Experimented with some shibori indigo dyeing today. Had fun and learned some. I like more blue better than less, yarn and twine seem easier to use than rubber bands, and I have a whole new reason to love binder clips!
I made printed napkins this year as holiday hostess gifts and gifts for friends. I bought several dozen cloth napkins from an eBay seller because I could not have made such nice napkins so affordably myself. I carved several simple Christmas tree and star shapes out of carving rubber, used a brayer to apply fabric paint to the stamps, and then transferred the stamps to the napkins. Stamping the napkins took a little longer than I’d envisioned, in part because I had to find space all over my house for several dozen painted napkins to dry and in part because the paint was messy business and I frequently had to stop to wash the stamps and the brayer, but I was pleased with the results. They are uneven and blotchy and very homemade looking, but I kind of like that about them. I kept a set for myself too!
I also helped the kids make reindeer napkins for their grandparents. The reindeer face is made by the side of my son’s fist, the eyes are Dorothy’s fingerprints, and red nose is Daphne’s thumbprint. I carved the date and the antlers out of carving rubber. Actually, because I’m an idiot, I first carved the date exactly as I wanted it to appear on the napkin, which of course makes it appear backwards when printed. Oops! But the second time I got it right. These napkins were a big hit and I will enjoy using them at my in-laws’ home during Christmas celebrations of the future.
Whoa! Bad head-cut-off selfie! Maybe it was better before I had the phone, when I could only post about projects for myself that warranted enlisting husband’s help. Anyway, I used fabric paint and more freezer paper stencils on a t-shirt. I felt really brave doing this one because it was a shirt I kind of liked as it was, but thought would be improved with a design. Painting on a nice Eddie Bauer shirt requires a lot more fearlessness than painting on the cheapy Costco tee, but it turned out well once I braved it.
And I was just experimenting at this point. I sleep in this old pink shirt, and now I’ll sleep in it more often!And my husband bought a new (to him) car, and to surprise him I quickly painted shirts for all three kids so they could wear them when we went to pick it up. Fabric paint dries quickly and freezer paper stencils are reusable, so I got them done! It’s fun to make a big fuss out of a little family deal. This is what they’ll remember when they are grown, right?
I think I’m reaching new lows here with the mirror selfie. Apparently if I have time to document my projects at all, the best I can do is with a cell phone selfie. But since the point of this blog is just to be a diary for myself of my projects I’m going to go with it. Project recorded! I bought a plain gray t-shirt at Costco and embellished it with a freezer paper stencil. I’ve used and loved freezer paper stencils before (t-shirts for the kids, a bat table runner, Worth’s pocket friends come to mind immediately) but never used the technique to make a shirt for myself. I was downloading some feather and arrow embroidery files for another project (check them out if you are on Pinterest) and I got to thinking that feathers and arrows are kind of like the new owls and chevrons but I like them better. Which led to me thinking that maybe I needed some cool feather and arrow stuff myself, but all the embroidery files for my machine are a little small for adult apparel, and then I thought that maybe I needed to spend $100 buying cool feather and arrow fabrics on Fabric.com (because, you know, it’s like Target–you can’t ever check out with less than $100 even if you only needed one thing), and then I decided that maybe I should just try to use fabric paint and save my $100. And so I did.
I used an Xacto knife and straight edge to make the arrows and just freehanded the rest with the knife. I’m not very artistic when it comes to two dimensional stuff but feathered arrows aren’t too complicated. I used the multi-surface Martha Stewart craft paint and the kids’ paint brushes to fill in my homemade stencil, and that was that. I’m pleased with the shirt and the stencil is still intact after peeling it off, so I think I may put my design on a tote bag next.
Many knitters got started because they know someone who is always knitting, and they are a little jealous of all the fabulous things they make, right? It was no different with me. One of my mama friends is an excellent and avid knitter, and she inspired me to figure out the whole knitting thing a few years ago. She’s also generous, so for Daphne’s first birthday she made these gorgeous legwarmers that match the sweater she made Daphne as a newborn, and which the baby can still wear. Lucky Daphne! I wanted to create an outfit around the legwarmers, and I thought I already had the perfect skirt on hand so I sewed an embroidered applique to a white bodysuit to complete the outfit. I got this embroidery file free on emblibrary.com when it was their featured file of the month, and it couldn’t be any sweeter. One a cooler day she can swear it with the matching cardigan and she’ll be the cutest, coziest baby in the whole world. (I’m pretty sure.)
My blog is not among the things foremost in my mind lately, in this season of snow and ice and ballet lessons and diapers and learning phonics and fixing hot meals and gluing Valentines and getting babies baptised and preparing for birthday parties and reading novels late at night and watching my daughter sew and…you get the point. But I’ve carved out a little moment in this coffee-fueled afternoon to prove to myself that I have something to show for my labors, besides the usual (and priceless) web of love and connection that I’m always working on but can never photograph.
