Monday, January 31, 2011

a *hot* date clutch...and a "fussy cut"

Got a hot date for Valentines' Day?  Have I got the perfect clutch for you...this is ah-dorable.  I followed the free tutorial from Elizabeth at Oh Fransson! that was featured on the SewMamaSew blog.  You can also find the step-by-step on their sewing tutorial page (among other cute projects with easy to follow directions).

How hot is this bag? 

Interior pocket and magnetic closure

It's the perfect size for your phone, credit card, lip gloss, etc.  This was also my first project that allowed me to "fussy cut".  Yep, had to google that term the first time I stumbled upon it.  It means to cut your fabric so you can highlight the part you want to show (i.e. be on the front of the bag). 

I chose the yellow bloom (I wanted the black one you see on the inside of the flap, but it wasn't as visually interesting).  And I'm trying REALLY hard to not pick black and gray for everything...(did I mention how much I LOVE gray and black?).

             The Girl Creative

Friday, January 28, 2011

Heat Bag filled with Rice

While I love the giant windows in my office, they can be chilly, especially on days when there is a strong north wind.

Please don't judge my messy desk...I know exactly where everything is...most of the time...
 It's more than frowned upon to have any type of heat source that plugs in, so this was the next best thing.    

dark hallway = bad photo

I couldn't seem to get a decent picture of it, sorry!  It's made up of two 100% cotton fabrics for the exterior and a 100% cotton lining.  The handles are cotton webbing you can buy by the yard.  I got mine on clearance (yay!)

I had intended to sew the compartments parallel to the seams, but b/c I'm not very good at this yet, the seams didn't line up on the back.  So I decided on diagonal instead.  With those seams, the back twists nicely into a shape perfect for the back of my neck! 

A little tip: if you sew 1/2 the diagonal and stop at the seam, remove from your machine, fill the compartment with rice (about 2/3 full), shake it all to the bottom, it'll be easier to sew it the rest of the way.

Two to three minutes in the microwave (I nuke mine at 1/2 power) and you'll be nice and toasty for hours!

There you have it!  A Heat Bag filled with Rice.  Or is it a Rice Bag filled with Heat?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Is it obvious?

Please confirm that I am not in fabric denial.  From the moment I saw this fabric online, I knew it was meant to be mine.  I don't know about you, but when I shop online for fabric, a lot goes into the cart.  Anything I'd even remotely think about purchasing gets added.  Then when I finish the joy of sorting through pages of thumbnails of fabric, I edit out the ones I don't l.o.v.e.  So, back to the fabric.  This one was different.  It was love at first sight.  Then I clicked on it.  Huh?  Seasonal?  How can this possibly be...oh, wait...yep...Halloween.  It's called Haunted Mansion by Sanae for Moda Fabrics.  

So, my question for I blind in love?  So much that I went ahead and made a bag out of it and have been carrying it around (proudly, I might add) for the last month (January, not October!)?  

Or are you with me and see this as an awesome fabric with a great color combo (gray, red, oranges) and a nod toward nature?  

Don't leave me hangin' here...leave a comment so I can begin the healing process, if need be.  :)  

My Halloween Bag?  You be the judge!

There is a free tutorial and pattern for the City Bag available from Martina at Confessions of a Sewing Addict.  I love the shape and how it stands up on it's own (not so much the straps).  It has an interior pocket and a magnetic closure.  I changed up the straps on my version.  I used a really fine whale corduroy for the interior and a stiff piece of fusible interfacing for the bottom. 

If you use the pattern, place the interior pocket lower than it appears in the drawing.  There are no measurements regarding the placement, so I eyeballed based on the diagram which left a pretty tight squeeze for the clasp between the top of the pocket and the edge of the fabric.  

City blooms tote giveaway
The giveaway is over, by the way, but you can still make this sweet bag and love yours as much as I love mine.  
Happy Halloween, er...I mean...happy Thursday!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Hanging Nightstand

Yep, that's right...something handmade...for a BOY! 

The Hanging Nightstand!

It holds his Nintendo DSi, iPod, lots of books, pencils, chap stick, a water bottle, and has loops that help wrangle the wires to the chargers for the electronics.  It has three straps up top that button on to the bed rail. 

It's hard to see all the pockets b/c I used the same fabric throughout.  The back side is a fine corduroy in dark charcoal.

Ready for a photo tour of the Hanging Nightstand?

Pocket #1
Pocket #1
The upper left has a pocket perfectly sized for a Nintendo DSi.  I put a loop to the left to wrangle the charger cord.  The loop is just the right size so it doesn't slip through when unplugged.

Pocket #2
Pocket #2
The top center pocket holds the iPod Nano (the tall skinny version) with two stylus slots (to the left).  A loop on top guides the charger cord to avoid tangles. 

Pocket #3
Pocket #3
The top right pocket fits books.  It's holding three chapter books in this pic.  I also made it tall enough to hold a water bottle. 

Pocket #4
Pocket #4
The bottom left pocket holds more books (horizontally, instead of vertically like the upper right pocket).   On the far left, you can see another loop made to guide both charger cords together (hard to see, but one is white and one is gray). 

Pocket #5

Pocket #5
This pocket is on an angle (down to the left).  Insert pens or pencils on the right end.  The top also is a pocket (can you see the two sticks of chap stick poking out of the top?).  The pockets are separated by fabric (i.e. the lip balm is not touching the pen and pencil).  Make sense?  Another loop is sewn into the bottom of this pocket to clip additional things.  My son's DSi case (it's brown, you can see the zipper pull here) has a small carabiner, so I planned the loop for that. 

