Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 30: Sew Easy Kid Capris

I've been reading a lot of sewing blogs lately and have become duly inspired. Zaaberry and Aesthetic Nest are really great blogs for sewing projects with excellent tutorials, and these ladies know how to sew. I'm still an amateur, but I'm feeling a little adventurous... I mean, they make it look sew easy... ha ha. Anyway, I've been considering what garment to try to reproduce, and I have decided upon a pair of capri pants for my girls. See below.

This is my inspiration piece. I am starting simple, skipping the ruffles and
embroidery. Maybe after I confirm that my pattern is viable I may try something
a little more involved like pockets or some sort of ornamentation.

First I'll have to make my pattern. Stretch out the waistband to get an accurate
line at the top. Don't forget to add your seam allowances and mark your fold.

Pin to your fabric and cut. I doubled it so I would only have to pin/cut once.

I used my serger to finish the edges at the legs and then sewed the inseam.
Turning the legs right-side out, I sewed the two legs together. Once the pieces
were together, I serged around the waist line to finish those edges.

This pair of shorts is going to have an elastic waistband, so I turned down
the top edge to make a channel wide enough to slip my elastic through.

When I sewed the waistband, I left about 2 inches open to thread my elastic
through. I cut my elastic about 2 inches shorter than the girls' waist size, so
hopefully it will fit. I attached a safety pin to the end of the elastic to help
thread it through. Next, I serged the ends of the elastic together and closed
up the hole in the channel.

The only thing left to do was hem the legs. This is what my shorts looked like
inside out.

Here is the finished product.
Tomorrow I plan to try the shorts on one of the girls to verify that they fit. If so, I will repeat in a different color, and try to fashion some shirts to match. I'm thinking of a variation on these pillow case dresses for the shirt. I love the way they are gathered at the top and tied with an oversize bow. I think I can basically take this idea and just make it shirt length, but we'll see. Stay tuned!

This concludes my participation in the 30 Day Creativity Challenge. I cannot say that I rocked it because I missed a few day, but it did force me to look at some things in a new perspective and to reexamine my definition of "creativity". Tomorrow, we will return to your regularly scheduled program.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day 28: Mom, I Want a Haircut Too!

This is the after shot. I thought I did alright... Dad hasn't given
his opinion, but I'm hoping he likes it!

The day before yesterday, I think my heart skipped a beat in shock when my husband suggested it was time for me to cut the twins' hair. I had only been telling him for months that this needed to be done... The girls had mini girl mullets, and all they needed were a couple long ringlets to be cut off to make their hair even and thicker-looking. So when I got over the shock, I went ahead and cut the girls' hair (before he could change his mind).

Well, big brother got it in his head that he needed a haircut too. He has asked me probably ten times a day since then when he can get his hair cut. After I told him we couldn't take him to the barber this week, he said, "Well, Mommy, then YOU do it!" I have cut his hair before. It has never turned out perfect, however, and his dad frowns upon that sort of thing. Well.... I tried to resist... but, not that hard.

So, when the girls went down for their nap today, I rounded up my supplies: Dad's trimmer with guards #4  and #7, scissors, chair, towel, and clip to hold the towel closed, and I met my son on the back porch. Now, usually, I do the whole haircut with just the scissors because I like it kind of long on top, but this time I was trying to mimic what the stylist did the last time we took him out to get his hair cut. I used the trimmer for the whole thing, except where it was really long and thick on top and the trimmer was getting bogged down, I cut it with the scissors first and then went back and cleaned it up with the trimmer.

It turned out a lot smoother than normal, although a bit shorter than I prefer. It is summer though, so that's okay. And the kid likes it, and that's the most important thing. And mommy got to exercise her creativity in a way that made my kid happy AND saved 15 to 20 bucks! Can't beat that, in my opinion.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day 26: My Own Version of the Butterfly Pleated Tote

If you've been following the Cardboard Crafter Facebook Page, then you have probably figured out that I've been thinking about making a purse. I am a sucker for little bags, the more pockets, the better. I thought I'd try my hand at making a unique bag for my own personal use, especially since I can never find a purse at the store that I'm 100% satisfied with. If the bag is the perfect size, the strap is too long; if I find one with the perfect strap, it doesn't have enough pockets, etc. This way, if it's not exactly perfect, at least I haven't spent $50 or more on something that is not quite right. (Try free... much better, in my opinion.) Inspired by this tutorial, I used a little bit of this and that from my sewing room and put together my own little bag, designed by me. This little bag is a product of what I call "designing on the fly", so although there are a few things I might change if I were to do it again, overall I'm pretty happy with it.

