Monday, December 29, 2008

My Christmas Dress

I made this dress a few weeks before Christmas, but couldn't get a picture until on Christmas. It's another button down dress, but it's a little different than my last one. This time I kept the sleeves and the collar. I hadn't planned on doing it this way, but I really liked the idea of not making matching bias tape again!

I also wanted sleeves in case it was cold, which of course it wasn't. :) The sleeves were a bit of work. Since the shirts were xxl I had to take in the sleeve while still keeping the cuffs. I also shortened them. I like 3/4 length sleeves better anyway, but the cuffs were way to big for my puny little wrist. They fit great further up my arm though. I also pleated the sleeves just a little at the top so that they are just slightly puffed. I don't like sleeves to be too puffy. Anyway, enough of my rambling! Let me show it off.

Please excuse my dumb expression, I take pictures about like Chandler from Friends. Well, maybe not THAT bad! lol Yeah, I still randomly remember funny things from Friends that make me laugh. I'm kinda sporadic like that.

Anyway, as for the dress, I did the pin-tucks all the way around the waist again. I think it's a nice way to make a dress fitted. Also, I learned how to do them right this time. When I first started I would back stitch at the end to secure my stitches, which I knew didn't look right. I found out that you pull the threads to the back of you work and tie them in a knot. It looks so much nicer that way!

I had really wanted some gray knit tights to wear with it, but that never happened. I looked at a ton of stores before finally finding some on Christmas Eve. Of course, they didn't fit. So I had to wear uncomfortable hose all day. It wasn't too bad though.

The girls were dressed up too, and were so adorable! I'd love to show off their pics to you all, but Jason, my hubby doesn't like me to post their pics online. I can't really blame him with all the weirdos in the world, but it's not like people don't see them all the time when we go to town. I guess he just doesn't want their pics floating around in cyberspace for anybody to see. Which now that I write it, makes a lot of sense. Well, here I am rambling again. I better go and finish cleaning the house. It's a real mess from Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tinsel Wreath

I totally did not come up with this on my own. I saw the idea here. I fell in love with that wreath the minute I saw it. I usually do traditional, old fashioned Christmas decorations, but I like the obviously fake stuff too. I prefer trees and wreaths to be real, or obviously fake, and since I'm too busy to make a real wreath this year, this worked out great.


I didn't intentionally set out to make this wreath, but the thrift store had big ziplock bags of tinsel garland for $2 a piece. They also had a plain wooden wreath, so I knew it was meant to be! I didn't have any suitable fabric for the flower, so I got to thinking and came up with this. It's made from a Christmas box from last year. Yay for keeping Christmas wrapping! I knew it would come in handy. Anyway, I drew the design on the back of the box, one big and one little. I cut them out and attached them together with a pink brad. I attached it with florist wire, and that was it!


The only problem is that it's so cute it makes the rest of the door look terrible. I took the picture on the back of the door, but the paint on the front is peeling badly. I think I'm gonna wrap it in a cute paper so it will look nicer. Back to the Christmas wrapping stash!

Christmas!!!

I love Christmas! This year I've been rather slow getting to my decorating, though. I love Christmas decorations, I just hadn't felt up to pulling everything out. I finally did though, and I'm really glad I didn't put it off any longer. All my familiar decorations really lifted my spirits and mood.

I learned something last night about Christmas trees. They are hard to photograph! Luckily I know a little about the different settings on my camera, and got some decent pics.

Most of the ornaments are vintage. A few (very few) are handmade by me, and a couple are ones my daughter made. Here are some of my favorites.





Most of these are vintage thrift store finds. I got a whole bag for three dollars one year. The clock and the old corn-husk man were my granny's and are very special to me. The man used to have a wife, but she fell apart when I was a kid. I would love to find another one.

I love pulling out all my ornaments. It always brings back fond memories. We got a smaller tree this year, but I think it makes my ornaments, and my home, seem even cozier!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Easiest Soup Ever

It's been pretty cold lately. Being from North Carolina (we have very sporadic weather in the winter) cold is 70 degrees or less to me. lol I don't mind the cold up until Christmas. Once Christmas is over and there's nothing to look forward to, the cold is just miserable. If it would at least snow some I think I cold manage, but not here. It will get about 35 degrees and decide to rain. Yay! (complete sarcasm btw)

Well, enough complaining. One good thing that comes out of this miserable weather is soup. I love to make a big pot of soup when it's cold. The whole family likes it, it's easy, cheap, and warms you up wonderfully. You might already know how to make this, but for those who don't, you'll never forget it.

