Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween and Christmas!

Christmas?!?! Christmas!?! No, not Christmas!

I know. Christmas has been shoved down our throats since mid-Septmeber. But, as a crafter, you gotta think ahead. In fact, October is too late in some ways to start Christmas projects. Every year, at the end of October, I start thinking about Christmas and what Christmas project I want to get done when, really,  I should start thinking about Christmas in July.  Or, let's be honest, January.

I know every year is busy for everybody but this year we are moving in less than three weeks. I know from Christmas' past that if I start a Christmas project in mid-NOvember, I will make myself miserable. In fact, I had to say no to a friend who asked if I wanted to make Jesse Tree ornaments with her this year. It's just not gonna happen.

But-I do have to find a way to keep myself happy and sane in the midst of real estate negotiations and packing.  One of the ways I do that is to cross stitch. Making little ornaments means everything is pretty small and compartmentalized. I mean look at this little bag: everything fits.

Thank you PhotoBooth!


So, for the past few nights after the kids have gone to bed and I've packed one more box for the day (just hoping I don't need anything out of it for the next month), I've been binge watching old stuffy British cinema and television while I stitch away.

So far I have made these:




I like the train but I don't particularly like the angel. That bright orange you see is not your screen---it's the actual angel's dress and I don't like it. Call me traditional but bright orange does not belong at Christmas. I'm working on another ornament with candy canes and the bright orange is in there as well. I'm thinking I need to substitute with another color. 

However, I'm not putting the pressure on myself to have them ready to hang on the tree by Christmas-if it happens, great. If not, there's always next year!

As for Halloween, I finished my oldest daughter's costume. She wants to be a FlutterFly. This is her description of a FlutterFly:

A FlutterFly has yellow stars on one sleeve and moons on the other with rainbow polka dots on the front of the shirt. A FlutterFly has wings with Hello Kitty stickers, a pink tutu and tights with green stars. And antenna. A FlutterFly has to have antenna. 

What is a FlutterFly?  I couldn't tell you.


I had her pick out an old shirt and I used that as the basis for her FlutterFly costume. I used felt and Steam-A-Seam to adhere the stars, moons and polka dots to the shirt. Luckily, I had some fabric leftover from the Pennant Quilt that had rainbow polka dots on it.  Here's her shirt:



I just love five-year-olds and their sense of style. I hope she keeps her fantastic sense of fashion and individuality forever!  She won't try it on until I put the whole outfit together so we all can wait with baited breath for how it will turn out. Awesome, for sure! 

Keep on Crafting!

Kate


Friday, October 24, 2014

Halloween Costume: Dinosaur Part II

We all remember this ferocious beast, right?





Well, if you are going to be a dinosaur, you really need a tail! 

I've said it once and I will say it again:  I'm pretty sure I'm here in order to guide you to easy tutorials. This tail I had done before the sweatshirt--except for the stuffing part. 

The tutorial I followed can be found over here at Running with Scissors. She really walks you through the whole process and has great pictures showing you how to cut the fabric so it tapers down the end of the tail.

The only real issue I had was of my own doing: I attached the straps to the wrong side of the fabric, so when I flipped the whole tail inside out, you could see my seam allowance. I just folded it over and tacked it down and no one is the wiser.  
Duh!
I took her advice and made the scales out of felt-the same that matched the sweatshirt-but if I were to do it again I might have doubled the felt and sewn the triangles together in order to give them a little more heft. 


Unfortunately, MasterMind won't pose with the tail on for a picture. He keeps on saying, "after Halloween" and sometimes you just can't argue with a three-year-old. So here it is on my kitchen table. 

I also used snaps instead of velcro because that's what I had on hand. 




I like how the scales go from largest to smallest; I'm especially proud of that part. 


So, MasterMind's costume is done. Now it's on to Missy's!

Happy Sewing!
Kate



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Halloween Costumes: Dinosaur

I am all set to quilt my CraftHope quilt for We are Kenya but the quilting foot for my sewing machine is in storage at my in-laws' house an hour away.
This is the state the quilt is in right now; shameful on so many levels, I know!


In the meantime, I have started working on one of my favorite things to do each year: Halloween costumes! The silly thing is: I'm not a huge fan of Halloween. I don't like the gore and the sexualization of every female costume over the age of 12. The neighbor across the street hangs decapitated heads from her eaves from October 1 until about December 10 of each year and I hate looking at it.

What I think I really like is the making of costumes part of Halloween. I have yet to follow a pattern-although I do follow instructions, that does make it easier-but I like being fairly creative. That creative part is tumbling down to the kids. While today's post is about my son's costume , my oldest daughter's costume is completely her own. She has designed the whole thing....but we will get to that in a later post.

I wanted to post this first part of his costume so if you are kind of in a bind as to what to make, this is really easy to make and really fast!

What's he going to be? A dinosaur! This is the first part of his costume:





I saw the directions to make this originally on Just Another Day in Paradise. Making the hoodie today, I did make some slight changes to her instructions. These were purely made because of my lack of all the tools I normally have at my disposal for sewing (i.e. a basic walking foot for a sewing machine). 

The main instruction I didn't follow was to add interfacing to the diamonds to make them a little stiffer. 


I take that back. This is the second set of diamonds I made. The first set DID have the interfacing on them but my 1/4 inch foot kept on getting stuck on the interfacing making it pretty impossible to move the sweatshirt along the feed dogs. 



As you can see, the diamonds weren't perfect so when I matched them up to make triangles there was some overlap. I just trimmed off the excess. 


Once the diamonds are sewn onto the hoodie, you just sew the triangles together. 

The only foot I have right now is my 1/4" foot. It does not make life easy on projects where it isn't needed.
Duh!



I used the edge of foot as a guide to sew the triangles together. 