This was my first attempt. I liked the feather print fabric, but it was really
heavy, and after I got this far I decided to scrap it. It looks better in the picture
than it did in real life.

Second attempt. The pictures are a little fuzzy, but this is a little shiny white
bag with a brown pinstripe flap. The handle is a knit belt, probably from a dress,
among the items I have nestled in my sewing room. 

The purse is belted with a greenish ribbon. I think I'm going to tack this down,
but as of now it is just looped through the loops of the handle.

The lining is a white muslin with a red floral pattern. I sewed in a pocket made
from a peach colored patch of muslin with a leafy pattern. 

This bag is big enough I can toss a few diapers and some wipes in it along with my wallet
and phone and be ready to go. The mix of fabrics and the whimsical butterfly appliques
lend this to a casual outfit, and I may put this to use this summer.  

My second attempt turned out so much better than the first, and overall, I'm pleased with the end result. I can't wait to see how bag number three looks! Wish me luck :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Day 23: Nothing to Report

With the summer time, I have been busy busy with running around with the kids, swimming in the pool, gardening, and the odd bit of housework. I'm finding myself less productive with my creative pursuits, but plenty busy otherwise. Although there was potential for some creative work...

I had been asked to attempt to alter a bridesmaid dress for a friend, but (probably lucky for her) she found someone else to do the job. Sure, I've made costumes and hemmed pants, but aside from the Silver Dress, I haven't really sewn anything that I wear. I am trying to gain skill and confidence with my sewing so that I can create fashions that I feel comfortable wearing in public (or are simply comfortable to wear), but I'm not to that point yet. When asked to do something that important, I get really nervous. It's not that I think I can't do it, I just don't know that I can.

At this point, mostly I craft for my own pleasure. My creative pursuits have not been put out in the world for the world to judge, so while I am confident that I can produce adequate work for my purposes, I am not to the point where I am certain I can do more. Maybe it serves to keep me humble... Maybe that's a good thing, lol. At any rate, nothing creative today. Forgive me, 30 Day Creativity Challenge!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day 21: Pillowcases for the Princesses

I have had these pillows for a long time (a little over 2 years), and have been meaning to make pillowcases for them so that they can go in the girls' beds. The twins are getting old enough now that they can have pillows, and these are small and fairly flat, so they ought to be to scale for my tiny tots. In fact, the girls used them in their play pens when we went on vacation. I can't say that they always rested their heads on the pillows, but they did seem to like snuggling up to them.

So today I went through my fabric stash and found the perfect pillowcase fabric: a pink muslin with white polka dots. The girls' room is decorated with pink and brown, and will one day have 2 pink walls (the paint is purchased, it's just hard to find a time to paint the girls' room because they best times for me are when they are asleep.... you can see my problem) to offset the two dark wood paneled walls. The girls have bedding that includes pink sheets with white polka dots, and brown, pink, and white striped bed-skirts and comforters, so you can see why I chose this particular fabric for the pillow cases.

The pillows in question and my pink polka-dot muslin.

I started by folding the fabric in half and measuring for my pillow case. Don't
forget to leave a little room for your seam allowances. I left a few inches on the
open side so I could fold it over and finish the edge a little nicer.

After serging the open side so I wouldn't have a raw edge, I folded it over
about an inch and stitched with my sewing machine. If you measure and iron
your folds, this will probably come out neater, but I skipped those steps for
time. (Nap time only lasts so long)

I lined up my two open edges and serged down the sides with right sides of
my fabric together. I also serged along the fold because my pillow case was
a bit too long. 

Once complete, simply turn the pillow case right side out and slip in a pillow.
This is one of the simplest projects you can do.

If you want a more decorative pillow case, you can patch the fabric together first or add appliques or beading around the edge. These are for 2-year-olds in their bed, so beads aren't really appropriate, but if you are recovering a decorative pillow and you want something more elaborate, get creative. You can also sew up the open end once you have inserted the pillow, but I left mine open for easier cleaning. 

