A few of you may have noticed some small changes here on my blog, mostly adjustment to the background “theme” of the blog, but the real change has been in the address of my blog: crafterella.blogspot.com is now crafterella.com.  Update your bookmarks now, in the next year there will be some redesigning and rearranging done and the blogspot address might become obsolete.

Have a happy New Year everyone, I will be taking the next few days to review the past year and to plan what new and exciting things I will be working on in 2010.

kiki in tiny basket

Oh, and since I think every post should have a picture, here’s a shot of my cat Kiki crammed into a tiny laundry basket just for fun.


Available Patterns

Most of these patterns have been in my collection for a while, any that have been bought recently will be labeled and all are uncut except for the last picture. I know that the majority of these patterns were purchased on sale, so I don’t have a lot invested in them, if you are interested in any of these patterns comment here or email me (contact address is available in my profile) and we will work something out, I am actually more concerned about shipping costs for anyone who’s not local. Descriptions are from left to right, top to bottom. If you need more information on a particular pattern just ask.

patterns 1

McCalls 2754 – caftan, shirt, tank top, and pants, size F (16-18-20)

Simplicity 8422 – Jumper, vest, skirt, and pants, size U (16-20)

Simplicity 9503 – Top and jumper in three lengths, size U (16-20)

Simplicity 4050 –taken

McCalls 9371 – Unlined jacket, top, pants, and skort, size E (14-18)

Butterick 6354 –taken

patterns 2 Butterick 5903 – taken

Butterick 5843 – Cape, jacket and cover up, size 14-18

New Look 6087 – Six top variation in one pattern, size A (6-16)

Simplicity 9223 – taken

McCalls 9012 – Lined jacket, lined pant, and lined skirt, size E (14-18)

McCalls 9281 – one top, eight different looks, size E (14-18)

patterns 3 McCalls 8360 – taken

McCalls 8351 – Jumper in two lengths, size E (14-18)

McCalls 8233 – Sarong dress in two lengths, size E (14-18)

McCalls 2834 (purchased recently) – scrubs, size A (S-L)

McCalls 6843 –taken

McCalls 6891 – dress with neckline and sleeve variations, size E (14-18)

McCalls 5186 (purchased recently)- lined vests, size EE (14-20)

McCalls 2132(purchased recently)- low rise pants and shorts, size E (14-18)

patterns 4Simplicity 4636 – baby accessories, I have had this pattern for a few years and view A the basket liner is cut, but all the pieces are included and still useable.

I also have several cut patterns if you are looking for pattern tissue to decoupage or other altered art type projects, just ask.

I guess I should get back to my cleaning, I really am getting anxious to start sewing.


Let it Snow, I’ll Stay Inside and Sew!

I haven’t left the house for a week, the weather here has been a bit snowy and blowy.  I haven’t really needed to go anywhere and when it’s cold I would rather just stay nice and warm at home.  However, I did venture out today.  It’s still a little slick in spots and it seems like people are driving a little crazy, but I had two good reasons to get out!

Reason number one, I was out of Diet Pepsi.  Caffeine is really the only vice I have left and I think it’s going to take a major intervention to ever get me to let it go.

Reason number two, Joann Fabrics called and the fabric I had ordered during Coupon Commotion (I love that sale name) was here.  I am super excited to get sewing, here’s a sneak peek of everything I got today.

Little Miss curtain fabricAnd yes, that pink pile on the right is gigantic rick rack!!!  I have everything I need for this project I just need to get everything prewashed.

I am still not starting any new projects until I get things a bit more tidy in the sewing room, but I am making a lot of progress. 

In the next couple of days I will have a list of patterns that I am eliminating from my collection, if anyone is interested in buying them or trading for them, I’m sure we’ll be able to work something out, I really just want to find them good homes.   Most of them are not cut and from the late 90’s around a size 18. 

Well, I’m off to do some more cleaning and organizing, so I can get to sewing.  It was snowing again earlier today and more is expected, maybe I can put a dent in my fabric collection, let it snow, let it snow.


Awesome Cupcakes of Doom!

I have finished my felt cupcakes for Little Miss, you will notice that only half of them have bead sprinkles.  After beading them for two nights and only getting three done, I just couldn’t make myself do all six.felt cupcakes 3The sprinkles are super sparkly and I hope she likes them.  I guess if it is really a big issue with her I can always go back and bead the three plain ones.felt cupcakes 4Happy Holidays everyone, I’ll see you guys next week!