Looking at this picture again, while the spikes are standing up pretty well on their own, I think the stabilizer would probably help them be spikier in the long run.


One of the greatest parts of this project is I had all the materials for the hoodie already at home! I used green felt because it wouldn't fray (and I have two yards of it for some reason) and the child has 12 billion hoodies. His was a 3T hoodie and I ended up making 8 spikes-keep in mind the spike at the front of the hoodie and the spike on the bottom of his back are about half the size than the rest of the spikes. I did that to make sure they all fit. 

Looking at these pictures, I should have used my pinking shears to cut the spikes. What was I thinking??? Well, I just passed that smart little tidbit onto you!

As I said, this was a pretty fast costume (part 1) to put together. This would make a cute gift for a birthday or Christmas or, if you are feeling super awesome, you could make these for a dinosaur-themed birthday party. 

Again, if you want to follow the tutorial, head on over to Just Another Day in Paradise for the full, and very easy-to-follow, instructions!

I'm hoping to finish the second part of his costume tomorrow. There's not much left to it. I'll leave you with a pic of him looking his most ferocious!

The kid doesn't have a mean bone in his body; this is about as ferocious as he gets!

Happy costume making!

Kate












Friday, October 17, 2014

Two Blog Posts in One Day!

Yup, two.

See, I didn't want to take over the post about the CraftHope project I am working on, so I decided to do a second little post for the day.

Don't think that during this time I have forgotten about you or about the challenge I have put out there for all of you! Forgotten already?!?!?!?!?!

I have challenged you to finish one of your old crafts that has been sitting around just waiting to get done. Email me a picture of that craft and a brief description (by October 28, 2014) and I will enter you in a drawing for a $25.00 gift certificate to JoAnns. (I do have to mention it is for US residents only--but if you still want to share your craft with all of us, please do so!).

Let's see...what else?

Right! Remember when I mentioned that the quilt my mom made my son had well, kind of shredded in the wash? Well, I started the process of fixing it. I made some patches and affixed them to the top of the quilt with Steam-a-Seam. All I have to do now is remember how to blanket stitch to finish off the rough edges so they won't fray.  Here's just a few that I made:







I'm hoping that things start to slow down here so I can start working on Halloween costumes-nothing like last minute, right? 

What are your crafting plans for the weekend? 

Happy Crafting!

Kate

PS
Don't forget you can always have fun with me on Facebook here, Instagram here, or follow me on Twitter at @SewingByLottery.



Let's Craft Some Hope!

Many years ago-only about six but it feels like twenty-I was a social worker of sorts. I worked for the Social Security Administration and administered a federal welfare program called Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

I can feel your eyes glazing over but bear with me.

You see, eleven-or-so years ago I graduated from college with a degree in Social Work and one in Theology. At the time I was pretty convinced I was going to go out there and set the world on fire. But, you know....life got a hold of me. Or maybe fear of the unknown---traveling to distant lands and helping others...even if that "distant land" was no farther away then the homeless shelter downtown.

Anyway, I ended up in the middle of Central Washington working for SSA. Don't get me wrong-I worked really hard and tried to help people as best as I could. But before long I was living in the suburbs of Seattle, married and waiting for the birth of my first child when I quit. I knew that my next role was to be a mom for awhile.

I kept on telling myself and others that I would start volunteering again and helping out but that has been just too hard for me to juggle. Having three little kids and a husband who works long hours to provide for his family has not left me a lot of spare time to run off and feed the hungry.

Don't get me wrong: this is no pity party for me or a longing for a "what if" kind of life. Who knows? Maybe my time to set the world on fire wasn't in my 20's but may be in my 50's or 60's. Maybe I'm raising children who will change the world.

What does this all have to do with crafting? I'm glad you asked.

My friend saw something on Facebook and tagged me to see it.

You see, there's this lady named Jade. She's married. Works outside the home. Has four kids. Well, I will let her use her own eloquent words to describe what CraftHope is:

Craft Hope started with 29 pillowcase dresses and one mom's idea that everyone can make a difference. Craft Hope is a love inspired project founded in 2009 by Jade designed to share handmade crafts with those less fortunate. It is our hope to combine our love for crafting and the desire to help others into a worldwide phenomenon. 
Since our beginning we have collected and distributed over a hundred thousand handmade items to charitable organizations worldwide. We have formed partnerships with incredible charities that work in the heart of communities that need love the most. 
We have encouraged people, families, groups, and communities to get together and craft for the greater good. We might not all have money to give, but we have time. And time is one of the greatest gifts you can give someone.  Source

She has 24 projects behind her where she has helped distribute handmade goods to people in dire situations all over the world. She does this all from her own kitchen. She's kind of my super hero right now.

Anyway, her 25th project is partnering with We are Kenya to provide quilts, reusable sanitary napkins, scarves and hats to the children of Soweto, Kenya. When I read her post about asking for help, I knew I had to act. She only needed 25 twin size quilts. I made a comment on her blog and she emailed me a couple of days later saying she would love it if I made a quilt for her Project25.

I knew exactly what fabric I wanted to use. I had a jelly roll filled with blues, pinks and greens that is just so happy. As I have cut and sewn the fabric my kids keep on asking me who we are making this quilt for; so I show them the pictures of the children from the We are Kenya website and we talk about how children live all over the world: that not all children have a warm blanket at night, so we will make one. That not all children have food in their bellies every night, so we feed them. That some girls only have one dress, so we clothe them. ("Is it at least a rainbow dress?", asks my oldest daughter.)

I am so happy to have an opportunity to use the talents I have been blessed with to share with others.

Here's the finished quilt top, all that is left is to quilt and bind it.





Happy Sewing,
Kate

Don't forget, you can always follow along on Facebook here, Instagram here, and Twitter at @SewingByLottery .