Saturday, March 27, 2010

Recycled Sweaters Doll Quilt

Last Sunday, I spent the day with my dear friend, Jen. Her very talented sister, Karen, made a cozy sweater quilt for a friend and Jen wanted to make one for herself. So, I took Jen on her first thrifting adventure. Once I saw all the bright, soft sweaters, I realized this would be a perfect blanket for me to make for Taylor's new bed! We're getting some nearly new hand-me-down bunk beds for her and I haven't found just the right bedding for her. A sweater quilt is the perfect solution! While I was cutting my pieces, I decided I was going to practice sewing the sweater pieces and make a doll quilt for Taylor. I wanted to work out the quirks of using the different textures with varying degrees of stretch, before I started on the full-size version. So, first I cut all my sweaters into rectangular strips to be used for the full-size version.

Then, I took some of my scraps and cut them into equal size pieces. As I was sewing, I realized these tips:

When sewing a finely knit/super soft piece to a cable knit piece, feed the fabric through the machine with the soft sweater piece on the bottom and the cable knit piece on top. This will help the fabric guide through the machine much more smoothly. The cable knit pieces tend to require more care going through the machine and would get stuck in the feed dogs. Otherwise, the knits weren't as tempermental as I thought they'd be. When I was done sewing them altogether, I simply backed it with one of Taylors old flannel receiving blankets.

Working with recycled sweaters can be addictive! I've got lots of projects in mind for my scraps!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Photo Decor - Inspired by Donna Downey

I was inspired by a project in Photo Decor by Donna Downey, to create this! In her book she alters a printer's drawer and I love the way it looks. Several months ago I came across this shelf at a thrift store for $4.00. As soon as I saw it I knew it would be perfect for a project similar to Donna's. It's been a work in progress and has been sitting on my craft table for a few weeks as I've added things here and there. Yesterday, I decided it was wall worthy. I may still add a few embellishments or memorabilia, but for now I'll call it finished :). Here are some close up pics of all the handmade details:

And here it is hanging on the wall :)

It hangs in a niche in our entry which is open to our great room and our hallway to the bedrooms so it's a very prominent place and needed a special piece of art. I love how it turned out!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My little artist!

Taylor is becoming quite the little artist with a love for drawing. The picture above is a "dinosaur that flies" (her words!). Thus, it's a drawing of a pterodactyl. I think the inspiration for this piece was an episode of Caillou. She drew it in early January (just before we moved, hence the big pile 'o stuff behind her).

She drew this a couple of weeks ago. This is her first drawing of a person with both a head and a body. Prior to this, she was drawing people with their legs and hands coming out of their heads. This is the typical progression of children's drawings, but I think her drawing is a little advanced. Color me impressed.

And this one totally blew us away! When she finished it, she said it's a dolphin. She later said it's a whale. It definitely looks like a whale, don't you think? I'm just amazed at her level of patience to be able to sit and draw this with a pencil and color it all in. The only time she'll still still for very long is when she's got a pencil or a crayon in her hand.

Thanks for letting me brag a little about my little artist :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sewing Station

I FINALLY did something CRAFTY this weekend!!! I've been a little stressed and on edge since I haven't done any crafting in...well...months. Crafting is seriously how I stay sane. February was kinda crazy around here and by last Friday I had had it and I was determined to do some crafting over the weekend.

Part of the reason I haven't been crafting lately is that my stuff is so disorganized since our move. I finally dragged out my sewing machine a couple of weeks ago to do a quick little project as a favor for a friend, only to discover that my set up didn't work at all! You see, I was fortunate enough to inherit this computer armoire. Our landlord left it in our house and when we moved in I called and asked if I could modify it and have it! They quickly agreed. I immediately knew it would make the perfect sewing station! Here's a before picture of the inside:

The back wall of it was almost like a burlap fabric and it was in pretty bad shape. This is what the inside looks like now:

I absolutely LOVE it!!! It makes me sooooo happy every time I look at it! The fabric for the back is a yard of fabric that I absolutely had to have! I had planned to make a laptop bag out of it, but I never take my laptop out of the house so this is a much better use of the fabric! I was going to tack the fabric to the existing backboard but that didn't work out so I bought 2 large pieces of foam board from the Dollar Tree and used spray adhesive and stuck the fabric the the foam board. Then I simply push the foam board to the backboard and the shelf keeps it in place. For an added punch I used a glue gun to stick thrifted white buttons to the centers of some of the flowers. Then I glued ribbon around the edge for an added touch.

I decorated the file box in the middle and it will be the home for my sewing patterns and pdf tutorials that I print from my favorite blogs.

The shelf holds my fat quarters (or is it flat quarters? I can never remember how to say that!), some of my favorite sewing books and a few of my favorite full yards of fabric, along with some jars of ribbon and embroidery thread.

The keyboard tray pulls out and is the perfect height for my machine to sit on. The shelf below, holds 2 (of my many) bins of fabric.

I made a simple cork board by covering a 12x12 cork tile with patterned cardstock and ribbon and I plan to tack pattern instructions to it when I'm sewing. I've had the little flower hook rack for years and now it has the perfect home! I also already had the flower buckets and I'll use them to hold little odds and ends I need to have within reach. My yard stick hangs from the hardware the keeps the door closed.

and of course the other door holds my thread rack.

And...I absolutely LOVE this plastic tray that I picked up last week at Target. I love the color (of course!) and the shape is so girly! Perfect for holding scissors, pin cushion and all the other things that need to be close at hand.

Now, here is the best part of the whole least this is the part that makes it functional! The first time I tried to sew with my machine on the keyboard tray, the machine shook and the keyboard tray slid back under the main shelf as I fed my fabric through my machine. Obviously not a pleasant and productive sewing experience. So, my incredibly talented and helpful husband did this:

He built 2 legs that are attached to the keyboard tray with hinges. When in use, they rest against the bottom of the armoire to stabilize the keyboard tray which prevents it from shaking and keeps it from sliding back into the armoire. It doesn't budge at all! When not in use, they fold up and stick to the underside of the shelf because the feet of the legs have magnets and my husband installed washers to the underside of the shelf. Thus, when I'm not sewing, the legs fold up and the sewing machine can be moved to the main shelf, the keyboard tray slides back in and the doors close! And it's all tucked away until my next sewing session! And tucked away is a good thing because there isn't enough space in my craft room for this, so it's just outside the door to my craft room, which means it's in our dining room!

My craft room is coming together, too, and I hope to be doing a LOT more crafting now that I know where my stuff is and I have a proper place to sew! :)

And...a HUGE THANK YOU!!! to my husband who made my beautiful sewing station FUNCTIONAL! I love you, baby!

Updated: I almost forgot to add this!!! Taylor was commenting on the progress of this project and when it was finally done, she said "OK, can eat, sleep, read, and sew there, OK?"

That's definitely OK with me! Basically that means I'll be living there and I love this little station so much, that I will live there!