Casserole Carrier

A while back I pinned this adorable casserole carrier on Pinterest. Like an outrageous number of things I pin, I had no current plans to make it. I just wanted to store that idea away for a rainy day. Naturally, when I needed to figure out a gift I could make for my sister-in-law's birthday, I turned to Pinterest and re-discovered this lovely. Candice loves to cook and bake, and is even in the midst of culinary classes now, so I knew this gift would be a hit. Operation casserole carrier commenced.

The original tutorial is found here at 2 little hooligans. I chose to use cotton belting for the straps like the one I originally pinned. I also followed homemade by jill's advice to lengthen the long piece- which I found to be longer than I needed once all was said and done. Perhaps her dish had larger handles, which made the lengthening necessary. This tutorial uses insul-brite to keep the dish cold/hot. I was able to find that at JoAnns. The fabric is also from JoAnns, off the clearance rack. I'd been eyeing it for a while with no projects to use it for. The pattern is totally something Candice would love, so I was happy to have a reason to buy some! I have a little bit left over so I should be able to make a little something for me.

I love that there is a place to keep a serving spoon. I always forget to take a serving spoon with my dish.

We went to Richmond this past Saturday for the birthday festivities. It was so fun to surprise Candice at the restaurant for birthday breakfast! We had a fun weekend and were glad we could be there for the celebration. She loved her casserole carrier- and I was happy to have a gift that she wasn't at all expecting. Gift giving is so fun when it is a surprise!

I've been trying to do a lot of my gifts handmade this year. I like giving something original and personal. I'm hoping to be able to make a lot of the Christmas gifts this year. I'm starting to gear up for that already. I know it is only September, but I don't want to be crazy stressed as we prepare for Charly's first Christmas. I've got plans to make stockings and some decor as well this year. Should be fun!

Our Super Secret Fun Project Reveal!

It is finished! Our super secret fun project that I mentioned in this post by giving you a little visual clue...

...is complete. Fin. The end.

Wanna know what it is?

Well, that pile 'o staples started out as part of this thing of beauty:

Gah. The color. The stains. Bad.

Yep. You guessed it. Upholstery project! I've been wanting to try my hand at a little reupholstery for a while, so I was excited when I happened upon this guy. Around these parts, people leave stuff like furniture they don't want out on the curb. Whilst I was on a morning run I spied this cube/ottoman/storage thingy and noted the location so I could come back later. I was hoping it was salvageable.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. A few needs have been unmet in our living room, and I've been looking for a piece that might help with some of them. We needed some storage- for either toys or blankets, but those things are always in the living room and they need a home. We needed additional seating- with our sectional gone we can really only comfortably seat 3 people without pulling out the camp chairs. That is fine for us on an every day basis, but occasionally we have people over and it would be nice to have some make shift seating so we didn't have to go Clampett style with company. We needed a table- remotes, wireless mouse and keyboard, drinks... those things all found their homes on the couch cushions or the floor.

I'd perused and seen some things that might work for seating and storage, or we could go the table route... but those things were pricey. And I'm cheap. For these many reasons, I was very excited to see that ratty cube on the side of the road at 5:30 in the morning. This could possibly be a storage/seating solution. Score. I went back at a more reasonable hour and discovered that it also had this feature:

See that? The top flips over and has a tray. Tabletop?!?! This thing fulfills- check it- all three of our living room needs. The dream piece. And free. But ugly. Oh so ugly. And dirty:

Storage! But dirty. 

After a few episodes of Royal Pains worth of pulling out staples, our beast of a cube looked like this:

We basically just payed attention to how it was put together as we disassembled so we could recreate that with our own fabric.

After a full Saturday of sewing and stapling, we now have this:

We knew we wanted a fabric to tie in the mustard yellow of this pillow I made, and even toyed with the idea of using that same fabric (since we already had enough and it was free to begin with) but decided against it because we needed something more durable. We picked this fabric up at JoAnn's- it is an indoor/outdoor canvas. If it can withstand the elements, hopefully it can withstand our drooly baby.

I used fabric that we already had for the piping and lining. I used the cord from the old piping to create the new stuff, making it even cheaper! Three cheers for upcycling! The piping was the trickiest part by far. I may have gotten a little...erm... frustrated. But I made it through.

