Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Candy Jar makeover...along with a bit of rambling

       I've been working on this jar set for about two weeks now, five minutes at a time whenever I can squeeze in some spare time. Ever noticed how much time and attention little people need? I've been thinking about that lately. My tendency is to get really frustrated with the many delays, crisis, messes, and constant clamor from my two little ladies. I have to remind myself that, just as we all soon will be breaking out the fall decor because of the passing season, this is a season in life that will pass quickly. I can either waste it by wishing it away, or enjoy those little people while they still think helping momma is the funnest game in town...even if it means it takes me two weeks to do a two hour project. There will be a season at some point in my future, when I can take a shower and do my hair all in the same day...and my house will be peaceful and clean. Until then, well, there is a reason I crop pictures on this blog! I guess I'll just enjoy the season while it lasts.
     OK, rambling over, back to my jars. I found this set at the thrift store for a whopping $7.

      It looked like it had been sitting in some one's barn for the last decade, but it totally had cuteness potential. I cleaned, scrubbed, and sanitized the thing and then gave the wood a clean coat of white paint. Everything always looks better with a little distressing in my opinion, so I took off some of the paint with sandpaper.

     I decided the sides looked a little bare, so I printed off a design I liked from the Graphics Fairy. I traced it onto contact paper to make a stencil.

      Cut it out with an exacto knife.

     Stuck it on the side.

      Traced it onto the wood with a paint pen.

     I filled it in with black paint using a small paint brush. I was able to use the same stencil for both sides by being super careful with it when I pealed it off the first side. I distressed the image with sandpaper after it dried. I covered the whole thing with a coat of polycrylic to seal the paint.

     Here is the finished product.

      For now, I have it sitting on a baker's rack I have in my dining room. I use it for pantry over flow items.

     I might hang some tags from the lids later on just for pretties, once I decide which pantry items to put in them.

     I think the design adds a nice touch to the sides.

     $7 can go a long way if you are willing to put a little work into something!

" To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:"
Ecclesiasties 3:1

Linking to:
Tea Rose Home
Sew Woodsy
Organize and decorate everything

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Knock off sewing - Drapey tops

      I am not one of those ridiculously lucky women who magically looses all evidence of pregnancy the moment their child takes their first breath. It takes me hours of bonding with my treadmill and lots of blood, sweat, and tears to loose every ounce. That being said, I am in the annoying "no man's land" with my wardrobe...pre-pregnancy clothes don't fit yet and I want nothing to do with my maternity wardrobe. So what is a girl to do? Go shopping of course! Except, the thought of dragging a two year old and a three week old around town hunting for clothes is about as appealing as a tooth ache. It's pretty painless to shop online though, and I found lots I liked! I thought it would be fun to find some clothes I like, and see what I could do to make them myself. I think I'll just make it a series for the fun of it....knock off sewing tutorials! I have a surplus of fabric that needs to be used, so this is the perfect excuse.
     I'm going to start off with these drapey tops. I've seen them called all sorts of different things, so I'm not sure what the "official" title is. The lovely thing about this style shirt is, the sleeves are not sewn in like a regular sleeve making them super simple to sew. They are so comfy to wear, and can be dressed up or down depending on accessories.
     These two are from Anthropologie. The first is $68.00, the second is $58.00. (The links to the listings are below each picture)

     These next two are from Nordstrom. The first is $54.00, and the second is $178.00. (, just a teensie bit expensive?)

      As you can see, while the basic style is the same, each one is slightly different in the finishing details. The sleeve length, necklines, waist and materials are all varied.
     While the little girls were down for a nap, I came up with two of my own versions. (With the help of strong cup of coffee to keep myself awake) My first version, I made out of a turquoise knit.

      My second one has slightly longer sleeves, looser fit, and no binding around the neckline. I made it with a super soft cream colored knit.

     Here is how I made them. Sorry, my method wasn't super specific since I was making it up as I went, but you should still get the general concept.
     First off, make sure you pre-shrink your fabric before you start sewing. I laid out my fabric so that it was four layers thick with two folds along the edge. I used a loose fitting shirt I already had as my basic guide, so I wouldn't have to mess with measurements. I folded my shirt in half and laid along the two folds.

     I cut out around the shirt, making the sleeves longer and the neckline a boat neck style. You want the sleeves to kind of sweep down gently to the side of the shirt with no sharp angles.

     I turned right sides together and pined at the edge of the neck and the under arm.

      I sewed along the top shoulder and from the arm pit down the side seams. I left about 8 inches of the sleeve open. You don't want it to be open too far down the side of the shirt.

     Next, I cut an eight inch wide band for the bottom of the shirt. Make sure you pay attention to the stretch of your fabric... If your fabric only has a one way stretch, you want the stretch to be going width wise or it will be too tight even if its cut the right length. I didn't do that and had to go back and add in some fabric. I folded the band raw edges together, right sides out so that the fold was on the bottom.

