Friday, July 31, 2009

Buffalo Patch Tee

Homemade buffalo on purchased t-shirt. I stitched over the red thread on the purchased t-shirt with brown thread to tie the buffalo together a little more. I thought about stitching "Buffalo" or "American Bison" onto the shirt (front and/or back), but I might just leave it alone. What do you think?

I straight-stitched the brown felt and furry fleece for the buffalo underneath the t-shirt in the shape of my buffalo, then cut away the red shirt and finished it off with the tight zig-zag stitch. I might try the next one by just cutting out the buffalo first and sewing it on top like a true patch, but that furry fleece is messy!

I meant to have this done before our Yellowstone trip a couple weeks ago, but did some other projects instead (I can't wait to blog those!). Yesterday Monkey One saw the plain red t-shirts and suggested we put the buffalo on right then. So we did. We haven't gotten to Monkey Two's yet. Maybe today?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Toddler Sun Hat Strap

I had a burst of genius late one night that I thought I'd share.

You know that buttonhole elastic that's inside of kids' waistbands to make them adjustable? Well, I saw some at JoAnn the a few days before this story takes place, so I picked some up, thinking it would come in handy for some future pants for my skinny Monkey One.

Back to that late night. I was packing the kids' sun hats for our Yellowstone trip the next day. I was wishing Monkey Two's hat had a strap (he's 14 months old) when I suddenly thought of my new buttonhole elastic. Then before I knew it I had the hat, the elastic, and two buttons gathered around me at the sewing machine. I used the buttonhole stitch on my sewing machine to quickly attach a button on each side of the hat, then cut the elastic and finished off the ends by folding and sewing a straight line. Easy.

The idea was that I could easily tighten or loosen the elastic as needed. But unfortunately, I didn't measure (it was late at night, remember, and my monkeys were asleep). The elastic is just the right length on the longest setting. Don't worry, I can always cut a longer strip if I need to. I just wish it were longer to begin with. The strap proved successful otherwise. Monkey Two kept the hat on most of the time, and it never blew away!

The elastic is super soft, (not like the scratchy-looking stuff in the picture), so it is perfect for a baby's sweet skin. What I actually bought was about a 1-yard length package of Dritz 3/8" Buttonhole Elastic that came in a small package. I'm sure the scratchy bulk stuff is fine for waistbands.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Daddy Laptop Desk

This is belated, I know. This is the laptop desk that the little monkeys and I made for father's day / Marito's birthday (yes, it's sad for him to have both in the same week because he often just gets one combined gift). Marito usually uses large book to keep his legs from getting too hot from his laptop computer. When I saw the unfinished lap desk at Hobby Lobby I knew it was the perfect thing, and I could make it so much snazzier than the old book he was using.

This painted side is a personal joke. That's Marito, going about his business "in a professional manner." I was very pleased with the way the illustration turned out. I wasn't so pleased with the lettering. I redid it several times but finally gave up and just settled.

The Father's Day side is a collage of photos of Marito and the boys from (roughly) the last year. I've made him a few mini photo albums with the same idea in years past, and this is just a variation on the theme. The surface isn't perfectly smooth, but I wasn't worried about that since he wouldn't be using it for handwriting. I used Mod Podge for the gluing and finishing, but it seems the Mod Podge sometimes gets a little sticky when it gets very hot. Any suggestions?

It's fun to look at all the 54 of the little pictures of father and sons enjoying life together. I hope the collage gives a cheery boost to his workday.

My paintbrush box was lost so I only had large ones from my grandmother's craft boxes. It was the first time they've been used since her death 10 years ago next month. I felt privileged to use her artist tools. She was a watercolorist, and had beautiful lettering. Her paintbrushes were probably cringing under my use! Thanks, Grandma. Another special thanks to Aunt Cynthy (again) for lending me her I Love Lucy DVDs. They make a great background for crafting late into the night.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Zippity Yay! Patriotic Shirts!

When I saw the Zippity Doo Dah Moda fabric I fell in love (PDF of fabric collection here). When I saw it a second time I knew I had to get some of those stripes to make the boys some patriotic shirts for July Fourth. I bought the cheaper stars fabric for the main parts and got the Moda to use as accents. The difference between working with the cheap fabric and the Moda fabric surprised me.

I sewed Monkey One's shirt first. I didn't use a pattern for the shirt, I used some of Monkey One's older shirts. It's really fun for me to work that way, trying to figure out myself how to make it. It's like solving a puzzle, but fun.

I initially had the shirt's collar inside-out so the red stripes were on top, contrasting with the stars. But it looked a little too obnoxious. Marito had a funny reaction: "Is there any way you can make it more... masculine?" So I turned the collar back around so it wouldn't be quite so show-tunes-like.

Next I sewed Monkey Two's romper. I copied a button-up shirt of his and a knit romper. I like the contrasting lining and pocket. I realized his arms were a little confined so I took off the sleeves and added extra fabric at the shoulders (I call it shoulder patches) to make sure he would have plenty of wiggle room. I was very pleased that it fit in the end, and the shoulder patches look like they're there on purpose.

I used no-sew snaps because, I should just say it, I hate sewing on snaps. (In fact, the first romper I sewed for Monkey Two before he was born is still sitting in my to-finish pile with only half the snaps sewn on. He's long outgrown it, and never even got to wear it!) Anyway, if you buy the no-sew snaps be sure to get the easy attacher tool that holds them in place while you're hammering. Also, I think I owe an apology to my poor next door neighbors. I was hammering away snaps at midnight while they were probably trying to sleep! What was I thinking?

Here are my boys posing in their shirts for me before we headed off to the parade.

Before I finished the boys' shirts I decided to get some more fabric to make a shirt for myself. Afterall, the fabric was 20% off at Material Girls, and I needed something cute, too! Again, maybe the fabric is a little obnoxious for a woman's top, but I figure anything goes for the Fourth of July. But now that I have the shirt made I certainly have to wear it often, obnoxious or not. I think it's cute. Marito says he likes it, too. The peasant-style blouse is very comfortable, but makes me feel like I should be pregnant.

For the sizing I looked at a few shirts of mine, but I made up the style as I went. I especially like the no-fuss, over-the-head neckline and the button-thing on the back. Did I mention that I love the striped fabric? The solid navy was something I had in my stash. I'm glad I didn't have enough of the jacks fabric because the solid fabric really gives it a... well, solid look. I'm inspired to keep sewing for myself. I certainly have some fabric piling up in my closet that would make a couple of cute tops.

Another Grograin Giveaway

Rock Paper Scissors giveaway here. I love the monogram stamps. I remember seeing them in a magazine when I was trying to choose a name for Monkey Two. I imagined monograms with each of my top choices while I was sitting in the doctors office waiting room.
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