Try this out for yourself and post pictures of your finished pillowcases on The Cardboard Crafter Facebook Page. For that matter, share pictures of anything crafty you've done lately! 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Day 20: Working So That I May Be Creative

This is a really helpful guide. Not only does
it have agent listings, but also articles about
the querying/publishing processes.
Today I have spent a few hours working, but I'm not sure how creative this particular aspect of the work is. I am doing research. Research that, if it pans out, will *hopefully* allow me to continue working creatively. A few weeks ago, I ordered the 2010 Guide to Literary Agents from Amazon. Yes, yes, I know that it is 2011 and has been for some time now, and that some of the information in the book I ordered may be outdated, but well... That edition cost nearly $30, while I got this one for about $4, including shipping. I am not a "successful" writer yet in that I have not been published or paid, so I have to operate on the "starving artist" budget. I am not discouraged by this fact. I take it as a challenge. But I digress.

The most creative thing I have done today is make dinner (leftover veggies and beef from shish-kababs over rice makes a great stir fry). But, as I have said, I have been working, and sometimes in order to be creative, you have to put in the time doing uncreative, sometimes boring, and often necessary tasks. There is no short cut that will allow one to live the creative life without also doing the work on the business side of things. (Unless you inherit a million dollars from your dear old ailing uncle Bob or something.) I can write a million pages, but if I don't take the time to understand the writing industry and work with it, I will never get a single word published. And although I am sure a few people would read it if I decided to just post my book(s) on my blog, well... I wouldn't get paid, and eventually when the kiddies are all in school I will be forced to find work that will pay. Which means less time for writing, which I have come to find that I love. So, you can see where I'm heading here.

Nothing creative to brag about today, but since the work I'm doing will enhance the probability of working creatively in the future, I submit that it is still within the spirit of the 30 Day Creativity Challenge. And no one will tell me different, so there.

To my fellow writers who may be looking for agents or editors in hopes of getting published, I stumbled upon a new resource today: Preditors and Editors. This site uses feedback from authors to rate agencies and assist authors in avoiding predatory agents. It helped me narrow down my list from 12 to 8 agencies to query. *Fingers Crossed* Wish me luck!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day 18: Wood Somebody Pass Me a Match?

Okay, I admit, I did not make the tree stump ash tray, my father-in-law did, but isn't it really neat? I'm not a smoker, but even I can appreciate the simple artistry of a wooden cigar ash tray, complete with a hole for the matches and a cubby for the cigar cutter. My father-in-law is a really crafty guy, and I was pretty impressed with his creativity here. Will he change careers and start selling them at the state arts and crafts fair? Probably not. Will he enjoy stubbing out the occasional stogie with a feeling of pride as he puts this ash tray to use? You better believe it. And that's half the joy derived from crafting anyhow, the sense of accomplishment you get from a job well done. You can't buy that at Wal-Mart, no sirree. But they do sell the matches.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Day 16: Bright New Banner

See above =). I spent most of today out of doors in the beautiful sunny weather digging around in my garden and watching the kids run around in the sprinkler and was inspired to do something sunny for the blog. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day 14: It's No Fun Without Toys, Mom

This morning I had the same fight with my son that I've been having every other day lately: the battle to get him in the bath. After listening to his arguing and whining for a few minutes, finally I asked him why he doesn't want to take his bath, and he said, "It's no fun when there aren't toys, Mom." He thought he had me there. We've been in a hotel since Friday night, and all of our usual bath toys are at home. He forgot, however, how crafty Mom can be.

After a few minutes scrounging about the room, I located washcloths for each kid, a few plastic cups, and several mini shampoo bottles. I explained how the bottles were submarines or soldiers and the cups could be boats or used to get their hair wet, and well, the washcloths make great capes for tiny super heroes or bandages for wounded knights. It wasn't long before the long faces and whining melted into squeals of joy and a creative narrative that only a 4-year-old could come up with.

The hotel shampoo makes great bubble bath, too!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Day 13: Improvising a Picnic

When the pizza arrived, it occurred to me that we had no plates.  Cups, yes. Plates, no. We did, however, have a Styrofoam take-out container from lunch and a hotel tray. Plates? Who needs stinkin' plates. With a towel for a picnic blanket and a green carpet for the field of grass, my kids seemed to enjoy this make-shift indoor picnic just as much as the more elaborate outdoor version. And they did pretty well, aside from a slight drink spill and a shower of discarded pepperonis all over the place. They had a little more trouble with the popcorn, but hey what I can't get cleaned up, room service will, so it's all good! And the kids are happy, so I'm happy! =)

Do you do indoor picnics with your kids? If so, what do you do to make it special for your little angels? Please share!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Day 11: Can Somebody Create a Distraction?