Very Last Minute Knitting

I have been working on a few final gifts, knitted scarves.  I really enjoy knitting, but it is not something that I would consider quick, however the “Mile-a-Minute” scarf from Turvid is!  I finished the purple one up last night while watching TV and started the thinner red one today while watching Christmas shows with my kids.

mile a minute scarves

These scarves really work up fast and they are open, lightweight and squishy warm.  An added plus is that they also appear fancy and complicated.  I imagine you could even add in some novelty yarn, like eyelash, and make them furry.  There’s still time to make one for someone you know, pop over and get the pattern now!


Simplicity 2699 Pattern Review

This pattern really appealed to me because all of the aprons were full and vintage styled with more details and cuteness that just a plain apron.  All of the designs feature pockets and bias binding.  View A could be worn as a summer top.  I chose to make view C.

cupcake apron patternI decided to use two different fabrics for the design to highlight the ruffles and ties.  The directions are easy to follow and all of the seams are enclosed or finished with bias binding, which I really like.  If I made the pattern again I would make the waist ties differently, probably doubling the width of the pattern and sewing a tube and turning rather that trying to double fold the fabric into a narrow hem around the edge.cupcake apron 2 I was disappointed that a pattern that uses so much bias binding has no hints or suggestions for working with it.  “Apply binding to pocket edge” is not the easiest to accomplish when the pockets are heart shaped and there are no suggestions for getting the binding into that shape.  I did try to pre-shape it with my iron and I very carefully sewed it on, but in the end was unhappy with how it looked.  You’ll notice that my finished apron has no pockets.  I would also like to mention that I ironed all the creases out of my binding before I began applying it.

I do plan on making at least one more of the views of this pattern and since this was purchased to $.99 (Hobby Lobby sale) I feel it has been a real value.  This pattern is for you if you are looking for a more elaborate apron for a special little girl and enjoy applying bias binding.

cupcake apron bagThis apron goes with the felt cupcakes for my daughter for Christmas.  I also used the leftover fabric and binding to make a drawstring bag to wrap the present with.


NOOOOOOO, Everything Was Going So Smoothly, WHYYYYYYY!

So I’m having a great day sewing.  I am almost finished making this adorable apron for Little Miss when I realize I am almost out of thread, NOOOOOOOOO.  There are a lot of decorative stitches on this apron and it has used a ton of thread, plus I have used this same thread to sew the set of felt cupcakes (which still aren’t finished).cupcake apron crisisI have to finish the binding on the apron and finish/add the pockets and I also need to finish beading the felt cupcakes.  In order to leave the house I would need to shower, get dressed, dress the children, gas up the car and drive over to Hobby Lobby for a spool of thread.  I’m feeling a bit lazy and I don’t really want to leave the house, wishing I had another color of thread that I could use…maybe purple, would that be weird? an apron stitched in half pink and half purple, it is just a play apron, are the sewing police going to knock on my door and force me to rip it out and re-do it if I use two different colors of thread?  I think not, purple it is and I’ll save the rest of this pink for the cupcakes.

cupcake apron 1It really is turning out nicely besides the thread mishap.  I have enough of the cupcake fabric left to make a drawstring bag to wrap up this apron and the cupcakes.  BTW this apron is from Simplicity 2699 (expect a pattern review later this week).  I guess I’ll go and load up a bobbin with purple and get back to sewing and maybe some more cleaning, I still have eight loads of laundry to fold, it’s clean, just not folded.


The Official Update

I have grounded myself from doing any more crafting that is not Christmas gift related until I have cleaned up some of this mess.  I have never been an extremely tidy person and I tend to overtake any flat surface with all of the various projects that I am currently working on.  Let me be clear, my house is not filthy it’s cluttered, I do maintain basic cleaning, like washing dishes, laundry, cleaning the bathroom, etc., I just don’t do a great job of picking up after myself.  I have made a lot of progress this week, the kitchen is looking great and all the countertops are visible and the living room is coming along nicely, I just have to find a new home for some gigantic totes.  I am even getting a handle on all of my fabric in the craft room.

craft room, messyThis photo was taken at the end of November and I am happy to say that a lot more of the floor is visible and the furniture has been rearranged, but I am still struggling to find homes for all of my carefully hoarded supplies.

