3.31.2010

Now Testing Mod Podge Silk Screen

I said Monday I had been dreaming of Mod Podge and this was the project that I had been doing over and over in my mind while I slept.  The best tutorial I have found for using Mod Podge to silk screen is here, she also talks about how to make your design on the computer.silverware design 1 I based my design on my silverware, after I finished the drawing I colored the design in to make sure I was going to like how it printed.  I made some modifications to the highlights when I traced it on to the fabric.   I traced the shape of the hoop on to the paper so I wouldn’t make my design too big.  I probably should have left more space at the top and bottom for the screening process.
Painting the Mod Podge on was easy, I used a fine brush for the details and then filled in the big areas with a larger brush and I let it dry overnight.  I only used one layer of Podge (more about that later).silverware design 2 I put some ink on the screen, I splurged and bought Speedball fabric screen printing ink, I really want this to look professional and I was afraid that acrylic paint with textile medium wouldn’t give a smooth even look.  I think that I used to much ink, next round I will use less.  I drew a line and a center mark along the bottom of my design, I will use this to make printing the finished design easier.  I want them evenly spaced and in a straight line.silverware design 3 I used an old plastic card to “squeegee” my ink through my screen.  I was happy with how it worked, but I think that I need to have something as wide as my design.  Next time I will be using cardboard.silverware design 4 Not to bad, I can see some things that I want to fix on the original screen, but that is exactly why I did this test.  I am going to go back and widen the highlight and reshape the one on the fork a bit.  I also will be going over the background with another coat of Podge.  Using less ink will also make the finished print sharper.silverware design 5 Those little red dots are where I didn’t get the fabric properly coated.  Next time I will do two layers of Podge to start off with, it really isn’t that bad, I’m just picky like that.
I am really excited about the results and this is a really frugal way to do some screen printing.  Embroidery hoops are easy to come by on yard sales and even if you purchase a one new it is less than $2.00.  I used drapery fabric, it’s easy to find in the remnant bin and inexpensive too.  The big expense was that screen printing ink, $8.99 at Hobby Lobby, no I did not shop around, I’m sure it could be found a bit cheaper, and don’t forget you 40% off coupon.  I will be trying this technique with acrylic paint and textile medium eventually and we’ll see how comparable the results are.silverware design 6I washed the screen up right away and the ink came out easily.  I’ll make the corrections once it’s dry and make up a couple more samples and then I should be good to go for the real project: new kitchen curtains!!!
What do you guys think?  Will this design be cute in my kitchen?  I’m going for a kitschy-retro-whimsical look.

3.29.2010

I’m Knitting a Sweater

I have finally decided to knit an adult sized sweater for myself, there are several things you should know about this:

  1. I don’t wear a lot of sweaters, I’m more of a tank top year round sort of gal.
  2. I am allergic to wool, so I’m using acrylic (inexpensive acrylic, bought on clearance for $1.00 a skein)
  3. I don’t expect to finish this until this fall, maybe longer.
  4. There will be no shaping involved, the entire sweater is in super stretchy rib knit, one size fits all.
  5. I am hoping that it will turn out cute, but I’m not expecting too much.

I really like to knit hats and scarves and little things that I can make in a day or two, I guess I’m more of an instant gratification knitter.  I really thought that the Tempting sweater pattern from Knitty.com was cute in a retro pin up girl sort of way and thought that maybe it was time to give a sweater a try.  This is also a super easy, mindless knit, great for when I’m hanging out with friends, talking on the phone, or generally only have a small bit of time to knit and when counting stitches or finding my place in a pattern would eat up too much knitting time.Tempting sweater progress 1

I have knitted about 8 inches up from the bottom of the sweater, 9 more inches before I start the sleeves.  I haven’t been working on this much since I got obsessed with making baby hats and booties, but I hope to make some more progress soon.

Right now I have to go and work on a pressing project, an idea popped into my head yesterday and I can’t stop thinking about it, I even dreamed about Mod Podge all night long and I think I need to do something about it, more on that later.

3.26.2010

Friday Favorites

Here are some more of my Etsy favorites, as always, listed from left to right and top to bottom.