These are awesome, especially for a
long car trip.
Hello, hello. It's me again. Today has been a pretty full day. We attended a beautiful wedding, went swimming with the kids, had dinner, visited with family, and have finally settled everyone in bed. Last night, however, that last part didn't go so smoothly. We arrived at our hotel pretty late, and since the munchkins were on the verge of sleep (about three hours after their bedtime after a day in the car and very little napping) we tossed them into bed, hoping for the best. Well, that didn't quite happen... My little angels who normally drift off to dreamland around 9 PM were wide awake until almost 4 AM. And they didn't get to nap today either... So, much of the day was spent trying to create a way to distract my daughters and appease them, so that the business of the day could progress.

I pulled out every card in my deck to entertain these monkeys, from holding their hands and walking circles around the reception hall to feeding them grapes to dancing to some 80's hits to handing over my cell phone and watch so they wouldn't scream while vows were exchanged. It was exhausting. We ducked out early from the party in effort to soothe the wild beasts, managing to nap them (about 3 hours late) for about 45 minutes before they woke up and the dance began again. After telling my girls about 10 times that they couldn't have their shoes and they couldn't go outside, I had a eureka moment--my son's travel backpack. He was still at the party with his grandma, so he'd never notice, right?

Well, the girls were a bit too young for the Leapster, but the notebook and crayons were just the ticket. And get this--these crayons were designed specifically so they won't roll away when you set them down. That's right, they have a FLAT side. It blew my mind. Apparently, someone else was being creative... Well, the crayons kept the girls busy long enough for the rest of our party to return from the party, and we all changed for the pool again. We swam until the pizza arrived, and then my girls entertained themselves by eating about 6 slices of pizza each. So, perhaps they weren't just tired, but hungry too. But all's well that ends well, and my girls are laying in their play pens on their way to snoozes now, and mama has a quiet moment to share the day with you.

Have you had a day when you had to get creative to entertain your babies? Please share! Also, for more great ideas, check out The Boring Dad's blog.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Day 10: Amping it Up

Today I'm keeping my tiny tots up from their nap in effort to entice them to sleep in the car. We have a long trip ahead of us, and I need my girls to be snoozy! So far, they are behaving, but even on their best day I can't trust them in the mess/wonder that is my sewing room, so for today I had to limit my creativity to something I could do with my babies. It took me a few minutes to think of something (I guess with my mind focused on our trip today I'm not much good for anything else), but here it is: fun with photo editing! Now, I have written on this topic before, but it is definitely something I enjoy coming back to again and again. Today the challenge was to take a mundane, low resolution photo with the camera on my computer and turn it into something visually interesting. Let me know what you think:

This is my daughter sitting on the couch beside me watching TV. (10 points
to whoever guesses which girl it is!)

Using Photoscape (free to download on, I reduced the noise,
smoothed her skin, deepened the color, enhanced the color, fake (tilt-shift)ed
the pic, blurred, cropped, brightened, and I'm sure did a few other things, not
necessarily in that order. I'm pretty pleased with how this one turned out.
(If you haven't figured this out yet, I LOVE color!)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day 9: A Creative Project to Create Creative Play

This is the finished product, complete with puppets. I have,
in fact, been intending to make one of these for my kids,
 but today I actually had a reason to get around to it. 
 I got a phone call today from a friend in need of help. No, his car wasn't broken down on the side of the road and he didn't need money for his electric bill... This friend needed help on something special, a project to help with his vacation bible school class: a puppet theater. Now, you know me, I love a crafting challenge, so even before he had finished explaining his problem, I was already checking my stash of cardboard boxes and fabric to see if I had the materials to build a puppet theater, and well... you know me, I did. In fact, the box that I decided would be most appropriate for this project was given to me in payment for the Roman soldier costumes that I made for another friend, and some of the paint came from that project as well. I threw this together in two hours, and I can think of a dozen different ways in which to improve it, but it was needed ASAP and I think it will do. Below are the steps I took to complete this project:

First step: gather materials. I have two half empty spray cans from different
projects, red velvet fabric, paper towel rolls for columns, and a feather mask
to decorate. As always, when I'm working with cardboard, I will use my trusty
hot glue gun.