I am also still working on those darn cupcakes, their frosting has been applied and now all they need is some beaded sprinkles (I did decide to go with orange, thanks Kelly), but I refuse to post another picture of them until they are finished. 

I have not wrapped any gifts yet, since I am still waiting for most of them to arrive, traditionally I spend Christmas eve in a package wrapping frenzy and it seems it will be that way again.  I hope to be ungrounded and back to crafting soon, I have a gigantic back log of projects to complete and now that my fabric is getting organized I have a ton of sewing projects that I am dying to work on.  Have a great weekend!


Bone Crusher Quilts

I grew up in a drafty farm house and every winter the quilts would come out and be stacked on the beds.  The heaviest of the quilts were called bone crushers because of how heavy they were.  The best bone crushers were made from denim, old, soft, worn denim from our old jeans and overalls.  I still love denim quilts, although now I prefer the lighter “rag” quilts as opposed to the traditional quilt top with batting, binding, and backing.

My Mother made an awesome denim quilt for my son with stars and even the pockets from the jeans.  I love it, he has been using it for a couple of years and it just get softer and softer and it is super warm.

denim 1I also made some matching curtains, they are a little short for the windows in our new house, but I’ll just add another strip at the bottom.  I’m also going to add a lining to make it a little more insulating, his room is on the North side of our house.

denim 2These curtains were so easy to make, I just tore the legs of jeans to get a straight edge and sewed them together the wider strips are from the back of the pants and the narrow ones are the front.  I put the seams on the right side and snipped them about ever 1/4” and put them into to washing machine to fray them.

I love denim, it is such a versatile, long wearing fabric.  I just wanted to share some of the great projects I have made with it.  I have started a shag style rug, the strips are cut and I just need to decide what kind of backing to use and how big to make it.  I’m lucky, I seem to have a never ending supply of denim, everyone in our family saves it, and if I do need more I can always pick up a few pairs of jeans at the Goodwill on dollar days!  What kind of great projects have you made using denim?


Frugal Friday: Star Wars?

My son, who is five, loves Star Wars and let me tell you it is NOT frugal to shell out money for all of these toys!  He has quite a collection, but is always wanting more, this year I spent the budgeted amount on him and he is getting one item.  I need a bit of really inexpensive stuff for him to unwrap, we don’t want a present counting contest to start between him and his sister.  Today I hit the jack pot!  StarWars.com has free coloring pages (and games for the older kids).  If you want a few more pages check out the Galactic Colorbot, just print without coloring!

coloring pages

I printed out a large selection, two of each design.  I’m going to put these into a folder and get a box of markers or colored pencils from the Dollar Tree and call it good.  The best part is he’ll love it and I’m only out a buck or two.  I’m counting the coloring pages as free, I already had ink and paper and I don’t budget it that tight.

Now I just need one more little thing and I’ll be finished with him, I’m thinking a stenciled shirt with a clone trooper helmet or something, stay tuned for that.

I almost forgot, almost any of your child's favorite characters can be found, just search for “your character free coloring pages” and you’ll get tons of results, it’s a great last minute frugal gift.


Large Crafty Storage Jars

I am always searching for free or no cost ways to store and organize my giant craft stash and my husband has found a great solution: extra large spice containers from his job (intuitional food service).  He brings home at least one of these a week, I remove the labels and wash them out and fill them up with all my crafty goodness.

large crafty spice rack They are perfect, rectangular with a built in handle, there is no wasted space!  I was using pickle jars, on the left, but they are round and hard to grab and they take up more space while holding the same amount.  Really the only draw back is that removing the smell from the container is impossible.  Most of them are garlic powder, but I do have a cinnamon and a pepper, I just need to make sure not to store anything in them that will absorb the smell.  I wonder if I made a little bag to hold baking soda or coffee beans if that would absorb the smell.  I’m still working on that idea, I would love to hear your suggestions for removing the smell.


The Cutest Crochet Pattern Ever!