Here it is fulfilling its storage duty. Note that I give my child things like an old sherbet container and call it a toy. Charly is easily amused.

The inside was a little tricky too... there was probably a better way to do it, but we couldn't figure it out, so I essentially sewed a fabric box and we used spray adhesive to stick it to the bottom and sides, then stapled along the top ledge.

And now it makes its appearance as a table! It has wheels, so it is easy to cart it around and move it to fit our needs. Like my diapers drying in the background? Keepin it classy.

And now- a budget breakdown for ya!

Ottoman/storage cube/table: free ninety-nine (picked up off the curb)
Extra cushion (it was a little hard on the tush): $6
Spray adhesive: $5
Staple gun (since we didn't have one, but we'll use it for future projects too): $20
Fabric: $18 (used a coupon at JoAnns)

Total Cost: $49 (or $29 for the project itself, minus the staple gun)

I saw similar items at Target for around $75, but they didn't have the tray feature, were smaller, and really just not as cute.

We think this bad boy was totally worth the effort. It gives a great pop of color to the room, and we love how it stands out against the cool tone of the walls. We saved a heckuvalot of money (when you factor in that we would have needed two pieces of furniture to fill the role of this one), and we have a custom piece at that! Woot!

(Just now Matt and I had to converse about whether one woot was acceptable or if they needed to come in pairs... apparently I'm a one woot kinda gal)

So there it is, super secret fun project revealed! What do you guys think? Anyone else take on an upholstery project?

PS- Did you spy my next big project in the picture next to the chair? I picked it up at a thrift store the other day, and we have plans for it already!

Porc and Beans (porcupine pincushion)

Believe it or not, as long as I have been sewing I've never had a pincushion. I just put my pins back into the tiny plastic box they came in. It's silly, really. I see the tomato looking ones at the fabric store, but they seem so hum drum to me, and I just couldn't bring myself to buy one (despite the fact that they are super cheap). I found this pattern on Prudent Baby and filed it away for later (aka- pinned it to a board on Pinterest. Don't know what I'm talking about? read this post.)

Saturday night we rented a movie (wish it was a romcom, it wasn't) and I whipped this little guy up while we watched.

I think he's pretty cute!

Now I have a little furry (ok, poky) friend for my desk and somewhere to store my pins that is less prone to tipping and spilling all over my carpet. I love that he is kinda cute and quirky. I also love that it was a quick project. Those keep me going between the more drawn out projects I tend to get myself into.

Difficulty: EASY! No sewing machine required! It is made of felt and hand stitched.
Cost: CHEAP! $0.39 for a piece of felt, used thread I already had, beans from the pantry (to weigh it down) and scrap fabric to stuff it.

Basically, I feel silly for not making a pincushion earlier. Its just one of those things I always talked about doing and never did. I'm happy to finally check it off the list- and I love me some lists!

T Shirt Scarf

This project is for all of you wish-you-were-craftier readers. Yep, you. This scarf is so easy-peasy, you'll wonder why you never thought of it before.

Charly has been a little clingy lately- hence all these pictures have her in them. You all won't complain, right?

My friend Brinn and I made these last Friday afternoon, with a 'frustrated with her lack of mobility and currently clingy' four month old, and a very mobile two year old in the apartment, so if we can pull it off in an hour you better bet you can whip this project out lickety-split.

The idea came from here via Anne Haas on Pinterest. Those of you who follow me on Pinterest know I have oodles of projects on my mind right now, and I am starting to slowly hack away at them.

I love how kid friendly this accessory is. Charly likes to play with my necklaces and also spits up on everything. With this scarf, it aint no thang. Totally washable, stretchable, curious baby hand friendly.

You can read the instructions they give and look at the pictures, but I'll give you a brief rundown of the process as well.

Materials:

  • 1 large-as-you-can-find T shirt with no side seams (I bought mine on sale at JoAnns for $1.99, but you could use a thrifted one or something from your closet, making this project F-R-E-E)
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Thread to match and sewing machine or needle (actually completely optional, you can make this no sew)

Directions:

  1. Cut off the bottom seam of your T shirt (thats the sewn part at the bottom)
  2. Cut 1- 1 1/2 inch strips the width of your T shirt (from side to side, not top to bottom)
  3. Cut strips until you reach the arm holes
  4. Gather several strips and hold with both hands. Pull to stretch. As you do, the T shirt strips will curl in to themselves. Continue with all your strips.
  5. You can wear them as is by bunching them together, or you can add a fabric strip to keep them bound (you can also add a brooch to this spot later on, so it really opens up some possibilities for styling). To do this, cut a piece of the leftover part of your T shirt that is about 2 in x 5 in. Loop it around your bunch of strips and trim to the desired size. Either machine stitch it or hand stitch the ends together. 

