Monday, August 27, 2012

DIY Jewelry

I got voted out last week. Sigh. C'est la vie... and all that. I can't really complain about it for two reasons. 
1) I'm still pleased as punch that I made it into the top three, third place overall is still quite an accomplishment. 
2) It was a close one again. I lost by less than ten votes. That makes me feel good about my project and that I had a great idea that many people liked. 

I really had a fun time participating in this season of So You Think You're Crafty. It pushed me out of several comfort zones. You might think that the biggest one involved painting... but really it was just putting myself and my projects out there to be judged. That's not easy, but it's nice to get so much positive feedback and to feel more comfortable sharing my ideas. 

The other great thing this contest has done for me has been to take my mind off of all the red tape bureaucratic nonsense that we've been dealing with this summer. We thought we would be moving out, getting the house fixed and moving back in before school started. Well, school starts next week and we not only haven't started packing, we're still trying to get new blueprints drawn up and approved. 
Again... c'est la vie... sigh.

Embroidered Initial Necklace

I saw this idea in a magazine last Christmas and I really liked it, but I couldn't figure out three things.
1) Why would anyone spend $75 on something that they could make for less than $5?
2) How had they mounted the embroidered piece into the frame?
3) How could you protect the embroidery from getting dirty or damaged?
It's an idea that's been floating around the back of my brain for months now, and this seemed like a good time to try it out.

I started out by tracing the size of the bezel finding I was going to cover, and then free handing an initial onto a scrap of linen. I embroidered the piece, cut it to fit and used the Glossy Accents to attach the fabric into the bezel. I covered it with another layer of the Glossy Accents and let it dry overnight, periodically checking for air bubbles and popping them as the medium dried. 

I added beads and a jump ring to create each pendant, then cut a chain to length and added a lobster clap to finish the necklace. 

You could make these as simple or ornate as you wanted to fit the personality of the intended recipient. It's fun and simple way to create a truly one of a kind piece of handmade jewelry.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Week 7: Thrift Store

Evie's Sewing Box

I'm really extra proud of this week's craft. It took me way out of my comfort zone, and it still came out better than I had hoped it would! I got an idea of making a sewing basket for Evie for her birthday, along with embroidery lessons. She's been begging me for months to teach her. I had been browsing the D.I. for months and never found a basket in good enough condition that had the characteristics I was looking for. The week before her birthday I happened to be out by a Savers and took the opportunity to check there. 

Et  voila! The perfect box. It had a handle, wasn't too big, and was in fairly decent shape. And it was $1.99! Sold. 

First step out my comfort zone. Anything to do with paint. I really, really dislike painting. Rooms, furniture, watercolors... there is no type of painting on this earth that I like to do. It takes forever, and there are so many steps that I am sure to mess something up. So... what follows is simply an explanation of what I did, and should not in any way be taken as the right or proper way to paint something.

First thing I did was to lightly sand the entire box. Not enough to expose the wood, but just to rough up the surface and give the new paint something to stick to.

There was a little bit of water damage on one side, so the bottom was starting to pull away, and one corner that had been chipped off. I used wood glue to fill the crack and strengthen the bottom, and then wood filler to smooth out the broken corner and the side. Like I said before, I have no idea if that is the right way to do a repair, but because it was so minor I took a chance and it seems to have worked okay.

A coat of primer. This was mostly to check if I had sanded the filler smooth enough and to make sure the paint would go on evenly.

The next day and a half was spent in spray painting. I could only do one side at a time, so that the paint wouldn't run. I gave the whole piece two or three coats. And once I was happy with the coverage of the ivory I used a clear sealing spray which gave it a nice shiny finish and will hopefully help it hold up to the wear and tear of belonging to a child.

The lids are cut out of a piece of chip board that I had left over from an Ikea purchase. It was perfect, not too thick, but strong and sturdy.

