Sunday, September 14, 2014

Charlotte's Snack Bag

Charlotte saw Peter's new snack bag and just HAD to have one of her own, so I grabbed some pre-quilted fabric my mother-in-law gave me a while back and whipped this one up.  I made it a couple of inches shorter since Peter's is a little too big.  This size fits her snack containers nicely.



Again, I used In Color Order's Lined Drawstring Bag tutorial.  It's just such a perfect little design that I didn't even bother looking for a different one.  Here is the view from the other side:



The lining is more of the red and white striped fabric that came from an old sheet my friend, Kym, gave me.  It's such nice weight material and it seems to match well with a lot of things that I sew!  I'm going to be very sad when it finally runs out.  The band of navy across the top on the exterior is left over from the vest I made for Peter last Halloween as part of his Jake costume.  The drawstrings are just nylon cord.  I have long since given up sewing my own drawstrings on projects like these.  It's a pain in the butt and never looks nearly as nice as the cords



Now I just need to figure out a good way to label the bag so it doesn't get lost.  Sounds like it's time to order some cool woven labels like the "Made by Niki Stringer" ones I got as a gift a while back.  I bet those are easy to find since kids with school uniforms always need them.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Corey's keychains

A new job for Corey meant the opportunity to get a company car!  For someone like my husband, getting to add to his fleet was like Christmas.  The funniest part was that he had to choose only from cars that had parts made by his company, and no one seemed to have a comprehensive list for him to peruse.  You would think H.R. would maintain a list of something like that, but apparently not.  It was hilarious how long it took him to get a lineup of the authorized vehicles.

He finally settled on a Lincoln MKZ, and he loves it to pieces.  It came with all sorts of fancy features like a push-button start -- the darn key just needs to be somewhere inside the car.  The key isn't even a traditional-looking key.  It's just the fob part.  And for someone who usually doesn't carry a whole ring full of keys, this fob might be pretty easy to lose.  He asked me to make something like my keychain, and I made these (one in brown and one in black):



Here is a side view:



Tutorial?  Pattern?  I didn't need no stinkin' tutorial or pattern.  I just took a three-inch wide and eight-inch long piece of pleather, folded it lengthwise in thirds, and triple-stitched along the edges and down the middle.  Easy peasy.  I did make sure I put masking tape on the underside of the foot, selected the "leather/vinyl" setting on the machine, and used a denim needle.  It went a lot smoother than I even imagined it would to be honest.

Next, I trimmed the ends a bit, folded it in half width-wise, and grabbed a Dritz Key Fob Hardware Set (it was $2.79 at Jo-Ann's, but I had a trillion coupons and probably got 40% off or something).  Once I located Corey's rubber mallet, I pounded that puppy closed.  I repeated the process with the other pleather, and then I had two cute keychains.  Took me about 10 minutes total to prep the machine, thread the bobbin, cut the pleathers, stitch, trim, and hammer.  Made me wonder why I had put the whole thing off for so long.

I just realized I never posted a photo of the keychain I made for my van.  I also have one of those funny keys that has no metal part, but this one you actually have to stick into the steering column like a key.  I made keychains like these for me and my friend, Kym, and they are a bit longer so they can go around your wrist if you like.  I chose the fabric so it would match my Michigan mitten keychain that my sister-in-law gave me last Christmas.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Flaming snack bag for Peter

[I'm pretty sure the title of this post is going to attract some views by people using a search engine to find very different things, but Peter named this his "Flaming Snack Bag" and I'm not going to argue.]

ANYWAY, I wanted to sew him something fun to take in his preschool bag to hold his snack.  He has a Transformers lunch box and a Lightning McQueen lunch box, but I thought it might be fun for him to switch between those (plus, I really wanted to take a break from my current sewing project and do something a little different).  I used Jenni Baker's tutorial for a Lined Drawstring Bag (which I have made before, and just adored the result) with two of Peter's favorite fabrics from my stash -- flames and motorcycles.



