Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My absolute favorite sewing tool, custom made by my dad!

Let me start by saying that I have broken a lot of sewing tools. I've also sewn through my finger, but let's not talk about that, it's painful to remember.

What I do want to talk about is this metal point turner. It's heavy duty, tested over the last ten years on a lot of bags , heavy upholstery fabrics and a little bit of recycled leather. Most point turners are made from plastic or bamboo and are so delicate that they break when you try to do the things you need to do when making a bag. So, rather than resort to using your sewing scissors (who would do such a thing?) and poking out the corner, try this awesome tool instead. I'm guessing it will become your favorite tool for making bags, dolls and all kinds of other things with corners.

And my dad is working with me to make them. A family enterprise. How cool is that?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

totally off the topic this tuesday!

My friend, Kris, at Resweater has off-topic days on her blog, and it's sometimes quite interesting. So I want to share this great little bit with you from the Parenting Passageway. It was very inspiring and affirming for me. And it confirms why my less than favorite time-out strategy is not effective for a two-year-old!

Monday, February 22, 2010

recycled sweater tutorial - shawl collar

Recycling is so much fun! After cleaning out my closet, I found some things that needed updating and a few more that need to be added. After shopping with a girlfriend in a couple of fabulous boutiques, I was inspired to make some of my own designs rather than shelling out hundreds for them.
So here's one of the projects:

I found this dress in my closet during my spring cleaning, and decided that it wanted to look less like a nightgown and more like something spectacular, and warm. This great brown sweater in my stash was already felted, and it was just the right color for a collar to make the dress warm and cozy. How to do it? Here you go!

Fold the sweater and layed it under the dress to see how it would look. Figure out how you can make one continuous piece with the sweater you choose. This one was a turtleneck sweater.

Cut the turtleneck off the sweater.

Cut the body off the sweater, just below the arms, and trim the top into a rectangle. Then cut the arms off, making a straight cut rather than an angled one.

Lay the pieces together and make sure they are close to the same size.

Fold the rectangle with right sides together and serge or sew with a stretch stitch.

Slide one of the sleeves into the tube you just made and stitch them with right sides together, being careful not to stretch it too much. Repeat with the other sleeve and turn right side out. If you decide to taper off the end of the sleeve, it's easier to wait until you attach it.

You should have a nice long collar piece ready to be attached. The sleeves had a nice finished edge, so I made that part of the design.

Pin the collar piece inside the dress.

Stitch with the dress on top and collar on bottom. I stretched the collar piece a little, since I wanted to be sure it wasn't loose. Ribbed sweater have a lot of stretch, so you can use them like you would ribbing (like the bottom or sleeves of a sweatshirt). I used a zig zag since it is a stretch stitch. There might be another stretch stitch on your machine which looks like three rows of stitches next to each other.

Here it is! After trying it on, I decided that it would make a better tunic after all, and I cut straight across the bottom. Since it's cotton jersey (like a t-shirt) it won't unravel. And the sweater probably won't shrink if I wash it in cold, but I think I'll try to wash it on delicate with my other wool goodies.

Special thanks to my favorite sweater source, for once again, providing the perfect sweater for my project!

This was another shawl collar added to a long sweater, which I made skinny and cut off the sleeves. It's incredibly warm and comfortable with leggings and a turtleneck!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Birchleaf Designs makes the coolest stuff for kids!

Handmade in Michigan by a family of four who love life. I can't think of a better way to describe this enterprise. The stuff : wooden spoons, swords and baby toys along with hand-dyed silks and all kinds of other things that my little guy loves to use for play, along with his imagination.

We have all of these and they are so nice! Instead of buying plastic things geared toward a small age range, we chose these b/c he will play with them for years! And they can be costumes, forts, scenery for stories, gnome play, etc.

Next, we want to learn to do some painting, so these are on our wish list... As far as I can figure, you mix a little bit of watercolor paint with water and give your kids the wide brush (flat 16 or 18). Watercolor paper can be attached to a wood board, to help keep it from moving. Paint can be stored in the jars until the next painting adventure.

Just think of all the crafty stuff we could put in here! Of course, right now, it would be filled with all kinds of wooden cars. School bus, delivery truck, racecar, sedan, tractor and maybe a few more would all be parked in this handy "garage". That's what Fyn's really excited about right now...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

happy valentine's day!

all you need is love...

and maybe someone to help with the clean-up!

we hope your day is lovely!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

birthday celebration #2

Wow, that year went fast! This year I found time to make Fyn a special birthday outfit. I love being way too much, it makes me so happy. The pants and cape are made from a dress from a friend that I got at a clothing swap. The sweater is made from 2 wool sweaters in my stash. The shirts, one is recycled from our old shirt bin and the other I did buy fabric. And then I made some thermal long johns, just to keep him warm.

We celebrated a few times, once with family, once with close friends, starting the tradition of the birthday pineapple, and once with buddies. The pineapple idea started when my friends didn't know what to give another friend as a gift. And then I started thinking about eating fresh pineapple in the middle of winter, and it was $4 for an organic one at the co-op, so into my cart it went. So much less expensive than a trip to the tropics, and easy to transport in my bag. A stub of a beeswax candle fit perfectly in the top and we all feasted on fresh fruit!

And we all wore birthday crowns made from recycled wool sweaters and jeans! Best part is they can be reused every year.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

recycled wool mittens for toddlers!

Ooh, I'm so excited! For about a week, I collected all the tiny mittens I could find around the house, in hopes of designing a pattern to make more. Then I found this, and headed right into my studio to make some. Thank you so much, Amanda from kitschy coo for the pattern and instruction! I printed them out in a few sizes. Instead of fleece, I used felted wool sweaters, adding a tree on one and a cardinal on the other. And then I made two more pairs, one of them lined with thermal fabric from a shirt! They are pretty snug, so in the future, I think I'll just put elastic on the inside.

Friday, February 5, 2010

a new hooded wool sweater!

I love this sweater. My aunt made it for us. The pattern is a child's hooded tunic from pure and simple. It seems like everyone comments on this sweater, and knitters want to know where to find the pattern. Seems that it isn't sold online, so I went to the Lost Art yarn shop in downtown Traverse City.

This is now the third sweater in this pattern that people have made for us. It's a favorite that will keep coming back in different yarns and sizes, as long as my aunt and other friends keep knitting these incredible gifts for us! I'm eyeing one of Melissa's handspun yarns...

The flannel pants were one of the things I made for christmas from a pattern I made from another pair of pants. They are so fun to make, and they go really quickly.

Monday, February 1, 2010

conscious clothing designs are some of my favorite!

This is what I need today. It looks gorgeous and goes with everything. And it's made with cashmere and lambswool, so soft...

The fabrics are organic cotton, wool, hemp and recycled wool and cotton. How could anyone resist? And who would believe that Rose learned to sew recently!

This is my absolute favorite dress right now. It's so sleek, stylish and romantic. It would even work for nursing! Now to decide what color... This would be my choice for a valentine's dinner with my husband.