This is the box.

Step two: remove the box flaps. I am using a steak knife as a saw, but you can
also use an exacto knife or a box cutter.

Step three: score and fold in the interior flaps to form a stage
and a storage shelf for your puppets. Mark where you intend
to cut the openings. 

Step four: cut the openings, folding the outer flaps down over the stage made
from the interior flap. Hot glue edges to the inside of the box and glue exterior
flaps to interior flap.

Step five: install columns, attaching with hot glue. Trim edges with scissors.
You may use papier mache or masking tape to seal the edges if you wish.

Step six: first coat of paint. I used silver because I thought it would cover
better and I wanted to have the gold more prominent on the finished product.

Allow paint to dry.

Step seven: apply exterior coat of paint. I ran out of silver, so I used the gold
to apply the paint in a swirly, mottled fashion for texture.

Allow paint to dry.

Step eight: while paint is drying, I serged the edges of my fabric and sewed
a flap at the top for a curtain rod to go through. The rod I'm using is a scrap
of poplar I had on hand, a little wider than the box.

Step nine: I cut holes in the box and slipped the curtain rod through them. Next
I decorated, using a feather mask (I know it's not the traditional theater masks,
but this was a quick project), some red jewels, contact paper on the stage (see
top picture), and a few odds and ends I had. Here's where you can be most creative!
At this point the puppet theater is ready to be used. We had some puppets on hand which will also be loaned to my friend, but you could make another project of puppet making, creating sock puppets or something more elaborate. Also, sometimes you can find small puppets in the Dollar Tree for $1 each. This creative project is one that can encourage more creativity through imaginative play. And the best part about this project? Even though I made it for a friend, it will come back when he is done with it! So, my kids will have a new toy for their enjoyment. I can't wait to see what stories they come up with!

I Think I Did It!

I have been looking for this belt for a week, and I finally found it. I think this is the perfect way to finish off this dress. What do you think?

Day 8: Creative Packing?

Each suitcase has a list of what it is missing at this point. Hopefully, the list
will grow smaller tomorrow.

Okay, I know it's not the most creative task, but aside from the usual (cooking, cleaning, child care) and some visits from friends, I really kind of fell flat on the creativity today. I have been getting ready for an upcoming family trip, which will be our first family vacation since any of the kids were born, so it's pretty exciting... and a little stressful. The sheer volume of things we will need for the kids is somewhat mind boggling. I'm hopimg that our car will hold four suit cases, a garment bag, two strollers, two pack 'n plays, and a golf bag, as well as several other various and sundry items, but I'm really not sure. And bad news, Dad, if it won't all fit, guess what the first item on the chopping block will be? That's right, your suitcase, because I know you won't be leaving your clubs behind! Just kidding, folks... I know it would be my suitcase... Okay, so I'm a little loopy tonight, but it's been a long day. (5 loads of laundry, 3 meals, 2 guests, 1 giant bin of garbage taken to the curb...) And so much left on the to-do list! But you've been there, and survived it, right? So I should be able to handle this. **psyching self up** Okay, I promise I'm not on anything. But I may be on something tomorrow--caffeine! If I do the packing right, it will be smooth sailing for the rest of the trip. And that's where the creativity comes in. I have to come up with the best clothing combinations, suit case choices, play tetris with the trunk packing, etc. Although not glamorous, these choices can be made creatively to make better use of limited resources--namely space! So, that's it for today. Tomorrow I will be hemming my husband's pants, and the next day, who knows!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Day 7: A Big Fat Nothing

Okay, I wouldn't say that I've don't NOTHING creative today (I have continued to work on Kellie and Mowbry's story), but what I had planned to write about didn't really happen, or at least not as it should. I was going to write about my creative project of dying my hair. Now, stay with me on this, I know that it may not sound like a creative project at first, but I submit that it is. People these days put a lot of effort and time into personalizing their bodies, clothes, hair, nails, whatever to express their individuality. I'm not a person who believes that how you look is your ultimate expression of individuality, I think that one should be creative in life and individual in one's actions, but I do believe that personal appearance can be a creative project.