Friday Favorites 3-26-2010

Sterling Silver Fingerprint Engraved Pendant – rockmyworldinc

Crochet Pattern for 10 Star Wars mini Amigurumi –lucyravenscar

Baby Wrap Sling Carrier – SnuggyBaby

Worlds Away Terrarium Kit – Augury

Sprout Garden Herb Markers, custom set of 4 – JCranejewelry

Silverware Utensils Vinyl Decals – HouseHoldWords

Large Spoon and Fork Vinyl Decals – HouseHoldWords

Victorian Doll House Laser cut kit 2 – VictorianDollhouse

Kyoko Modkidboutique Sewing Pattern - downshadowlane

3.25.2010

Progress, Lots of Progress

It has been a busy week here, School is off for spring break and we have been enjoying some nicer weather, there was even time to fly kites!  I have been working on TONS of crafty stuff, but I can’t seem to actually finish anything and what is finished I can’t share, yet.owls finished peek This is finished, the painted owls have been successfully cut and sewn and they ended up exactly like I pictured.  I opted to not outline them on the recommendation of comments here and on twitter, see I did use some of that pink shirt.SYTYC peek Here is my top secret project (yeah, I know super blurry, but I had to cropped it super small).  I’m really excited about this one and I will have a tutorial for this with a downloadable design.  I have another top secret project in the works that involves a bucket, but I haven’t had time to start that one yet.cupcake charms 1 Polymer clay cupcake charms, I have been all over town looking for micro beads so I can make some of these with sprinkles.cupcake pins 1 I also have been making decorative pins with polymer clay.  I made a mold to make the bottoms of the cupcakes, super easy and super quick!  I need to make another batch and take some more photos so I can put together a tutorial.  These are part of a new project that I will hopefully be launching soon.owlie felt 1Wool crochet, now I just need to felt this one and sew it all together, I’m not sure how this one is going to work out.

VHS crochet 1I have dismantled an old VHS tape and am working on a small sample project too.  As you can see, my big pink belly has started to creep into my photo shoots, I normally edit it out, but I thought I would leave it in this time.  I am at the beginning of month nine (give or take two weeks) and things are starting to get interesting around here.  I have two little people asking almost every day if the baby is still in my tummy, I’m frantically trying to finish every craft project I’ve wanted to do right now!, I’m trying to do some home improvements/repairs, and I want to landscape my yard…there is a really long list of things that I wanted to have done before the baby gets here, it’s really pretty wild, I don’t know what it is about being pregnant that makes it seem like there won’t be time to do at least some of this stuff after the baby gets here.  And the big issue is that we haven’t decided on a name.

Today we are just going to lounge around at home, I think I might wear my jammies all day and maybe I can finish one more project (or maybe I’ll start another one ;-D )  Ohh, and I’m taking name suggestions and also looking for guest bloggers to post Mid-April-ish, (whenever I have the baby), let me know if you’re interested!

3.23.2010

Piggies

My daughter is going through a phase where she loves little animals, she has a guinea pig and bunny that go everywhere in her pockets.  I thought I would try to crochet up a few new amigurumi friends for her.  I found a pattern for a pass the pigs game set and thought they were just adorable.  I was able to crochet them really quickly, however my finishing skills are a little lacking.  Sewing the pig butt to the body has left an ugly seam, I think that if I made them again I would just make it in one piece and stuff as did my decreasing on the butt.

piggie crochet 1He’s still pretty cute.  I would also get different eyes, these were called eyes, but really they are just black beads, I think a flat backed safety eye would be more to my liking.

I made two, you know so each child could have one, but I’m stalling about sewing the other one up.piggies crochet 2That’s a lot of pieces for a little pig.  I think I’m going to have to practice my finishing techniques.  There are a lot of other cute patterns on Roman Sock and I would really like to make the toad next, I love toads.

BTW if you have any tips for finishing amigurumi or sites that you recommend leave me a comment, I’m really enjoying trying out some of the little patterns and it’s a great way to use up all of my acrylic yarn stash. 