Second major step out of my comfort zone, power tools. I unfortunately don't have any pictures of cutting the lids, because I don't have any power tools. I had to go over to my dad's house to use his, and by the time I'd gathered all my materials and plans I'm lucky I only forgot to take the camera and not one of my children. I honestly don't know who was more nervous about me using the power tools, me or my dad. After I explained what I was trying to accomplish, he took over the cutting out of the lids. I did use the drill for the holes myself though! :) 

The holes are to allow the lid to be tufted.

Using spray adhesive I covered each lid with two layers of batting cut to the same size as the lid, and then a piece of fabric cut larger so that the ends could wrap around the lid.

I tufted the lid by sewing covered buttons in place with heavy duty upholstery thread and pulling them tightly through on the back.

From the front.

I folded the edges, pulling tightly and mitering the corners, tacking them in place with hot glue. 

For the lining I carefully measured each side and then added 1/4" allowance to be turned under.

Using hot glue I tacked the top in place first so it would lay nice and flush with the top edge, then slowly and carefully tacked along the sides and corners of the box with glue and stretched the fabric into place. 

For the bottom I cut a piece of heavy duty interfacing to just fit and then used the spray adhesive to cover it with the fabric and turn under the edges.

Then hot glued it in place in the bottom of the box.

I used the same technique to make the covers for the bottom of the lids.

I hot glued a loop of ribbon for a handle before gluing the bottom cover in place. I took the time to add a little extra glue to each corner and make sure they were securely joined along all the edges.

I found these hinges at Michael's for .99 for a bag of two! I wasn't sure if they would work, but I grabbed a screwdriver and just went for it. I attached them to the outside of the box and the underside of the lid.

When the first side was on and neatly opening and closing I jumped up from my chair and did a little happy dance! I was so thrilled that it worked exactly the way I'd envisioned.

A perfect sized sewing box for my newly turned six year old.

Hinged lids that open and close.
(Seriously, I'm still so thrilled at how cool that is!)

Ready for our stitching lessons.

She was absolutely thrilled with her gift and has already started working on her first project. 

She can often be found sitting next to me in the living room happily sewing. In fact today I thought it was too cute for words, she climbed up on her daddy's lap and said, "I can teach you how to embroider Daddy, I know all about it now."

Friday, August 3, 2012

Week 6: Out and About

So did you guess right? This one was my entry...

Doll Carrier Backpack

My little girl is at a stage where every time we go anywhere she wants to bring her doll and a whole bunch of stuff to go with the doll, clothes, hair brush, a blanket, etc. And we all know what that means... I'm the one that ends up carrying the doll and trying to keep track of all the bits and pieces. I was looking at getting the American Girl backpack for her birthday, but it is almost $50! I thought, "I could make that for a lot less."

I used a fine wale corduroy for the body of the bag, and lined it with the bright pink polka dot cotton for a pop of color. The straps for both the doll and my daughter are piped in a matching pink. I decided to have the bag zip shut so I didn't have to worry about losing the doll accessories, and the shoulder straps to hold the doll in the pocket snap shut so the doll won't fall out either. 

For half the price of buying the American Girl version I made a great backpack and doll clothes to go in it! I think my daughter is going to love it when she gets it for her birthday next week. :)

Evie was thrilled with her presents. She wanted to do a doll fashion show to show-off all the new clothes that were in the backpack!

Pink print shirt and denim blue jumper with ric-rac trim.

Black and white polka dot dress with white piping detail.

Not gonna lie, the whole time I was sewing this one I was thinking, "I want a dress like this!" :)

Shorts and tunic top with matching bow detail.

Bunny pj's.
(And the whole time I was sewing these I was thinking, "I don't go to this much work for my kid's jammies!")

Bathrobe, to which I added belt loops because otherwise I knew the tie would just end up perpetually lost.

I am thrilled with how everything turned out and how well they fit the doll! I'm loving that the Velcro closures on them mean that Evie can dress her doll herself and isn't coming to me every 5 minutes for help putting her in a new outfit. I had so much fun sewing up these doll clothes, but it was a long week of cramming in lots of sewing. I am going to try to be smarter and have a goal to sew one doll outfit a week, that will put me in great shape for Lila's birthday in November and then Christmas. Yup, my girls are going to have the best dressed dolls around!