I don't have tattoos or facial piercings, I don't spend hours on my make-up, and I rarely follow fashion in my wardrobe choice, but I do like to change my hair periodically. I get bored with always looking at the same thing in the mirror and I long for change. So when I saw hair dye for sale for only $2.99 at Ollies, I bought the brightest, orangest dye color I could find. I believe the box said "Light Auburn". My secret desire (besides being a singer in a rock band) has always been to be a redhead. Okay, maybe this one wasn't so secret. (I have been known to say that men are attracted to shiny bright objects like blonds or redheads...)

Anyhow, I went into this with realistic expectations. I wasn't expecting my hair to look like the girl on the front of the box. I know with my dark brown locks that it's just not gonna happen that way. But I expected SOME sort of change. I even left the dye on an extra 10 minutes, knowing that it might take a little extra to get the job done. Well, as you've probably guessed by now, the job didn't get done; my hair is still brown. It's soft and smooth, but that could have as much to do with the cup of conditioner I soaked my hair in for 5 minutes after dying it as with anything else. Who knows, maybe in the sunlight it might look a little brighter, but under incandescent light bulbs, I cannot tell a difference.

So, to sum up, my creative project for the day ended up as a total flop. But it could have been worse. My hair could have turned green or melted off or the ultimate tragedy... It could have turned blond! Ha ha, just kidding, I can't resist the blond jokes. And although tonight's efforts may have been an exercise in futility, it won't stop me from trying again! (As soon as I find another sale on hair dye!)

Wanna see what my hair looks like? Check out the photo on my Facebook page.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Day 6: Another Installment in the Chronicles of the Silver Dress

It started with a coupon. I found a 50% off coupon for A.C. Moore and I was determined to use it to find something fabulous to finish the dress with. Perhaps a beaded applique (they only had skulls), or a black daisy (they had every other color), or maybe something turquoise (they had robin's egg and sky, but no turquoise)... So I struck out on what I was looking for, but I found another product that held some promise. Fabric spray paint in an aerosol can. I figured this would work like regular spray paint and I could lightly mist the dress with some black paint, toning down the color just a smidge. Well... It didn't quite work that way.

I took this project outside on the back porch so as not to get paint all over the house. First removing the dress, I put a garbage bag over my dress form to protect it from the paint bleeding through and then once more dressed the form in the infamous silver dress. I didn't put anything underneath because I couldn't imagine having an overspray problem when the bottom of the dress was almost two feet away from the ground. I began this project after all the kids were in bed, so it was dark, and I had only the dim light of the porch to go by. When I pulled the trigger on the can, it became immediately apparent that aerosol fabric paint is indeed not just like spray paint: it's much thinner. The paint squirted out of the can in a fine mist and dripped off my dress onto the wooden floorboards of my porch. Trying not to curse, I quickly scrambled to find some newspapers to put underneath the skirt to prevent any further drippage... (Hopefully my husband will forgive me if I have painted a black circle in the middle of our porch.) I sprayed the entire dress, and in the dim light it seemed to be working pretty well. And then I got it a little thick, and it beaded up and began to run... So, once again I was running, this time for paper towels. I was able to even the paint out and re-spray, and it looked alright when I left the dress to dry on the back porch. I'm hoping the paint will properly dry, because the paint is designed for cotton fabric, not the weird synthetic/metallic fabric from which the dress was made. Using products contrary to their instructions qualifies as creative, right?

Below are before and after shots of this dress. The photos aren't really great (it was dark, as I've said), but it will give you an idea of what we are working with. As of this moment, the dress is still drying, which the can says will take 1 hour, but I am betting it will take longer.

It wasn't a drastic change, but I think it was an improvement... If the paint dries
properly and I am able to wear this dress. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Update: The paint dried! I left the dress out on the back porch all night because, as predicted, it wasn't dry in an hour. I briefly inspected the dress and didn't see any splotches or drips. The paint is a little spotty textured when you look closely, probably due to the synthetic fabric, but I kinda like it. I think, although subtle, this was definitely an improvement. And although I have painted my porch, the paint is equally subtle on the floorboards, so all is well.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Day 5: To Infinity, and Beyond!