     Doing this prevents you from having to hem the bottom of the shirt. Sew the band on and then the bottom is nicely finished for you.
     I double stitch hemmed the sleeves and then cut out binding for the neckline. I just cut a long strip about two inches wide. Fold it over and sew to the neckline.

      I just trimmed off the excess when I got to the end and sewed the two ends together. Don't forget to stretch out the binding as you sew so that it keeps the neckline from sagging.

      I top stitched around the neck to help it smooth out.

     That all there is to it! The cream colored one I did basically the same. Mine cost me about $5.00 each.  As with just about everything I sew, I learned some things to make me better at it the next go around. Hmmm, now what to make next?

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:"
Ecclesiasties 3:1 

Linking to:
Tea Rose Home
Sew Woodsy
Laugh Love Craft

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How to copy-cat sew

      Sewing can be tons of fun, however, it can be super exasperating as well. I'm all about simplifying the process, partly because I don't have a lot of free time, and partly because I'm not that smart. One way I make things easier and faster for myself when sewing clothing, is to use a garment I already have as my pattern rather than using a typical paper pattern. I actually have never made anything using a real pattern, but I do plan to learn at some point. Anyway, I saw this idea a while ago somewhere, don't have a clue where, of how to make a pattern off of a piece of clothing. It works super fabulously and its relatively painless. You need to make sure that you use the same type of fabric as the original.
      Grab a piece of parchment paper or freezer paper and lay the garment you plan to copy on top. Lay it on something slightly soft that you can stick pins into, like an ironing board. I used a simple, knit, peasant style, newborn size dress.

      Use the pins to poke holes in the paper along all the seams. Make sure if it has elastic like this dress does, that you stretch it out tight as you poke so you get the true width.

      Do each section of the garment separately. I started with the body of the dress first.

     Once you have a complete outline poked in your paper, draw it out with a marker.

     Make sure you mark where the fold goes on the sleeve.

     Next, cut out your fabric. You'll need to add seam allowances. I used knit fabric just like the original, however, if I were to use cotton, I would need to add enough for an elastic casing and hemming. I did add a bit of extra length to mine.

     Sew the sleeves on to the top first.

     Put right sides together and starting at the end of the sleeve, sew down the sides.

     Since this was knit fabric, instead of hemming it, I lettuce edged the raw edges. (Lettuce edging is just doing a tight zigzag along the edge while stretching out the fabric.)

     Last of all, I sewed elastic thread around the neck and arm holes.

     Here is my version next to the original, store bought one.

      I have to admit, usually when I copy something, I just trace it right onto my fabric and skip all this...however, this way is a whole lot more accurate. This little dress fit the littlest lady perfectly.

      Happy sewing! =)

 "Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty." Psalms 104:1

Linking to:
TaterTots and Jello

Monday, August 22, 2011

How to stuff too many things into a tiny room...aka finished baby room

     So, I sorta, kinda, finished up the little girls' much as I'm going to do with it right now anyway. I'm not entirely satisfied, but until I get some better ideas, here is what it looks like now. As I've explained before, their room is an open loft. It's sloping roof makes it extremely difficult to fit furniture and it also has no closet. Here is what is looks like from the stairs looking in.

      Do you remember this awful painting I found at the thrift store?

      Here is what is looks like now. Just as a side note, never try to make a chalkboard out of a painting that has really thick paint strokes on it. Even after about five coats of chalkboard paint, I can still see the outline of those awful geese! My two year old doesn't care though, she thinks its great that she can color anytime she want now.

      Books and toys go here. If all the toys don't fit, they get chucked out or donated. I know, I'm a mean momma. You can see how I made the book shelves in this post. My mister made the toy shelves for me.

      I showed you in the last post how to make a rocking chair cushion. The rocking chair was a garage sale find.

      This is the baby's crib. You can see how I made the quilts, sheets, and bed skirts for both beds in this post and this post.

     I made the embroidery hoop mobile and show you how in this post.

      The shelves just have a few random things on them. The pink frame used to be gold colored and I painted it and then dry brushed with white. The black and white picture of the two little girls in it came from The Graphics Fairy. (Love LOVE that site!)

     Here is the clothes situation which I explained here. This is the part I'm not entirely happy still looks cluttered to me. Its also pretty annoying when a certain little someone decides to "help momma" and empty out a shelf of clothes into the dirty clothes hamper! It would really be lovely to have it all put away out of site. I don't have a better solution at the moment though...I would love any suggestions! The dresser is going to get a pretty paint job at some point in the future.

      I added some sticky mirrors to the wall around the ABC art I made here. I've never met a little girl who didn't like to look at themselves...needless to say this was a huge hit! Yes, the "Z" on the canvas is still backwards...I'll fix it...someday.

      And last is the toddler bed which was also a garage sale find and repainted by me.  My mom made the super cute polka dot crocheted blanket at the foot of the bed.

     So there you have it...a little crowded, but just right for the little girls at this stage. Funny, I started out thinking I was going to have a bird theme in this room. I don't think there is a single bird in it! Oh well, I guess the moral of the story is to just go with what works!

" Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you." James 4:8

Linking to:
TaterTots and Jello