The Pattern is Little Button Loafers from Sylver Designs on etsy.  I don’t know what it is about this pattern that makes it so cute, maybe it’s the tiny size or the color possibilities, but it is just adorable.

little button loafers 1 I still need some little red buttons, but we have be hit by a large snow storm and I’m not leaving the house until the roads get a little better (hopefully tomorrow).  They work up pretty fast, I had some trouble working the pattern, but it was all my fault.  I am not a crochet expert and I was trying to keep my kids entertained and count stitches at the same time, it just didn’t work. 

The pattern is well written and there are several pictures to help you along.  There are four different sizes to make from newborn to 9 months and I’m sure you could make them even bigger by adjusting gauge.  I like that the heel of the bootie is contoured, I think that they will stay on better.  The pattern is for personal use, but there is a cottage license available from the seller if you would like to make booties to sell, which I am considering.

little button loafers 2 They are even adorable without their button on tab, wouldn’t a little red bow or ladybug button just finish these off.  I will be making a ton of these for gifts, now I just need to find the perfect hat pattern to match.


Craft Show Display

Last Saturday was the perfect day for a craft show, it was cold, but the sun was shining and there was no snow or ice to make driving difficult.  I had a lovely spot near the door and the sun streamed in from a window above and behind my table, which was really nice, however it made my pictures come out awful!

craft show table 1 On the left I had my wristlets and record bowls holding bottle cap pendants and recycled notebooks, in the center my pendants and tree of life ornaments and next to that hats and scarves.  The box on the right contains recycled crayons and knitted washcloths.

craft show table 3 I have my frame propped up with a brick to make the pendants easier to view and it leaves space behind and under the frame to store my cash box and bags.

craft show table 2Here are my home made hat stands, they really work well for displaying hats and then I just lay the extra hats along the sides and scarves around the bases.

This was my last show of the season and it was not really my day for sales, but it is a show hosted by my family and I really enjoy spending the day with them.  Next year will be the 20th anniversary of this show and I will be in attendance again, it was a great day full of family and fun and the only show that my kids get to go with me.

I will be using my pendant frame and head displays again, I think they worked out really well and really the only investment was the time it took to make them.  The record bowls are also really handy for displaying smaller groups of items and they are also available for sale.  I had a really fun season and next year I am hoping to attend more events.


Striped Knits

I have been knitting away making some arm warmers and an earflap hat out of this great colored yarn from Red Heart, the color is 0964 Primary and it has all of my favorite colors and stripes really well.

stripey hat and armwarmersI used a combination of patterns blended together for the hat.  The arm warmers are a modified version of Slither from Knitty, I knitted them in the round and left off the stripes and buttons.  I am really excited to wear these this weekend, it’s finally getting cold enough for winter knits.


How Long Does it Take to Make Cupcakes?

Apparently quite a while.  I was expecting to show you the first set of six cupcakes today, however, they aren’t quite finished.  I’m blaming Facebook, an old friend from art school found me and we spent the afternoon catching up.

I have finished the cupcakes and wrappers.

felt cupcakes 1I did not flute the wrappers and instead used tie-dyed felt (who knew there was such a thing?).  I might even add some hot pink rick rack around the middle to make them fancier! 

I have started on the frosting, the pieces are cut out and sewn together, but the hand sewing and stuffing has just begun.

felt cupcakes 2It reminds me of hot pink poo.  They’re really going to be bright and fun.  I just need to decide what color of bead sprinkles I’m going to add, silver, pink, orange?  Help me decide.  I’m hoping to accomplish more on these later, I would like to get the other batch of six finished this weekend, so I can check this off my list.


Trying Not to Traumatize the New Neighbors

Since moving in to our new house I have been slowly adding window treatments to every room based on privacy.  These are not all permanent solutions, but they do keep people from seeing straight through our house.  The curtains upstairs are stapled up!   The only bare windows still left are in the kitchen.

Our kitchen is at the back of our house and really the only people who could see in would be our neighbors or the random peeping tom.  However, occasionally I find myself naked in the kitchen and folded fabric morewondering if maybe my neighbors may have noticed.  They just moved in a couple of weeks ago and I really don’t want to traumatize them before we get the chance to properly meet them, so we definitely need some sort of curtains!

Yesterday while folding more fabric (I finished off another tote, yay!)  I found my stash of vintage aprons and thought that they would look really cute as kitchen curtains. 

I made a special trip to Hobby Lobby and bought some mini cloths pins and strung them onto twine.  I used clear push pins to tie the twine up.  I starched and ironed the aprons and hung them up.  Apron curtains I think I can almost hear the neighbors sigh of relief, “Look honey, we don’t have to see our neighbors naked anymore, they got curtains!” 