Unfortunately, I kind of forgot that the motorcycles on the blue fabric would be lost once the drawstring was pulled shut.  Oh well -- Peter can enjoy that pattern when the bag is open.  The lining is a stiff shiny fabric of some sort that is heavier than rip stop nylon.  I have no memory of where I got it, but I'm guessing it was from the remnants rack.  Total shocker, I know.  The other two fabrics are quilting cotton.



I added a layer of InsulBrite to the flame fabric using spray adhesive to give the bag a little more structure and a smidgen of insulation.  I don't think the bag is going to be all that insulated since I didn't add InsulBrite to the top part, but it might help a little when I send some fruit and use a cold pack.  The kid is only in preschool for three hours and it's not like the snack had to stay cool for long.

The bag probably ended up a little taller than I needed, but I guess that means it should fit his water bottle inside as well with no issues.  If I made it again for a snack bag, I would probably shorten it by about two or three inches.  I also boxed the corners at 3.5" instead of 3" to make it a tad deeper and so the cold pack we have would fit a little easier.

One note about the cutting list in the tutorial -- it says to cut the fabric for the main outside part to 9" x 22", and then to sub-cut the piece into two pieces measuring 9" x 10.5".  I think she meant that the original piece should be cut to 9" x 21", though (since 10.5 plus 10.5 equals 21).  Not a huge deal, but it just resulted in me having to cut off that extra inch and throw it away.

And here is that little stinker on his first day of preschool yesterday.  He insisted on dressing himself, which is how he ended up with a black Batman appliqué t-shirt (which I made for him sometime last fall) paired with navy plaid shorts.  I couldn't talk him out of changing at least one or the other, so I let it slide.  It's funny how he cares so much more about what he wears than his big sister, Charlotte.  What a goofball.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Sami's Summer Time Doll

Nipiti, one of my new favorite crochet pattern designers, has done it again....  Can you believe how adorable this doll is?


My friend, Toni, had commissioned me to crochet a doll like Sonia's for her daughter, Sami, for Christmas.  However, Nipiti asked if anyone would like to test this cute "My Summer Time Doll with Instagram Camera and Ice Cream", and Toni & I thought that Sami would like this doll even better!


How perfect are those little mary jane shoes and ruffly socks?  And I am IN LOVE with the cute little dot detailing on the bodice of the dress.  Toni chose the colors, and I think they work together perfectly.

The hair went shockingly fast....  I finished it in about an hour and a half.  Once you get all the strands cut and start attaching it to the head, it's kind of a soothing process.


Because I was doing a test, I took a few progress pictures.  The pattern worked up so nicely and is perfectly written, as usual.  The ice cream cone and camera are separate from the doll, but could be sewn on permanently.


It was at this point that I realized that this color combination was absolutely spectacular.  Good color choices, Toni!  I think Sami is going to love her new doll.


The pattern is on sale now (may favorite source to buy patterns is Ravelry, of course!), and Nipiti's Ravelry group is made up of some amazing hookers.  I can't wait to see what she designs next!

Only 111 more crocheting days until Christmas....  Better get crackin'....

Monday, September 1, 2014

And even more potholders (with a bonus hot pad)

I tried to make myself another potholder using a really cool afghan block by Julie Yeager called "Firenze", but unfortunately, it came out too large.  So, now I have a really beautiful hot pad!  I had planned to crochet the pattern until it got to the right size and then stop, leaving off the rest of the rounds, but unfortunately, the way Firenze was designed, it didn't "square up" until it got past potholder size.  Oh well!  It still turned out nice anyway.



After I posted pictures of my last round of scalloped potholders, I got orders for five more!  I made one for my Aunt Janet (Niki's and my crafting goddess muse) and four for my mother.  Mom gave them to our relatives who hosted her in Indiana when she went there last week for a family reunion.  My crocheted goods are being spread all over the country!