3.19.2010

Fancy Painted Owls a Tutorial

Painting fabric can be a challenge, but it is really rewarding to make a custom design.  Today I will share the technique that I use and some helpful tips, for this project you will need:

Fabric (I used a t-shirt for this project)

  • acrylic paint
  • textile medium
  • dimensional fabric paint
  • brushes
  • freezer paper
  • Exacto knife
  • iron
  • cosmetic sponge (I buy packs of these at the Dollar Tree, they come in handy for a lot of projects)
  • a design (use free clip art, coloring book images, or you own designs)

For this project I used a purple shirt, to make sure that my colors showed up well and that I didn’t have to paint layers and layers of paint I started off with a stencil of the outline of my design.  I traced it onto freezer paper and cut it out with an exacto knife.  I fused the freezer paper to the shirt using an iron.  I also fused another piece of freezer paper to the back of my shirt to keep the paint from bleeding through.  Using a cosmetic sponge  I applied white acrylic paint mixed with textile medium to my design shapes.  I did two layers, will make a nice base so that my paint colors show up well, if you use a white or other light colored shirt this step isn’t necessary.  At this point I removed my freezer paper, but I recommend that you leave yours on.  If you smudge or splatter paint the freezer paper will protect the rest of your shirt.Painted owlies tute 1A note about paint: I like to use regular acrylic craft paint because I have a lot of different colors on hand, if you prefer you can use fabric paint instead of mixing in a textile medium.  Mixing textile medium with the paint makes it permanent on fabric, follow the directions on your textile medium to get the proportions correct (mine was 2 parts paint to 1 part medium).

After the white base coat was dry I used a pencil to lightly trace my design onto the shapes.  I mix up one color at a time and paint my fabric like a paint by number, doing all of one color before starting on the next.  I still needed two coats of paint on some colors (the pink, yellow, and white), but the darker colors only needed one coat.  Apply the paint in thin even coats, if you glob it on it will make the fabric super stiff and it may crack and peel with wear.Painted owlies 1For this design I painted flat areas of color because I’m going to add texture and interest with dimensional paint.  After the acrylic paint has dried, I waited about an hour, I started adding the details with dimensional paint.  I like the tone on tone effect, so using different textures I layered on the dimensional paint.  Dimensional paint is really fun and inexpensive and a great way to add some interest and bling, you’ll notice that some of mine has glitter or pearlescent additives.  I also like to use it to add embellishments like rhinestones and wiggle eyes, although I didn’t add any of those to this project.

I add two colors at a time and allow to dry thoroughly before starting the next colors.  I don’t want the lines to bleed together and I don’t want to risk smearing the colors.Painted owlies tute 2Tip: test the paint on scrap paper or your hand (like me) to keep it from globbing out on your fabric.  The tips on these paints are easily clogged, especially the glitter ones, and nothing is more upsetting than a big glob of paint in the middle of your project.  If you do accidently get a blob of paint try to carefully remove it or reshape it with a brush, if you are doing tone on tone it will be almost invisible.Painted owlies tute 3Allow everything to dry and heat set according to package directions, usually iron on the back using a press cloth.  I also like to wash my fabric once before wearing or gifting, but that is more of a personal thing.  I have to wait a week before I can wash this fabric (yeah, that what my textile medium says).  Now you all finished, you can wear this shirt or, like me, cut it up and make something new!Painted owlies tute 4As you know, I have been working on these painted owls almost all week and it seems as if this project just didn’t want to get done!  I think it’s almost ready to be cut up and sewn, but I would love some feedback, should I leave it as is or should I outline the owls in black or maybe turquoise?

Have a super crafty weekend and I’ll see you next week!

3.17.2010

Quick Peek

I wanted to share a quick peek of the project I started yesterday.  I have switched to a purple shirt (don’t worry I’ll be using at least part of the pink shirt to finish this project).Painted owlies 1 I’ll have more to share about this project tomorrow, but today I’m fighting a killer sinus headache or someone snuck in here last night and punched me in the face while I was sleeping.  I’m sure I’ll be back to normal and painting tomorrow.

Happy St. Patrick’s day!