I can easily switch out the aprons if I get tired of these or get new ones for my collection.  I could also add another line to the top of the windows, but I like the sun shining in.  BTW I have a lot more aprons, these were just the most brightly colored ones and the ones with the most details, I love the cross stitched gingham ones!  Does anyone else have a good idea on how to display aprons, I have a lot of full aprons that I would love to have out.


When Will I have Enough Fabric?

That is the million dollar question.  What exactly do I do with all this fabric besides hoard it?  I pet it and love it and make it into to lovely things, that’s what! 

I have a lot of reasons that keep me buying fabric and I don’t think that any 12 step program is going to help that, so what it boils down to is storage.  I need to see what I have so I can sew with it, I also need to be able to find that one piece that I know I have but can’t seem to find.  I searched the internet for “fabric organization” and there are oodles of different techniques.  I opted to fold using a template so that all of my folded fabrics would be the same size and fit into the designated storage cubes.

The instructions I found all used a quilting ruler, but I don’t have one, so I improvised with a cutting mat/ruler that I had.

Step 1:  Lay fabric on flat surface with selvage edge on one side (pictured on the right)  and folded edge on the other (pictured on the left), place your ruler/template on top of fabric near the cut edge.

folded fabric 1 Step 2:  Fold cut edge over ruler.

folded fabric 2Step 3:  Continue wrapping fabric neatly around ruler until you reach the end of the yardage.

folded fabric 3  Step 4:  Remove ruler and fold in half.folded fabric 4 Step 5:  Stack in storage cubes and enjoy the neatness.

folded fabricImagine how great this will be when all my fabric is folded and sorted by fiber content and color.  It’s going to take me a long time, but I will be worth it when it’s all done.  I’ll keep you guys posted. 

I am also working to get my craft room fully unpacked and arranged, it’s a total mess now and there are crafting supplies everywhere, but I can’t wait to get it finished, I hope everything fits.

Oh, and the answer to When? is never, I will never have enough fabric, although I am trying to scale it back a bit.


Testing for a Handmade Christmas

I have mentioned before that I like to test things out before I really make them and today I have been testing a felt cupcake pattern from buggabugs.etsy.com. This pattern is really adorable and features the base cupcake pattern and six icing choices. Little Miss is getting a play kitchen for Christmas this year and since that used up the majority of my shopping budget I decided to make some accessories to go with it and what better than felt cupcakes!

What I want to make is two sets of cupcakes, six chocolate and six white and I want the icing on each set to match. Today I made samples of the cupcakes and the icings that I thought I would like.

felt cupcakes test1I really like the two on the top right, the one on the bottom left is okay, but no quite what I was looking for. This pattern really has a lot of detail and an excellent level of realism for felt food. The cupcakes even have removable “papers”.

felt cupcakes test2I am really glad that I decided to give this pattern a test run first, I really learned a lot and I think that the finished cupcakes will be fabulous!

What I learned:

Purchase felt by the yard instead of by the rectangle, it will eliminate the need to sew some seams in the frosting.

Sewing a round bottom onto straight sides using a 1/8” sew allowance on a sewing machine is really hard for me and I will be happier with the results if I hand sew the bottom on.

Don't forget to buy matching thread.

The pattern is perfectly sized to fit in a real cupcake tin.

Hand sewing takes time, but the finished results are worth it.

This pattern was definitely worth the investment, it is well written and has a lot of photos to walk you through all the different steps. I would have to say that almost anyone should be able to make these cupcakes, although it may be time consuming for someone with less experience. Be aware that hand sewing is required for finishing the frosting. The level of detail in this pattern really makes these little cupcakes realistic and I am excited to try another pattern from this designer. This pattern is for personal use only, but I imagine that I will be making this for gifts for years to come. The designer has a large variety of food and toy patterns available, you really should check it out.

Now all I need is some more felt and a couple of cupcake tins from the dollar store and I’ll have another package to wrap up. Don’t worry, I’ll share pictures when I’m finished.