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef
2 small cans of tomato sauce
2 regular sized cans of:
corn
peas
carrots
green beans
small white potatoes
butter/lima beans
salt and pepper

In a large stock pot, brown your ground beef. I salt and pepper my ground beef while it's cooking, but you don't have to. Drain off fat. Add the tomato sauce and vegetables. Don't drain the water off the veggies, put it all in the pot. That's what makes the soup. Warm over medium heat and salt and pepper to taste. That's it.

This soup is incredibly easy to make and very inexpensive. It feeds my family of four for two nights, and I still have leftovers. The night I make the soup we eat our fill and then I go ahead and freeze some. I make sure to leave some for the next night's supper though. Once the soup is reheated the next night it needs to be eaten or thrown out. It should not be reheated again, that's why I freeze it when it's fresh, before it's been reheated.

Tips:
I have tried adding and substituting fresh veggies along with the canned ones. I don't recommend this. Because canned veggies are already cooked, they only need to be heated, whereas the fresh veggies need to be fully cooked. If you fully cook the fresh veggies it over cooks the canned veggies and ruins them.

This soup freezes well, but leave out the potatoes. Potatoes do not freeze well at all. You'll end up picking them out of the soup either way.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I Did It!

I have finally become confident enough in my sewing abilities to try selling my creations. I have always loved sewing, but knew very little about it. Over the past year I have gotten serious about learning. It never occurred to me that I could learn it all online. I found the threadbanger website over a year ago, and it opened a whole new world to me! I thought nobody sewed anymore. I definitely didn't know the internet could teach me everything I needed to know. I'm not saying I know it all now, but I no longer consider myself a beginner.

Besides a few aprons, I haven't made anything with a pattern until a couple of weeks ago. I learned how to read a pattern in school, but even then I didn't finish what I was working on. I usually do reconstructed clothing for myself, and that has gone well, but I am psyched about these two dresses I've done! One is with a pattern, and one without. I have put both in my shop, so I've got my fingers crossed!

I made this one from a pattern I found at the thrift store. I didn't realize it was only in one size when I bought it, so it's a little big on me. I decided it was good enough to sell, so I put it in my shop. (It's not really doing me any good in the wrong size anyway) It hasn't sold yet, but I'm hopeful. There doesn't seem to be as much competition in the clothing section of etsy as the jewelry. With one posting I got about 90 views as opposed to about 15 with my jewelry.
This may be my favorite reconstruction. I got the inspiration from a tutorial on threadbanger. It was a dress from two button down shirts too, but with an elastic waist and some ruffled detailing on the top. It was really awesome, so I had to try it. I'll find the post later and add a link. Anyway, I didn't want the elastic waist, so I left it out. Since I didn't use elastic I did pin tucks on the front and back to give it some shape. The neck and arm holes are bound with bias tape that I hand made from the leftover skirt material. This was also my first successful attempt at handmade bias tape that worked. That was really awesome! Enough of my talking, let me show this thing off!

I was extremely lucky enough to get a large box full of xxl men's shirts. I can't wait to make more of these! Hopefully the girls will give me a chance to make another. One of the shirts is red and green plaid. I'd like to use a white shirt for the top and the red and green one for the bottom. I'm gonna do it a little different though, maybe a fuller skirt. I think it would be great for Christmas. If it works out I'll be sure to post it. Sorry for the long post. I'm just really excited. Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Paper Jewelry


I have been trying to find a way to incorporate my love of reusing things in my jewelry. Finally, by complete accident, it hit me. I was making some earrings with paper charms and needed some extra paper to back them for added strength. I decided to use a cup o noodle package to back them and cut out my shapes. When I was done I realized that the cup o noodle package looked better than the paper I was gonna use in the first place. So, my cup o noodle earrings were born! I also made some with a beer package of my hubby's that I saved.

These are so simple to make. Once you get the hang of it you'll be looking at your cereal box in a whole new light.

There are several ways to make these depending on whether or not you have a die cut tool/machine. I'm gonna show you how to make them with a die cut tool, and one method without. Another option for cutting is paper punches. I don't have any of these, so I'm not gonna show that way, but you can get them with the paper crafting supplies at the craft store in many shapes and sizes.

