Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Granny Bag

Several weeks ago, some friends of mine got together for a girls weekend in NYC.
I was bummed that I couldn't join them but things on the home front and at work were just too crazy to get away.

About a week later I got a surprise package in the mail. (well, it was sort of a surprise. . . someone sort of let the cat out of the bag early, Ahem. . .)
In the package was this note, and two yards of Denyse Schmidt fabric from Purl Soho.
I love that they specified that I need to make something for myself.
They even took a group picture.
How cute are they?
The fabric was awesome and fun and so appreciated, but seeing their smiling faces? That was the best.
They even sent me the little card. Oh yes I did save it.
Who me? a pack rat?
Perhaps a little.
Carry Me
So what to make? I thought about it for a while.  A bag made the most sense since I DON'T sew clothing for myself as a rule. 
My friend, Z (she's the one hiding in the photo above) had requested that I make her a bag for her crochet projects and we settled on the granny bag on the cover of this book, Carry Me.
I LOVE the bag and decided I should take the pattern for a test run before cutting into the AMH fabric she selected.
Totally selfless of me.
 This is a BIG bag.
My husband delights in calling it my granny bag.
I don't care. I love it.
I think I keep less in it than I did my old purse, so go figure.

The instructions in the book were a bit complicated to figure out at first. It's a series of diagrams, and written instructions that are kind of minimal.
Not at all like the photo heavy tutorials I've been spoiled by.
But if you've sewn a bag or two before, it's not too hard to figure out.

And while I don't think this type of bag would be too hard for a beginner to sew with more complete instructions, I definitely wouldn't recommend this book to beginners.
My only complaint is the pocket situation.
I don't like the way they tell you to put in the zipper pocket. When I make it again, I'll do it my way.
And I'll put in considerably more pockets. 
Z will need a place for crochet hooks and other tools after all.

I thought at first that the lack of any closure on top would be an issue, but the bag is so big that all of my stuff sits WAY down in the bottom and doesn't ever come close to falling out.
I like that it's split a bit at the side seams so you can turn it down. I think that will be a great feature for a crochet bag.

As for the book, there are a lot more cute bag patterns to try!
So who's going to send me the next batch of fabric to play with?


Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Shirt Fit for a Five Year Old

The night before she was to take Birthday treats in to school I panicked.
Every single year, I have made the Bug a number shirt to wear to school on her Birthday.
This year? No shirt.
Completely slipped my mind.
So I ran to her room and dug through her shirt drawer.  The only unadorned white shirt was long sleeved and it's been HOT here. However at 10 o'clock at night. . . I worked with what I had.

I decided fabric paint was my quickest method so I set to work making a freezer paper stencil.
Is the ombre trend over? I hope not.
I had fun gradating the shade of pink on the five.
The vines and flowers were a last minute addition because the five alone was reading "last minute, night before project".
I cut the long sleeves off. Just guesstimated the length since the Bug was in bed, and then did a lettuce hem in pink thread.  It was still lacking a certain something so I punched it up a bit with a narrow zig zag stitch around the front neckline.

I sighed and decided to leave well enough alone and go to bed. . .
Fingers crossed that she would be gracious in the morning.
She was more than gracious. . . she was thrilled!
And it matches her favorite skirt ever, unintended bonus.
And, since I don't want to do a completely new post. . . here are the cupcakes we made for the Bug's birthday party.
They were even rainbows on the inside.
I love Pinterest. I can't take credit for either the rainbow cake idea or the decorations on top. Both were found by doing a search for "rainbow cupcake".  There is lots of inspiration to be found.

And that my friends is the end of the Birthday posting for another year.
It's been fun. Thanks for hanging in there.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Rainbow Party Favors

I promised a run down of other rainbow party details so here we go. . . this is probably my favorite little party project.
I saw these coin purses months ago and pinned them immediately.  
When I decided on the rainbow party theme, I knew I wanted to make them as party favors.
One problem. . . I don't crochet.
I've tried. I'm just not good at it.