My second grader says, "It's very handy. I use it every night.  I can put stuff in it instead of putting it on my nightstand.  I have the best mom ever!" sweet.  Love that kid.

Party button

Friday, January 21, 2011

Satin "Starburst" Clips

My 4-year-old daughter has a birthday party to attend for a friend tomorrow so I thought I'd whip up a pair of singed satin flower clips (pink, of course).
One of the finished clips - I hope she loves them!

When I finished the flower clips, I thought I'd see what would happen if I cut strips around the center of the circle then singe...and so was born the Starburst Clip!

I'd *love* to know what you think of the Starburst Clip!

Another Pink Penguin project!

Another great tutorial (stylish pen case) from Pink Penguin!  I finished my zipper ends a little bit differently b/c I prefer this look.  Otherwise, it's step-by-step! 

Pink Penguin Pen Case - again with the grey corduroy!  (do you love the legos in the background?)

Up close and personal...this was good practice for sewing straight lines...I need all the practice I can get!

A look at the inside and better angle on the zipper end modification. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Pink Penguin Tribute

When I began my return to sewing and creating, I scoured the web for picture-filled, designed-for-beginners tutorials to lead me step-by-step through the process.  I landed on Pink Penguin and her patchwork mini fabric basket tutorial

The pink and orange basket below was my first completed sewing project (since junior high home ec!). 

I have since made six of these (3 of which made perfect teacher gifts filled with chocolate, a starbucks gift card, and a sweet note -- but I forgot to take a picture before I gifted them - argh!).   
Pink Penguin fabric basket - my first!

Many thanks to Ayumi at Pink Penguin!!    She has several great go check them out (I'll be sharing more of mine soon)!! 

Pink Penguin fabric basket - this is my favorite.  The bottom is gray corduroy.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A (wonky) wonky cross block potholder.

My first potholder entailed two 'firsts' for me:
These ladies make it look so easy!  I wanted to try my hand at a quilt block, so I tackled a few wonky cross blocks.  When I finished, I wasn't quite sure what to do with them, so I decided to make one into a potholder.  It's pretty tricky sewing through all those layers while keeping them lined up.  Mine turned out a bit...well, wonky. 

Imbibe-On-the-Go Bag

The inspiration for this came from a white elephant gift exchange where my theme was 'booze'.  Simple enough...lots of less-than-$10 bottles of wine and alcohol, right?  So I headed to a local liquor store to see what I could come up with.  A friend suggested a bottle of mixer with some shooters, so it was.  But I needed something more, something that would pull this gift together...and so the idea for the Imbibe-On-the-Go bag was born.  That night, I designed and sewed it out of the only gender-neutral fabric I had in my small stash (b/c I didn't know who would end up with it).  

This bag has room for a bottle of mix and four shooters!

Packed and ready to go.
 Okay, so I spent more than $10.  But it's worth it, because I love thoughtful gifting!

Just the bag.  

I sewed the pockets before adding the lining for a clean-looking interior. 

You'd never know from looking at it, but I totally sewed the lining on wrong so it wouldn't turn itself right side out.  It was already 11:30pm and the white elephant was the next day at work!  Argh!  Hello, seam ripper.  Procrastination will be the death of me!

Oh, and the 22-year-old recent college grad ended up with the Imbibe-on-the-Go bag (he stole it, so I feel good that it ended up in a loving home) :)

(by the way, just have to say it, this bag is not intended to be used while driving.  Do not drink and drive.)

Party button

Friday, January 14, 2011

Satin Flowers

I saw these satin flowers on Make it and Love it and The Idea Room.   I made.  And I loved.  These are so incredibly cute and EASY!  You can embellish almost anything:  purses, picture frames, homemade cards, hair accessories...endless possibilities!

Here are a few more shots:

This last one is perfect for Valentines' Day that's coming up soon!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A fond look back at hair Scrunchies...

Sometime circa 1990, I was in a junior high home economics class sitting behind a sewing machine learning it's ins and outs.  This was not my first rodeo, however. 

My mother had an old school Singer sewing machine.  It was built into the table and flipped upside down when not in use.  It was not the best-behaving machine, or so I thought.  Looking back, though, 95% of it was user error! 

I made a few small fabric pouches, some simplistic doll clothes, but mainly just cut up my old clothes into scraps and sewed them back together again.  In the midst of all that, I taught myself to make awesome hair scrunchies.  Not a big deal, right?  Wrong!  (in the early '90's, these were VERY popular (just ask my mom...she's still wearing hers!))  In a small town, there was limited availability both in quantity, but mainly in variety.  As a result, we walked around like a pre-teen version of the Stepford Wives in our matching scrunchies.  But for me and my new-found skill, the entire Wal-Mart fabric section was my oyster! 

Needless to say, that was my self-taught (and jealousy-provoking) foray into sewing.  

So by the time I had 'formal instruction', I thought this sewing thing was a walk in the proverbial park.  And it the beginning.  A stuffed soccer ball in my school colors - a breeze!  A basic mini-skirt (again, it was the early '90's) - more of a challenge, but still a success.  Then I got cocky:  strapless dress for the winter formal - total disaster! 

That was the day I learned short people can have long torsos.  If you, too, have a long torso, you know that strapless anything is not great.  That is unless you don't mind having a Janet Jackson-esque 'wardrobe malfunction', or be showing midriff all day.  As for the fate of that made a super-rad scrunchie!     
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