You'll need:
die cut tool, or scissors and pencil
old paper packaging
card stock (optional)
hard finish modge podge
foam brush
hoop earrings

for a necklace/pendant you'll need a jump ring and some pliers


If using the die cut tool follow the directions that came with it to cut out your shape. I had to cut the package to fit through the machine. You'll need two for earrings or one for a necklace. Also cut out the backing pieces from your card stock or remaining packaging. If the shape you are using is not symmetrical, like mine, be sure to cut your backing pieces from the opposite side you cut your front pieces so they'll line up when glued together. I still make this mistake.
You will now have two front and two back pieces.
If you do not have a die cutting tool/machine you can cut out a design by hand. For this tutorial I cut a design out of a package by simply following the design. You could also use a stencil or a compass to draw a shape on the back of the package and cut that out. Here's what I used.
If you want to back these, lay them on a piece of paper and trace around the shape. If your paper has a design you want to show on the back make sure you trace your shape on the back side of the design. Now cut out the shapes you traced.
The next steps are the same for either method you are using.

If you are covering the backs, just brush some modge podge, or another glue, to the wrong side of the back piece and attach the front and back pieces together. You only need a thin coat or it will run out the sides and make a big mess. Make sure the two pieces line up well. Let this sit until dry. For the pieces I cut with scissors the backing piece came out a little bigger than the front. After I glued them together and they dried I cut off the excess with an exacto knife. You may have to do the same with yours.

Next, coat the fronts with a thin layer of hard finish modge podge. Basically that's just what I had on hand, but you could also spray them with a clear coat spray paint to seal them. Let these sit until dry. Then do the same to the backs.

Last, decide where you want the top to be of each piece and punch a hole with a small hole punch. Slide them on a hoop earring, and your all done!

For a pendant you will need to put a jump ring in the hole so that it can be hung from a necklace.
Using pliers, twist the jump ring open. Don't pull the ends apart. Slip the jump ring through the hole and twist it back closed.

Tips: I don't recommend using thin paper (like printer paper) because it will wrinkle up when glued.

Get creative! I'm gonna try using fabric scraps for this too. If it works I'll let ya know.



I love making these. I won't throw away any package now without assessing whether or not it can be used. I love that I'm keeping at least a little bit of trash out of the landfill and giving it another life. Please feel free to make as many of these as you like, for personal use or profit. The more people recycling the better!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Buttons, Buttons, Buttons!

I have fallen in love with button jewelry! I love button bracelets in particular, but have been making earrings too. They are as fun to create as they are to wear. Here are some things that I've made with buttons.



All of these, and a few others, can be found at my shop www.mamasweettater.etsy.com. But, if you want to make some for yourself, I'm gonna tell ya how. The best part about button jewelry is that buttons come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. You can achieve many different looks with the same simple technique.

First, get your supplies. For a button charm bracelet you'll need: buttons (of course), pre-assembled chain bracelet, jump rings (size needed to fit through button holes), pliers.

The chain bracelet can be found at your local craft store with the jewelry making supplies. They already have a clasp attached and save you an extra step. The jump rings are also sold with the jewelry making supplies, and come in several different sizes. I just kinda eye ball it on the size, and this will vary depending on the size of your buttons. The diameter of the jump ring should be wider than the distance from one button hole to the outer edge of the button. I use chain nose and bent nose pliers to open my jump rings. If you are new to jewelry making and plan to keep up this hobby, I recommend you get a set of pliers. I got a five piece set for about $10 at Joann's, and they are still working fine a year later. If you only plan to make this one piece of jewelry, however, you can use regular needle nose pliers.

Finally, making the bracelet! Use your pliers to open a jump ring. Do this by gently twisting the jump ring open. Do not pull the ends away from each other.
Next, pick out a button and slip the jump ring through one of the button holes.
Then, put the jump ring through a link in your bracelet chain and twist the jump ring closed. Add as many or as few buttons as you like in the same way, and your done!

Wow, it took me longer to explain the supplies than the actual process. Sorry for the lack of pictures. Next time I make a piece I'll try to remember to take pictures of each step. Thanks for reading, and I hope I inspired you to get creative!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Ultimate List of Cloth Diapering Patterns

When I first thought to sew my own cloth diapers I had no idea what I was getting into. I thought I'd be lucky to find one page about how to make them. Boy, was I wrong! I discovered a whole community of moms just like me who sew and cloth diaper. There are tons of sites about how to sew diapers and just as many that offer free patterns. I spent months looking through them all so I figured I should compile a list of what I've found. There are other list around that are missing some pages I like, and I'm certain I will forget some too. If this can save someone months of searching, though, I think it's worth it. Beware though, making diapers is ADDICTIVE!!