We aren’t big television watchers at my house, but do enjoy keeping up with the Olympics. Through some combination of moments of prime-time viewing on our rarely-used antennae-powered basement tv, online video streaming, the newspaper, and a homeschool unit I designed on the history of the Olympics with a bit of Russian history thrown in, we’re enjoying the Sochi Games. (Aside: what it is with me and run on sentences today?) It feels a little sketchy that we enjoy watching great feats of strength, grace and athleticism while sitting on our own bums eating pretzels, but it does provide some inspiration anyway, right? It’s like the Pinterest of sports. We’re just browsing, but it reminds us of the grace and strength our bodies (or at least some people’s bodies!) are capable of. Dorothy and Worth have enjoyed the spectacle of the opening ceremonies and have each “adopted” an athlete to follow. They’re becoming aware of sports they don’t ever see here in Kentucky, and of the rush of competition. I saw an online advertisement for Team USA t-shirts and was inspired to provide my little Olympian-wannabes with some home-team shirts of their own to support their patriotic spirit. These are just store-bought shirts that I’ve embellished with scrap fabric and my embroidery machine, but they were fun to design and create. Daphne also got little red and white bloomer-style pants, based on a pattern in Making Baby’s Clothes.
The crafty floodgates have now opened on new girl baby things! I’ve been experimenting with making appliques using my embroidery machine. This is for Baby #3 to wear in the hospital, announcing her name. (Novema is my grandmother’s name.)
Taken from the states and capitols fabric of the bag I recently made.
A store-bought skirt paired with a t-shirt made from Moda Glamping Tents And Trailers Honey Bee fabric, which will be also featured in some upcoming girly projects I’ve got in mind.
And a little dress/jumper with matching shoes. Since she’ll be an October baby this dress will be worn in the winter over a layer of warm knits. I used McCall’s M4421 for the dress and the Cameron baby sneakers pattern from I Think Sew for the booties.
I did some more playing around this weekend with my new embroidery machine. None of my projects are perfect yet; if you look with a practiced eye you can see that I’m still learning about which stabilizers to use in which situations, etc., but I’m still pleased with my beginner results. I made this table topper for my dining room table. It is hard to find tablecloths (or little table runners, which I prefer for everyday use since we frequently use our dining table in the evening) to match the vibrant colors in my vintage-fabric dining room curtains. I was able to choose embroidery thread colors for this design that match my curtains very well.
Here is a close up of one of the corner designs on the table topper. This was a design pre-loaded on my machine, though I changed around the colors. I did the embroidery on a piece cut from a white thrift-store sheet, then sewed it to the back once the design was done.
And I finally made the first project for my new baby! A terrific Etsy seller, Sweet as Lemon and Honey, created an embroidery file for me based on my graphic and a photograph of my Yellowstone travel trailer. The file looks just beautiful, and I’ll make other projects with it to show it off better–I didn’t use the right stabilizers or maybe the best method for getting the front of the onesie situated on the hoop and it crinkled up a bit, but it’s my fault, not hers. Her file is non-crinkly and perfect. Still, I love love love this onesie! Even wrinkled up the trailer design is totally adorable, and this was such a fun first project to finish for the baby. It feels like now s/he is really ours, branded by our family trailer insignia. I’m a total hormonal fool, carrying this little shirt around with me so I can keep looking at how tiny and cute it is, trying to imagine the wee little person that will fit into it this fall!
Last fall I hit some nice clearance sales and picked up some off-season summer clothes for my kids to grow into. This spring I pulled them out and, all new and with tags and exciting, except that during the intervening six months my son Worth apparently decided he will no longer wear plain pocket t-shirts. They are “plain” and “babyish.” Because, you know, all really big boys go around with gigantic lizards or tractors on their shirts, right? Hmmmm. But instead of just giving up on these perfectly nice shirts I decided to try and liven them up a bit to suit my boy’s taste. I made freezer paper stencils and painted little “friends” coming out of the pockets. Now he likes them and wears them quite happily. I’m a little horrified that I ruined perfectly nice shirts with my bad freehand “art,” but am just going to focus on the positive. I told him this one was a little buddy–but he calls it a pocket monster.
And finally…I realize this is probably going to end up on one of those websites where mean women make fun of other people’s blogs, but whatever. In retrospect I should have printed images on the paper to make my stencils, but I felt all self-empowered to do my own bad art, so I did. This one was supposed to be a dog, but Dorothy thinks it is a giraffe, Rob says llama, and Worth calls it a wolf. Really, I don’t care, I’m just glad it is shirt #3 that my son will now quite happily put on and wear.
Dorothy and I made lacy heart t-shirts for ourselves to wear today. I’m pretty sure I read this idea in Family Fun magazine, but when I went to their website to search all it would show me was an ovulation calculator (let me talk about the Top Ten things I am not interested in right now…an ovulation calculator is waaaay up there!) link over and over and a bunch of stuff I was not interested in. Were they always owned by horrid Parents magazine? Maybe that is the problem. But now I’m rambling and showing no love…on Valentine’s Day even.
Since I can’t find a link to the article I got this idea from, I’ll just explain. We took paper heart-shaped doilies and adhered them to our shirts with low-tac adhesive. We dabbed fabric paint in the doily cut-out areas, let them dry, then peeled off the doilies themselves, revealing the pretty designs. Dorothy had trouble picturing what we were doing, which is why she began dabbing paint all around her heart on the first one, but then she caught onto the vision. We’re doing to enjoy wearing these today.