Sunday, June 24, 2012

Graduation earrings and "un-paper towels"

I haven't been working on my Monster Book of Monsters.  I just haven't felt like it.  But that does not mean I haven't been doing anything at all.

My daughter asked me if I could make her some earrings to go with her necklace for graduation.  This is what I came up with.  I used up almost all of the green/blue beads leftover from the necklace.  I used seven in each earring.  (For anyone who is a Harry Potter fan, the number seven was totally intentional because 7 is the most powerful magical number.  My daughter is a huge  Harry Potter fan.)  I also included one pink bead since there is pink in her necklace and to break up all that green/blue.   She loves them.  I will get to see everything all put together tomorrow night when she graduates.

I have also made myself some "unpaper towels" after being inspired by Jill from One Good Thing by Jillee .  Mine aren't as pretty as hers are, but I have no intention of leaving them on the counter and I think white would be horribly stained in no time.  I found some absolutely beautiful  all cotton dishcloths at the grocery store.  I'm pretty sure I paid $3 for the pack of 10.  So they will have paid for themselves in about three rolls of the paper towel I buy.  I am still using paper towels for gross messes (like animal messes and raw meat juice messes) but my plan is to use these for pretty much everything else. 

So far I have used one. 

My youngest knows all about my plan and we are going to do this ourselves and gently recruit my oldest daughter and husband.

So, I started out with 10 ugly, square dishcloths (hey, they were cheap and stains won't be as noticable!).

I cut them in half and sewed up the edge I just cut.  Jill had problems with hers fraying because she left her edges raw, so I learned from her and took the time to sew mine up.  After they were all sewn, I tossed them in the laundry.  Wow!  Did they ever shrink!  They are still a great size though.

Then, I folded all twenty of them in half and put them under the kitchen sink.   Maybe we won't go through as many paper towels now. 

Thanks for the idea Jill! Pin It

Friday, June 15, 2012

Monster Book of Monsters: The Beginning

It is only pinned together here.  I'm just testing the size of my pieces.
I've had an idea to make a Monster Book of Monsters rattling around in my head since about October or November.  It has taken me until now to actually try to make it.
We love Harry Potter in this house.  Well, the girls and I do.  Hubby likes it just fine, but I don't think he loves  the series like we do.  I am making two of these.  One for each daughter.  My book will be a little friendlier than Harry's.

Here is the book I am making my version of:

I found this picture here
I tried looking online for a tutorial back when I got the idea and only found one (at The Leaky Cauldron).  But it used a lot of materials that I don't have.  Plus, the teeth were hard, I want to keep everything soft.  So I had to figure out how I would do it all on my own. I did like her idea of the foam base though, so I used that idea.

I started out with pieces of foam and some off-white fabric.

Then I cut the foam to about 9" x 12"

Then I cut a strip of my fabric about 12" wide and long enough to wrap around one long side and both short sides of my foam (I didn't measure this part).  I made a little fold in the fabric and stitched allllllllll the way along the long part.  I did this over and over again until it was wide enough to cover the end of my foam.  These are my book pages.

But sadly, I wasn't able to finish them both the day I started because I ran out of thread. 

A week later, I have a 500m long spool of thread and I am back to work!  Here are my 'pages' pinned into place around my book form.

Then, I hemmed my fun fur all the way around and checked it for size.
I think it is looking pretty good so far!  I haven't decided if my next step will be they eyes or the teeth.

So far, the only items I needed to purchase for this project have been the foam ($2 each) and the new spool of thread.  Everything else I already had hanging around the house.

I hope to have an update next week.  I hope everything else works out as well as my pages have.  They turned out almost exactly as I had pictured.

Thanks for looking!
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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New insert for Transformers lunchbag

The Transformers bag, complete with falling-apart lining.
Back in August 2011 I made my youngest daughter (then 13) a new lunchbag for school.  I found a great tutorial here, showed my daughter and she helped me design the bag the way she wanted it.  After all, if I made it and she hated it, well, that just wouldn't work at all!  My daughter loves Transformers.  Especially Bumblebee.  He is her absolute favourite.  So we decided on a black and yellow bag with a freezer-stenciled Transformers logo on it.  I made a few changes from the original tutorial.  I stenciled, rather than appliqued, I made a short handle on mine because that is what my daughter wanted, and I made sure that I made the stay-cold lining completely removable so that the bag could be laundered weekly.  This bag, by the way, has been washed almost every week since the beginning of September, that is why the logo is looking a little faded.  I haven't asked my daughter if she will want to carry a Transformers lunchbag around when she is in high school next year, my guess is 'yes', she's cool like that!  If she does want a new one, at least I know that I'll be able to just move the liner over!