First, read the basics on using cloth diapers:
Why use them at all? thenappynetwork
This link has all the info on how to store dirty diapers and how to wash them: thediaperhyena
This is a great site telling how to care for wool diaper covers and it even has a great video on how to lanolize them: greenmountaindiapers

Patterns and tutorials:
This is a great site! It has info on the fabric used in diaper sewing as well as tutorials and patterns for both diapers and covers. diapersewing
These are all tutorials.
Diapersewingtutorials
basic all in one
very baby
This one also has diaper measurements which come in handy for drafting your own pattern. diapersewing
This is one of my favorites! It shows how to recycle old clothing into diapers and covers. fernandfaerie
Fleece and pul pocket diaper: fauxfuzzibunz
T-shaped diaper: Inca'sClothdiaperingsite
How to sew a fitted: Dianna'sJournal
Pre-folds and ideas on finding fabric: pre-folds
diaperfabric.com
Adding gussets: diaperfabric.com
Draft a pattern: dutchgirldiary
thepeacefulpeacock
Fleece pockets: diaperpages.com
Printable patterns:
goodnessgraciousdiaper
ottobredesign
celticcloths
thenappynetwork
rita's rump pocket

Fleece covers, soaker, wraps, etc.:
http://katrinassqs.blogspot.com/2007/10/free-soaker-pattern.html
http://handmadebyrita.blogspot.com/2007/10/httpwww.html
http://katrinassqs.blogspot.com/
http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Oaks/1126/sewfleece.html
http://diaperfabric.com/snug-wrap-cloth-diaper-cover-tutorials/

Training pants:
http://www.easterbunz.com/free-trainer-pattern/
http://mama-or-minx.livejournal.com/12349.html
http://www.geocities.com/songshirah1/

Wool cover patterns:
Bum sweater: http://www.borntolove.com/frugal-column2.html
Sweater pants: http://www.cafepress.com/thatskindacool/864331
Knit/crochet:
http://www.borntolove.com/pattern.html#Down_Under
http://www.fernandfaerie.com/freesoakerpattern.html
http://www.needlebeetle.com/fionasfriends/free/soaker.html
http://home.comcast.net/~tchaudhury/Index.html
http://www.ottobredesign.com/en/print/pdf/wool_diaper_cover_en.pdf
http://www.xanga.com/The_1932_soaker_pattern
http://www.dunmani.plus.com/knitting/patterns/soaker.html
http://web.archive.org/web/20050204193539/http://www.angelfire.com/biz/mothershelpinghands/crochet.html
http://tierra-verde.8m.com/soaker.html
http://www.freevintageknitting.com/baby/fancy-pants-baby-pattern.html
http://www.tinybirdsorganics.com/soakers/pattern/
http://www.tinybirdsorganics.com/organicwool/woolpants.html

These were not intended for cloth diapering, but made with wool they will work fine. http://www.berroco.com/exclusives/granny_smith/granny_smith.html
http://www.craftown.com/knit/knit23.htm

Wipes: http://myhappycrazylife.com/make-your-own-cloth-wipes/

Fold over elastic and other sewing issues: http://diaperfabric.com/other-diaper-sewing-tutorials/

Whew! That took longer than I thought it would. If I think of any more I'll add them.

Friday, October 3, 2008

First Post

This is my first post! And I'm not sure what to write. lol I've been wanting to start a blog for a while now. I always think of something really witty that I would love to share with the world, and now I just draw a blank. I have two girls, 4 yrs and 18 mos, so I haven't had much time to start a blog. I finally got to set this up today though, and am eager to put something on here.

I have an etsy shop that I had about given up on, but it has recently picked up. That's been pretty exciting. You really have to keep renewing your items, or you don't stand a chance. I've been too cheap to renew regularly, but decided to change that. It has definitely made a difference! I've always wanted to sell things I make, but was never successful. There aren't a lot of options in my area for that sort of thing, so etsy has given me hope. I mostly sell jewelry, but my plan is to sell all sorts of things.

I just finished some Christmas items for my shop. They are all shrinky dink jewelry. I LOVE shrinky dinks! They can get really addictive, and there are tons of possibilities.
If you want to learn more about how to use shrink plastic there is a great tutorial on threadbanger.com. It covers most of the basics.
http://forum.threadbanger.com/showthread.php?t=724&highlight=shrink+plastic
Also do a search on www.craftster.org That is the most helpful crafting website I have found and it has categories for any art or craft you can think of. If you can't find what your looking for in a search, just post your question and the great members on there are more than happy to answer.

Well, that's all for now. I should get some sleep, busy day tomorrow.