ann calls for home decor weight fabric, and of course her pleat is so nicely pressed, but I could not get mine to lay flat at all, so it is what it is. I actually finger pressed everything where she calls for an iron because this fabric actually held a crease pretty well from me just smashing the fabric into a fold - bonus, no burnt fingers from the iron!

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This bag can hold just a ton of stuff, volume and weight-wise, so it's a really great shopping bag!

I used the plastic piece from the old shopping bag to give the bottom a little bit of shape, but my other go-to for stiff plastic for stabilizing is plastic canvas for cross-stitching. It's super cheap and easy to find, I got mine from Michael's, and really, where else are you going to find a big piece of stiff plastic?

I feel like it's so easy to buy those 99 cent bags at pretty much every store, and they're always made out of that flimsy material. And I'm not knocking it, it's better those than plastic bags (California bag ban ring a bell?) but why not have something sturdier and prettier? So, anyone else making their own reusable shopping bags?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Crocheted Boutonnière

So I had sometime ago thought about what to get my brother for his birthday seeing as I have little idea about what he might like/want (I got him a comb, lol).  I had always thought it would be really cool to do an entire bouquet of crocheted flowers, I even tried to copy this Saipua arrangement once upon a time (I love their aesthetic), but it didn't really come together.

I thought it might be time to give that idea another go, and I thought I could make my brother a cool boutonniere for his prom. Since it's pretty customary for the guy to get a tie/bow tie to match his date's dress, I didn't want to sew him a tie or bow tie because I had no idea the color of the dress.  I tried to play it safe with a black and white color scheme.

Because I went with black and white, I picked anemones as my main flower since I love those and searched around on Pinterest until I found something that I liked. (See also picture below right)

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What do you think? Did I get it right?

Some details about the construction:
-I used a pair of super strong neodymium magnets to keep it in place on the lapel, no awkward pins, hooray!
-I made up the pattern for the flower and the fern as I went, but it's just a basic round shape flattened and sewed together. I think it has a total of 6 petals.
-I used worsted yarn for the fern and bobbly things, crochet thread in white for the petals, embroidery floss in black for the center, and black sewing thread to make the fringe.  I wrapped the whole thing in a scrap of white cotton with black flecked dots to continue the black and white theme (plus the stems were a little hideous)

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I made the boyfriend get all dressed up on the upper half and stand outside patiently so I could stand on a chair and take close up pictures of his lapel :)

I think this would work really well for a wedding too! Plus it's super reusable :)

Anyone else ever try to recreate things from Pinterest?