Voila! Now go out and rock that hip scarf, and wow everyone with your super craftiness. And share a pic, cause I'd love to see what you all come up with.

(these cheeks are so totally kissable)
Can you spot 3 of my creations in this pic? Four if you count Charly, haha.

An evening project

This weekend we are having family pictures taken by the ever fabulous Brinn Willis. It's our Mother's day gift to Matt's mom (don't worry, she already knows), since they haven't had pictures done in a long time, and the family has grown. We are working off of a coordinating color scheme, so I'm trying to figure out mine and Charly's outfits. I haven't made much progress on mine (I know, I'm running out of time!) but I whipped out the ole' sewing machine to make a little something for Charly last night (after our chill out day). What I ended up with is these little cuties:

Aren't they just fun!? The tutorial is found here on Fleeting Thing. It was a three-ish hour project. I still need to pick up some thin elastic and attach it across the top to keep these little flats on her wiggly feet. 
The hardest part was getting those ruffles right. It took a little patience, but I think they turned out great! 
If I had a serger I would have serged around the inside seam so it looked a little cleaner. I'm not too worried about it though, despite my perfectionist tendencies.
My main complaint about the pattern/tutorial is that she doesn't specify the seam allowance except for on one part. Perhaps she has a standard seam allowance that I just don't know about, but for the ruffles I found they only worked with the tiniest little seam allowance- as in, the needle was dancing on the edge of the fabric. When sewing the sole to the top portion I kept the edge of my fabric at the edge of my presser foot and it ended up fitting Charly perfectly. You might be able to adjust that seam allowance to make the finished product a touch bigger/smaller. All in all, a fun evening project. Now I just need something for me to wear... and a haircut. It's been waaaaaay too long. 

Are you pinterested?

Let me share with you a little secret. Its called pinterest. It is my new addiction. It is probably apparent to most of you that I love perusing the interweb. I read lots of blogs (and thanks to google reader I get them all delivered to me) and make things from said blogs. I get most of my projects/ideas from the internet. That being said, I thought pinterest would just be another online time suck that I would become addicted to. I didn't realize the value and ease that pinterest would bring to the table.

Pinterest is a place to catalog things- inspiration, products, projects, etc., in picture form. Its like an online cork-board, if you will. Not knowing how it worked, I thought that you would just find pictures while perusing pinterest and 'tag' them to your profile. Oh no, folks. It is so much better. You essentially attach a link to your bookmarks bar that allows you to 'pin' any picture from the web. It also saves the page location of where the picture is from. You can create different boards to organize your pins, follow others' pins, and comment on pins of those you know. It is, as I like to say, 'easy, peasy, puddin' pie.' So now, rather than an ever-growing word document with links to projects I want to make, I have a board labeled 'projects' that has pictures of each one, with a link to the tutorial attached. I also have one for home decor ideas, hairstyles (I'm in need of a major change) and I'll be adding a food board soon. Pinterest is changing the way I surf the web. The possibilities are endless!

Online time suck? Maybe. But its oh-so-fun, and now I've got a spring-board of inspiration. Are you convinced yet?

If you happen to join, or already use pinterest, feel free to follow me (direct link here) and share what you've got too!