The bag itself has been kind of holding the liner together for months.
Well, because the material I used originally for my lining doesn't sew well on the machine, I ended up just perforating it, not good at all! I tried to hand sew it together.  That lasted only a short while so I tried masking tape (you don't see the outside of the liner when it is in the bag).  Again, that only lasted a little while but this liner keeps her ice pack cold for so long that I didn't want to give it up so I bought some aluminium duct tape and used that.  At least that looked better when I removed the liner, but as you may have guessed, that didn't hold up either.  I decided that it was time to break down and make a new one.  I found this nifty vinyl type cloth-y stuff in the remnant bin of the fabric store.  Because it is a remnant, I have no idea what it actually is, but it sews up nicely and almost looks like canvas on the non-vinyl side.  I also had some heat resistant batting that my mother-in-law had given me ages ago to make potholders with.  I used what I had leftover after making the potholders.  I figured, if it is heat resistant, it will probably work for cold as well.
See!  I wasn't kidding about the horrible shape the liner was in!

So I did the best I could at measuring the old liner.  I didn't want to make it any worse than it already was just in case this new one didn't work.  I wanted to keep the old one to put back in the lunchbag, if needed.  After my (only slightly  inaccurate) measuring, I sewed it up.  I realized that I didn't have enough for the little cover flap, so I added that on after.
New lining, cut and ready to sew.

The 'before' and 'after' bag liners.

It isn't as stiff as the old liner so it looks odd, but believe me, it fits great.

With the little flap I had to add on.  I feel that the contents stay colder longer with this addition.

She has taken it to school twice so far and says it works great.  I threw the old liner out last night!

 I had a thought.  Since the vinyl-ish stuff looks like it has some type of fabric base, I wonder if this liner is machine washable.  I've washed my potholders many times, so I know that the other material is.  Using what little scraps I had left of the 'potholder' material (I have lots of the vinyl stuff left), I made a little test scrap to toss in the laundry.  We'll see how that testing goes,  laundry day isn't until Saturday.

The finished bag looks remarkably similar to the bag at the beginning of this post!
The new lining is in this, honest!  I am glad it looks the same from the outside.  There would probably be a problem somewhere if it didn't!

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Friday, June 1, 2012

Graduation accessories

Well, my youngest is going to be graduating from elementary school at the end of the month.  Grade eight graduation is a big deal.  Naturally she wants to look perfect.   She has had her dress for a while, and her shoes as well.  She dyes a streak of bluey-teal in her hair every few months and plans to have a bright, fresh one for the ceremony. 
She needed a necklace. 
I happen to know how to make necklaces!  She chose the design she wanted (which just happens to be my absolute favourite, I have made three for myself!) and her bead colours as well.  For the main accent bead, she chose a colour close to the colour of the streak in her hair.  If you want to make one for yourself, the free, downloadable PDF pattern can be found here.  I am so happy that the designer, Jann Christiansen, shared it and that I stumbled across this pattern years ago because I love it.
The beads have a blue or green hue depending on the light.  Awesome!

Against a white background.

Against a black background.

The original pattern calls for using a button for a closure.  I didn't like that so I covered a bead with more beads to make a ball instead.  I learned how to do that using these free instructions.

Apparently 14-year-old girls like clutches this year.  My daughter mentioned in passing that so-and-so was getting a clutch.  I asked if she required one.  Her answer was "no, but it would be nice to have somewhere to put my camera and phone".  I found a tutorial for a very cute one.  I felt that it had  to have a zipper closure.  We can't have a snap popping open while she is on the dance floor!  That really limited my options.  I used the tutorial found here if you want to make one yourself!
Her dress is black and I managed to find some pretty taffeta that is blue or green depending on how you look at it.  Perfect!

I was trying to show the different colours in the bow.  It looks way better in person.

I placed the necklace inside and presented it to my daughter when she got home from a school camping trip.  She knew I was making her a necklace (obviously, since she chose her colours), but the clutch was a surprise.

I love making things for my daughter.  She is always happy and appreciates everything.  This was no different.

Thanks for reading!  :)

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