3.16.2010

Lessons of the Day

1.  50% cotton and 50% polyester shirts do not discharge well with bleach, always check the label, assume nothing!lessons 2 (not even close to the look I was going for and the photo looks better than the actual fabric)

2.  Bleach pens get old and don’t work as well as a fresh pen.

3.  Make a sample, it saves time in the long run.

4.  Messy fingers are bad, watch what you’re touching or you’re going to have to come up with some creative ways to make it look like you did that on purpose.lessons 1 (sigh, maybe some appliquĂ© will work)

5.  Iron freezer paper on the back of fabric that you are painting to keep the paint from seeping through the fabric.

6.  Make a copy of you design, that way if you make a mistake you have a back up copy and won’t have to start from scratch.

7.  Be flexible, sometimes you plan needs to change to accomplish the look you are going for.

8.  If you must spray bleach water do it outside or you will be sorry, trust me, I know.

9.  White vinegar neutralizes bleach, keep it handy to stop bleaching action, rinse fabric thoroughly and launder the bleached fabric.

10. A day where you learn something, but don’t necessarily accomplish anything is not a wasted day.

All of these lessons came up today, hopefully tomorrow I will have a completed project to share.

3.15.2010

Another Pattern Storage Idea

As you know I have some pattern storage boxes that are specially made for sewing patterns, I have three and my collection of patterns has grown beyond the amount of space they provide.  I have not been able to find more of these pattern boxes and if I remember correctly they were a bit pricey for what is basically a cardboard box with a lid.  Thankfully I have found the perfect solution! and it has been hiding with the office supplies.  I found hanging file portable storage boxes (1/2 size boxes) at OfficeMax.  They come in packs of 6 for around $12.00 and are just slightly larger that the patterns are.pattern storage ideaThe lids just flip up and they are already nice and white just waiting to be embellished.pattern storage idea detailHere you can see how well the patterns fit, they even work for some of my larger Vogue patterns.  I also have several pattern that have been altered and won’t fit back into their envelopes that are stored in plastic zipper bags and they fit nicely too.

Another great use for these boxes (if you have a few that aren’t holding patterns) is magazine storage.  I save all of my Threads magazines and they stand up nicely in the boxes and I can read the spines to easily find the issue I’m looking for.  They also keep everything dust and cat hair free, a big bonus at my house!

I’m waiting until I get some of the decorating done in my craft room before I decide how to embellish these boxes.  I’m really excited that all of my patterns now have a home and are organized by company and design number, now I just need to make an index.  It’s getting more organized here, one small project at a time.

3.12.2010

Owlies, Now With Bigger Eyes

I went back and made the eyes a bit larger, I had missed an entire row of the pattern somehow, I also switched from white to pink, which I like much better. While I was at it I made a couple more, just to see what different colors would look like.Rupert amigurumi groupI am going to either have to stop making everything orange or pick a new beak color, the beaks just aren’t showing up as well on the two on the left. I also can’t decide if I prefer sleeping eyes or the winking one, which one do you guys like?

I’m thinking that it would be interesting to make one out of wool and felt it, but I’m not sure I’m ready to torture myself like that again (I’m sooooo allergic) and some sort of owl purse would be cool too! I also want to get some finer yarn and make some smaller ones. These are about 4” tall and 5” wide and we all know that tinier - cuter, I need to check my stash in the basement and see what I can come up with. I really enjoy this pattern and I think I will be making more, maybe I’ll even have some for sale in my new etsy store.

Have a super crafty weekend, I’ll see you next week!

3.11.2010

Another Lilblueboo Pattern

After enjoying the Sienna Dress pattern so much I decided to try the Lil Leggings pattern and, once again, I was not disappointed!  Nice straight forward instructions and a great selection of tips to make different styles.  The pattern recommends a knit fabric with 75% stretch, I used a less stretchy fabric and upsized the pattern a bit.  The result are some cute leggings to match Little Miss’s new Sienna Dress.sienna dress - Catrina

You should recognize all of the fabrics, they are from my thrifting adventure last week.  I know it may seem a little out of season for a Catrina, but she will be wearing this all spring and summer, what can I say, we’re a year round skeleton family.

Little Miss really likes these dresses and when she finds out that I’m making her a new one she hovers around waiting for it to be ready to try on.  It’s exciting for me that she really wants to wear the little dresses I’m making.  I think I may just have to buy all of the Lilblueboo patterns, there are so easy and stylish.  We get a lot of compliments and people are amazed that these are handmade.  If you have a little girl to sew for I can’t recommend these patterns enough.  Make sure to stop by The Lil Blue Boo blog as well for some great tutorials for embellishing you fabrics for a more custom look.