Cereal Box Notebooks Revisited

You may remember that I have made recycled cereal box notebooks before and I really liked how they came out, I just realized that this time I didn’t use any cereal boxes.  I found the tutorial on thelongthread.com.  These little notebooks came in handy for a lot of things, little gifts, giveaways, and just for fun and at the last couple of craft shows I have been to there has been a lot of interest in these simple notebooks.  (They are in the $2.00 to $4.00 range, which seems to be a popular price point, when you want to buy something, but not spend a lot.)  My supply was getting a little low, so I decided to whip up a few more.

cereal box books - more 1

The most time consuming part of this project is cutting the paper, notice all of my boxes are a different size and each insert needs to be measured and cut.  This round I used all plain paper, I’m not exactly sure where my stash of lined paper is, I’m sure it will turn up eventually.

cereal box books - more 2 These are my favorites.  The two in the upper left are from a Ritz cracker box and they are perfect for making lists, I love making lists.  The rest are just fun packages: Hungry-man TV dinners, Annie’s cheddar bunnies, atomic fireballs, bacon, and teddy grahams.  I’m thinking about putting these in my Etsy shop in sets of three for $10.00, what do you guys think?  They will also be making their way into a lot of Christmas gifts, frugal and handmade, how great is that?


Craft Show Displays

Last year was my first real experience attending craft shows and basically I just showed up, slapped a piece of fabric on the table and arranged everything flat on the table. Not really that impressive and not the best way to showcase my work. This year I vowed to do better, but I don’t have the budget to spend hundreds of dollars on fancy displays and lets be realistic, handmade crafts deserve to be displayed in a unique way, not like a display at Wal-mart.

I had my set of five “heads” to model my hats, the varying heights really added some interest to my table. I also had several knitted scarves for sale and I wrapped them around the necks of my hat models.

I found this beautiful frame at a thrift store for $1.50 and knew it would be the perfect base for my pendant display. I cut a piece of foam core to the size of the hole and using hot glue covered it with a charcoal gray knit fabric from my stash. I inserted it into the frame and used pins to stick my pendants to it.

craft show display - pendants I did have to remove the cords from some of the pendants, but I really like the way this looks. I used a brick under the back edge to prop it up and that made the perfect hiding spot to keep my cash box and shopping bags. I also printed out signs that would be helpful for customers to shy to ask or if I was busy with someone else, stating prices and that each pendant came with a satin necklace. I also had a sign mentioning that I take custom orders.

I found this great cardboard organizer on clearance at Ben Franklin’s and just had to have it, once I got it home I realized it would be perfect to display my rainbow crayons and knitted washcloths.

craft show display - organizer box

It was great for the washcloths, but the crayons seemed to go unnoticed by a lot of my customers, I may need to come up with another way to display them.

I also sell record bowls and I use them to hold some of my smaller items, like bottle cap charms and recycled notebooks.

Overall I really think that my new displays really made my work appear more professional, I still need to come up a good way to display my tree of life ornaments, but I had no problem selling them this time. I was making them to pass the time and to have something to keep me busy and usually shortly after I finished one it would be sold.

I don’t have a picture of my full display, it seems in the excitement of going to the show I left my camera at home. I have one more show this season and hopefully I will remember my camera next time and if anyone knows a great way to showcase my tree of life ornaments let me know!


The “Megan Wants You…” Crocheted Hat

The “Megan wants you…” hat from Valerie Whitten of vallieskids.blogspot.com, is a super cute hat that includes a brim and a decorative band attached with buttons. I whipped this up in an afternoon using a J hook and some clearance yarn.

brimmed rainbow hat 2 It turned out really cute, but the yarn reminds me of barfed up skittles.

brimmed rainbow hat 1I took this hat with me to the Frost Frolic Craft show and its the first hat I sold, I’m not sure if it was the style or the color that attracted the buyer, but I will have to make some more of these. Valerie has a lot of cute and easy crochet patterns available on her blog, you should definitely check it out (she is also the designer of the butterfly hat that I have featured here).

I would also like to apologize for being missing all last week, my entire family had some sort of stomach virus/flu and we were pretty ill for the entire week, but don’t worry, we’re all better now and I’m feeling super crafty. The weather is starting to get colder and all I want to do it knit warm things and sew up warm things, so stay tuned, hopefully I will be tackling some of the things on my ever growing to-craft list.