Fabric Journal Cover

Let me just start by saying that I love journals. I love a nice thick paper, one that takes pen like a dream. Most of all though, I love the potential of a journal. Just the idea of this empty book ready to be filled with whatever is kind of magical to me.
a few of my beautiful journals

I used to be great at filling them, but lately that hasn’t been my strong suit. That doesn’t deter me from perusing and occasionally buying a nice sturdy journal.
For instance, that soft red leather one above. Found that at Ross for 4 buckaroos. I held on to it for a while and then thought it would be great to fill with messages to Charly that I would write during my pregnancy. It currently sits with one entry, dated May 20 of last year. My grand plans petered out on that one.
Despite my less than satisfactory journal usage, I still *love* a cute journal, so when I saw the tutorial for this fabric journal cover on Bloom I added it to my future projects list (which, by the way, grows just about every day. At this rate we’ll never run out of crafty posts!) and tucked it away. The other day I was pondering on what I could make for some gifts (I’m all about handmade gifts) I remembered the journal cover and the coupons I had for Joann’s and I got to work!
I was able to make both of these yesterday while (sort of) taking care of Charly. Usually my projects wait until nap time, but yesterday was a particularly rough day and Charly didn’t nap much. But I re-heallllly wanted to get these done, so I left her on her belly on a blanket near me for some tummy time while I got to stitchin’, and of course she rolled over for the first time and I completely missed it! I heard a gentle thump (her head flopping over, I’m assuming) and she started to make some noise so I checked things out. Lo and behold she had made it to her back! The little stinker hasn’t done it again yet, but when she does I’ll try to get some video.
Anyway, back to the project. Despite caring for a child who didn’t nap much, I was able to finish two of these bad boys- so for someone who isn’t multi-tasking this could be a fairly quick project I think.
Here’s the end result:

I chose this shimmery linen blend and then just used scrap fabric I already had. I bought both journals at Ross. I almost always see journals for super cheap there, and since you are covering them it doesn’t really matter what the cover looks like. I love the way these turned out and will most likely make more for gifts in the future! 

Tote Bag

I saw this blog post a few weeks ago and knew I had to make one of these tote bags. I actually made two since I needed a gift for my sister Erin's birthday and I wanted one for myself. It was a pretty easy project and very versatile. I used corduroy because it was on sale and I wanted a more durable fabric, but you could use just about anything! The original tutorial for the bag is found here.

I used this fun lining fabric from Joanns.
I think it turned out pretty cute- what do you think?  

Sewing up a storm

I've been doing a whole lot of this lately...



...in preparation for our trip to Utah (got here yesterday!) and our sweet baby girl's blessing. I decided to make a blessing gown for her because I'm picky and very particular and also because I thought it would be sweet to have as a keepsake. I had a hard time finding a pattern I liked. Most of the blessing/christening gown patterns seemed frumpy. The pattern I finally landed on was a normal dress pattern that I tweaked to work for my purposes. If you are interesting in making a similar dress, the pattern is McCalls M6015. I took in the bodice (an infant small was too big for my 3 month old!) lengthened it and combined the sleeves from one variation with the bodice from another. The result is this:






Please excuse the cheesy velvet-y backdrop, a la olan mills, 1992. The dress is a linen/lace combo, and not like any of the christening dress patterns I saw. Here is a close up of the little tulip sleeves, again with a nice velvet backdrop:







I knew I wanted to make a nylon stretchy headband (I used this tutorial) with a flower detail using the leftover material and ended up with this precious little (or not so little) accessory:




I usually try and keep Charly's head accessories small, but I went a little big on this one. Lets hope it works on her sweet little head!
As an afterthought I decided to make some little booties for her to wear as well. I thought this pattern would be too big, but they actually barely fit her. I followed this free pattern from Homespun Threads. I think the whole ensemble will look tender!

And of course, I will post pictures of the little dear modeling all her blessing day garb, as well as pictures from her first trip!

merry bobbins

What a weekend! I've been working for some time now to sew enough purses and fabric flowers to be ready to sell at Lexington's community festival, which was yesterday. Friday after work I worked non-stop crafting and making tags, etc. for the festival. I'm super happy (now) with the work I put in. We worked for a few days on coming up with a name for my stuff, but eventually landed on the one Matt came up with- merry bobbins. It's cute and clever. The festival was from 9am till 3pm- and things actually sold! My friend Nicole Olsen and I shared a booth. It was a delight to set my stuff up next to her adorable handiwork! I really admire her taste and her mad sewing skills. Here are a few pictures of the setup and products:

My purses on a coatrack for display (I had 8 purses total)

a teal/denim 10 pleat purse


a basket of fabric flower hair accessories


closeup of the tags I made


my table display- a mannequin was later added but I didn't get a picture :(


Nicole's table display- adorable!

View of the booth. Notice my fabric banner up top :)

And last but not least- my 19 week picture! That belly is a growin'!