The new Buzz Lightyear patch (and international mailing
package) on top of the blue shirt, pre-ironing.
Our last patch arrived in the mail today (this one from China), and I affixed it to the last Dollar Tree T-shirt. This was probably the simplest of all four of his T-shirts as I didn't paint any emblems, sew any fabric, or have to peel any iron-on transfers. Only one patch attached in the center of his chest, easy-peasy. Oh, I could have sewn on a rocket ship made of scrap material from the silver dress, painted one of the other toys on with acrylic paint and a contact paper stencil, ironed my kid's name on with iron on transfer letters, made motion lines with fabric paint, etc. The possibilities are endless, to Infinity and Beyond, as Buzz Lightyear puts it. I decided, however, to keep this one simple for several reasons. First of all, this T-shirt was imperfect anyhow with a fade mark down the front, so I didn't want to invest a lot of time or money into something that couldn't look really sharp. Secondly, I haven't washed any of my kid's T-shirts yet (yes, yes, I know... it's been at least a week since he wore the black T-shirt. There's a serious backlog of laundry in my house.), so I'm not sure how well they are going to hold up in the wash. I tested several techniques on these four shirts and I think we'll wash them a few times this summer before I start assembling the materials to make more for the coming school year. I want to make sure these won't fall apart or fade and look bad, after all, starting school is hard enough even when you don't have weird clothes, and my kid will be starting school this year. **tears**

I want to try to build up a decent wardrobe for him over the summer via thrift shopping, DIY fashion, and clearance purchases so that when school starts we aren't spending a huge amount all at once. It's hard on a kid when you only get new clothes once a year, especially when those growth spurts hit, so we're trying to go thrifty. He has everything he needs to dress like a pirate, a cowboy, a knight, or a prince, but we need to work on his kindergartener costume, so that's the plan!

This will be fine for play clothes, and my son LOVES shirts with "badges"
on them, but the fade marks are visible all the way down the front. I knew
this shirt was faded when I bought it, but figured for a dollar it was still well
worth the price.

What thrifty tricks do you use to expand your children's wardrobe? What's your favorite way to personalize clothing for yourself or your kids? Share with us :)

Day 4: Decisions, Decisions...

Last night I finished sewing the silver dress. The bubble hem was easier than I thought it would be; it just took a lot of pins and some fun with the serger. Now I need to decide how to embellish it. It just doesn't seem finished as is. Below are a few variations I've tried this evening. (I'm trying to find something that won't require a lot of hand stitching--which I hate.)

Three black roses, halter top, pink rose. I have a belt I'd like to try, but I can't
seem to find it... Maybe some house cleaning is in order? Nah...
I don't know if there really is a problem with the dress, or if I'm just not brave enough to wear something I have sewn (and something bright silver) in public, but it just doesn't feel right yet. Honestly, this is the first thing that I've sewn that I plan to wear for a non-costume-party function, and maybe it's just a confidence problem, but I feel that it could look better. Belt, flower, applique, halter top, I need to find the magical combination that will make this dress wearable. It's a big decision for me and I have about five days in which to make it. I'm hoping to luck into something, perhaps in the bags and boxes of sewing stuff in my craft room. There's all kinds of treasure in there, some of which I haven't dug into yet. We'll see.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Day 3: T-Shirt Fun

When I was a kid, I absolutely loved getting mail. I didn't get a letter or a card very often, and it was even more rare for me to get a package, but every time I was ecstatic to find something in the mailbox with my name on it. As I grew older and came to realize that mail = bills, my enthusiasm waned. Recently, however, I have experienced a resurgence of my childhood love of mail, and i have an idea why: eBay.

As I've recently mentioned, I purchased some $1 T-shirts from the Dollar Tree and ordered patches online. I also ordered some iron-on transfers, and have been patiently awaiting their arrival. (Read: checking the mail four times a day...) Yesterday, I got the first package for the Transformers shirt I was planning, and the second arrived today. So, obviously I had to jump right in and get this party started...

This one came from Hong Kong, I believe.

Autobots! ($1.36)

This package arrived from Singapore. Is there anything more exciting than
international mail?

Bumblebee. This guys is a little smaller than I pictured, but he'll do. ($1.20)

We tried a few different arrangements of the iron-on transfers, but this is
what the kid liked best. And, well, since it is his shirt that's what we went with.

Hot iron! These were a little more difficult than the iron on patches (perhaps
because the directions were written in Chinese?)

The finished product.

And of course he wanted to wear it right away! Total cost: $3.62 (with taxes). Can't beat that.

Have you tried this project yet? If so, post a picture on my Facebook page!