But I buckled down and re-taught myself through some on-line tutorials.
Between that, trial and error and lots of time in the waiting room at dance class. . .
I managed to make 11 circles that could pass as "good enough" rainbows.
The sun was a bit bright when I took this photo and the orange and red kind of blend, but you get the gist.

I liked a little more purple in mine, so I did two rounds of purple before switching up to the blue.
The part I was least concerned about initially was putting in the lining and zipper.
I can sew for goodness sake, that shouldn't be hard, right?
Except that I decided I knew better than the instructions and certainly hand sewing the zips was a complete waste of time!

Have you ever tried to machine sew a zipper into a teeny tiny coin purse?
After two, I quit.  I settled down in front of Downton Abbey Season 2 and hand sewed the darn zips to the crocheted rainbows.

It didn't take that long, nor was it as irritating as I expected it to be since I had DA as a distraction.  And, I admit, the hand sewn ones look better.  The zippers fit better. So yeah, the person writing the tutorial knew what they were talking about.
I love that each one is unique on the inside. I used my scraps and my stash of zippers so each one is different.
I put a Dum Dum sucker and a nickel (Get it?? Because The Bug turned 5?) in each one.
My Grandma always used to say you shouldn't ever give an empty purse as a gift or that person will be penniless.  I know it's ridiculous superstition but I still do it every time. I love my grandma.

I finished them off by tying on these sweet little tags from Homemade by Jill.
They were the perfect finishing touch.
I love that you can google about any idea you can think of and there it will be on the world wide web.
I'm so appreciative of all those folks who share their ideas, tutorials, free printables, etc.
You make me look good.


Skip To My Lou The Southern Institute

Creative Itch

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Happy Birthday Sunshine!

A very special someone is turning five this weekend.

She requested a party at "the bouncy place" and after all the work of last year's mermaid party, I was happy to oblige.  A party that requires little to no prep from me? Yes please.

I have a sickness though. It causes me to have too many ideas and not enough will power to pull back.
So I set a theme.
Because even a bounce house party needs a theme, right?
I figured rainbows made sense since those enormous bounce houses are always very colorful.  And what five year old girl doesn't love rainbows??

So I created my Pinterest board and went to work collecting inspiration.
I'll share the favors and some other things later but first. . . the dress.
 Inspired by this one on Burda Style.
I wanted it to be a tunic. The Bug wanted a dress.
You see who won.
I'm not sure how practical a dress will be for jumping. . . but it's her birthday after all. And I've learned to listen to her opinions and ideas if I want her to actually wear what I make.

I chose a simple shape so that the rainbow would really stand out. This sheath dress is a tad bit roomy but I think that will help it be comfortable for running, jumping and playing.  Not to mention it will fit for a while. Always a plus when you are spending this kind of time on a project.

The rainbow part on front is pieced from seven different solid colors.  It wasn't as difficult as I thought it might be.  After I drafted my pattern I just drew the rainbow curves on and then cut the pattern up (if you try this, remember to mark which curve is which color and don't forget to add your seam allowances when you cut your fabric).  Once it's all cut out, it's just like a puzzle, piecing it all back together to resemble a dress front.
 I went back and forth on how to treat the back of the dress. I bought an invisible zipper especially for this. But then I got this idea in my head for a line of rainbow colored buttons. . .
I searched through Grandma's button jar and came up with some fun vintage beauties but in the end, I thought the dress had a more modern look and shape so I went with these big colored buttons.

I think they may be my favorite part.
The button loops are rainbow colored hair elastics, one of my favorite quick and easy tricks.
The Bug noticed right away that the button loops were a "backwards rainbow".

I'm pleased over all.
It's hard not to look at it an see things I would have done differently but I guess that's all part of the process, right?
I definitely have ideas for using this piecing technique in the future.

And the Bug loves it.
You can tell because she actually agreed to model it.
And she smiled.

Can't wait to test it out at the bounce house!