Potholder #1:



Potholder #2:



Potholder #3



Potholder #4 (whoops, forgot to take outdoor glamor shots of it, so these flash-lit ones are all I have):



Potholder #5 (whoops, forgot to take a shot with my real camera before I sent it to Aunt Janet, so this blurry cell phone picture is all I have... the other (not pictured) side of the potholder is all in the Lily Sugar 'n' Cream Cottage Twists):


More potholders are being planned and crocheted.....

Friday, August 29, 2014

Nicholas's Darth Maul hat

My incredibly handsome nephew, Nicholas, turned 5 this week!  We are so lucky that we live near him because Sonia loves to play with her cool cousin.  For his birthday, I knew I wanted to crochet him something Star Wars-themed, but I was flummoxed as to what.  As I've mentioned before, there's a shocking lack of fun Star Wars crochet patterns on the internet (for free or otherwise).  For some reason, Star Wars doesn't seem to lend itself well to crochet?  

Anyway, I decided that once again, I would go with a hat.  One of Nicholas's favorite Star Wars characters is the evil Sith lord Darth Maul, so I looked around for a Darth Maul hat pattern.  Some of them were not good (seriously, have the designers even seen the movie?  he doesn't have goat-length horns....), and some looked so basic that I knew I could come up with something on my own just as easily as following someone else's pattern.

I did use one pattern, though....  My favorite graph beanie pattern by Liz McQueen! It makes such a nice, stretchy, well-shaped hat!  Then, I free-handed some horns, stitched them on, added a bit more detailing, and voila: Darth Maul!


Sonia would like you to pretend that she's not wearing a pajama top with a cute little bow on the neckline.  Instead, imagine that she is wearing a scary black outfit fit for a Sith lord.

Here's a good picture of ole' Darth Maul himself:


Yikes.  Not someone you want to meet in a dark alley.


Even Sith lords gotta smile once in a while.


I studied pictures of Darth Maul very closely while I made this hat.  You can kind of see how the black ovals under the horns on the front of the hat aren't stitched down perfectly around the edge, because if I did that, the hat wouldn't stretch properly.


I think I might have placed the horns a bit too high.  If I ever make this hat again, I'll try to place the horns lower.  They also might be just a touch too big.  Oh well.  At least I didn't make them goat-length.


Sonia posed with the Darth Maul action figure that I bought for Andrew during way back during law school finals (I believe it was when he was a 1L).  Too bad she broke his double-sided lightsaber.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Outfitting Barb & Larry's boat

I got all of the pillows and three of the nine bags done for Barb & Larry's boat!  They are headed there this weekend with their friends, so I sent them off with the finished products.

Here are all of the pillows:



The upholstery and carpeting on the boat are very neutral, so these should give some nice color and cheer to it.  They look pretty nice on my couch, actually!  The larger pillows are 16" square, and the smaller ones are, as I recall, 12" x 16".  They all have zippers on them and are made of outdoor fabric.  They promised to take some photos of the pillows in place on the boat, so I hope to update this post sometime soon.

Here are the bags, which are for fitting into the nooks and crannies on the boat (rather than bringing large bags of their supplies which will then take up lots of the precious room).



I altered the lunch bag tutorial from Pink Penguin to make these bags to the dimensions Barb requested.  They are all made of quilting cotton and interfaced with fusible fleece.  I used cotton webbing for the handles rather than sewing my own handles (1) because I like that look better, and (2) because I think they look more polished that way.  I also altered the pattern to include double drawstrings that pull against each other as closure rather than using drawstring stoppers.  The drawstrings are nylon cording.

I still need to make a four long, skinny bags in the style of the ones above, a large tote bag to carry all the pillows in, and a small tote bag to carry some sand toys for the grandkids.  When I'm back from our upcoming trip to Indiana and a last night of camping, I can hopefully knock all of those out in a couple of days.