Paper Mache Wrap Up

I coated my paper mache with some light weight joint compound, which probably wasn’t the best idea.  The moisture leached into the paper mache and weakened it, but I’m still using them.

paper mache 3They kind of look like I frosted them.  It took and entire day for them to dry and this morning I sanded them smooth.  I used black gesso to paint/prime them.  I will need to go back and do some touching up and finish the bottoms, but I wanted to share this today.

paper mache 4I really like how these turned out, I wish I had more time to work on them, but I need them to be ready for tomorrow to display my hats.paper mache 5

I had wanted to paint faces on them, but now I’m glad I just went with plain black, my table cloth is also black and I think that it will really make my hats pop!

It’s time for me to start loading up the car, have a great weekend everyone!


Current Events and Paper Mache

It has been a long week and unfortunately it started off on a sad note.  Pookie’s (my cats) health started rapidly declining this weekend and on Monday I said my final goodbye.  She was my companion for over fifteen years.

Pookie and Kiki in the sweater bed Here she is, on the right, with my other cat Kiki in their recycled sweater bed.

I have also been preparing for the 19th. Annual Frost Frolic Holiday Market in exciting Fairbury, Nebraska, my home town.  Working on some new ideas on how to display my work, (more on that next week) and finishing up some last minute projects.

Here is what I just started working on last night.

paper mache 1Here is my base, balloons and cardboard tubes.  I then broke out the paper mache and went to work.

Paper mache 2  I didn’t finish the sixth one, I just ran out of steam, besides odd numbers of things look more visually pleasing, right?  They have dried nicely and are pretty stiff.  I think I’m going to give them a coat of spackle to smooth them out and maybe after my Lincoln Handmade Team meeting tonight I can start painting them.  Can you guess what they are going to be?


Let’s Tie-Dye!

Every once in a while I get the urge to tie-dye.  Years ago the quickest and easiest option was RIT Dye, well not anymore!  I recently received some samples of Tulip’s Permanent Fabric Dye to try.  I was impressed with the vivid colors that were available, very bright and modern.tulip dye This dye is super easy to use, all you need is steaming hot water and 1/4 c. of salt.  I had several colors to experiment with and this is what I came up with.  I used 1 yard pieces of 100% cotton knit fabric for my samples.

tie dye blueThe blue fabric is Royal Blue and Teal.  First I roughly pleated the fabric and bound it with acrylic yarn (that’s what was handy and I have tons to spare).  I immersed it in the Royal Blue, agitating it for the first 15 minutes and then allowing it to soak for another 45 minutes.  I then rinsed and removed the yarn, I have this really awesome feature on my new HE washing machine that rinses and spins the fabric, yay!  I then immersed the damp fabric in a vat of Teal dye agitating and soaking in the same way, rinsed and dried.

tie dye red The Red fabric is made using Bright Red and Sunshine dye (there is a lot more yellow in person that isn’t showing up in this photo).  I carefully pleated the fabric vertically and then bound it with acrylic yarn.  It was then immersed in the Bright Red dye, agitated and soaked for an hour.  Then it was rinsed and the yarn removed.  I then carefully pleated the fabric horizontally and re-tied it with yarn.  It was then immersed in the Sunshine dye, agitated and soaked for an hour, rinsed and untied, then dried.

tie dye black The black fabric was made using black dye.  I decided where the center of the bulls-eye would be and then I wrapped it with string, hopefully this picture explains what I did.

tie-dye 2

I did this randomly all over my piece of fabric, it looked really strange when I was finished.

tie-dye 1This time I immersed it in the Black dye and agitated and soaked it for an hour, rinsed it, removed the strings, and dried it.

I was very pleased with how easy this product is to use, and the results are great, vivid, rich colors and not having to boil the darker colors (like RIT dye) is a big plus!  I was also able to achieve lighter, pastel colors by only immersing the fabric for 10 – 15 minutes.

Tulip has an entire line of products for dying fabric, like custom color mixing kits, tie-dying kits, and resists to use, and I think I will be trying a few of them as well. 

If you would like to see more projects using Tulip dyes check out this e-book from Favecrafts, there are 28 projects organized by 18 different dye techniques, with step-by-step photo instructions!  And if you would like to get some Tulip dye of your own you can order it directly from ilovetocreate.com, enter the code “fave1009” to receive free shipping until November 30, 2009.

What technique do you like the best and what should I make with all this fabric?