I have some other great girly tutorials to try, but I just can’t stop making these knit dresses, I wish the pattern came in adult sizes.  I have been eyeing the Halter/Tie back dress pattern for this summer.

3.09.2010

Pythons

The first Thursday of the month is when we have our Lincoln Handmade Etsy team (facebook fan page) meetings.  They’re a lot of fun, full of crafty gossip, eating, knitting, crocheting, and other craftastic fun.  This month the team gave me a baby gift: a thrifted t-shirt and a Hobby Lobby gift card.  We had a good laugh about the shirt and this is what I turned it into.

pythons baby gownThis is the third gown I have made and once again it was really easy.  It took me about 1 1/2 hours from start to finish and I was not hurrying.  I used red thread to coordinate with the pythons and I really like the way it stands out on the finished gown.  I have to confess that I am totally addicted to sewing with knits, I just can’t stop!

Thanks Lincoln Handmade Team for the awesome shirt and gift card, I’ll giggle a little every time the little man wears it!

3.08.2010

The Plarn Adventure

As I was cleaning my dining room/craft table I came across the plarn I had made last month.  I immediately felt the urge to finish the already started bag.  I think I was just looking for a reason to stop cleaning, but my theory was crochet the bag and then I won’t have to find somewhere to store the plarn balls.  I just sort of made this up as I went along, so no pattern to share, however if you’re looking for plarn inspiration check out RecycledCindy’s blog, she has a lot of great ideas and free patterns.plarn toteThis bag worked up quickly thanks to the large hook and I used up all of my plarn!  It seemed like it took me longer to cut the plarn than to crochet it, but the cutting is the boring part.  I made stripes to make it a little interesting, I wish I had more colors to choose from.  plarn tote detail It turned out a great size for grocery shopping and the red stripe will coordinate with my “meat” bags.  Plarn was easy for me to work with and I will be making more of these bags, it seems like there is always plenty of plastic bags around even though I normally bring my own bags or at least ask for paper.

I want to try VCR tape next, although I hear that it’s a little harder to work with,(it sticks to the hook).

3.04.2010

Thrifty Thursday – Goodwill Treasures

I had a great weekend of thrift shopping, if you remember it was $.99 day at the Goodwill last Friday and Saturday. 

I found a great selection of striped shirts, a few tie dyes, and some plain colors for matching.  I also found a great orange dragon shirt and an interesting gaming shirt, it had Yoda and Darth Vader, so I had to get it.thrift store finds Feb 2010 1 There were also several fun printed shirts, like Sponge Bob with “I’m Ready” on the back, an awesome bleached Catrina shirt, a Jon Stewart shirt, and a fun sarcasm shirt.  I had an Aqua Teen Hunger Force tee too, but my husband snapped that up.  I’m thinking that the Catrina shirt would look great with that orange and black tie dye.thrift store finds Feb 2010 2 I also found this cute women’s tank top.  I love getting these, they are so easy to convent into dresses for Little Miss.  I just have to take in the sides and shorten the straps.  I especially liked this top because of the cute little pockets.thrift store finds Feb 2010 3 It was a great shopping day and I probably would have come home with a lot more if Little Miss hadn’t been with me.  She has now started hiding in the clothes racks, so I look like a crazy lady talking to the clothes while really I’m just trying to get her to come out.  I also bought the cutest little doll cradle, for $4.00 I couldn’t pass it up.  I would look nice with some paint or maybe some decoupage, we’ll see what happens.

3.03.2010

The Simple Things: An Easy Storage Container

There is a mitten monster on the loose here and apparently he only eats little girl mittens, I think that this year we have lost at least three.  I imagine that the reason he is not around in the summer is because he’s wearing six pairs of sunglasses that have all magically disappeared.  I would like to note that I have been wearing the same sunglasses for the last five years and just recently bought myself a new pair, but I still have my old ones as a spare.

I have found that in order to keep my sanity everything needs to have a “place” to go.  In our new house a lot of things need designated spots to go and once everyone is aware of what spot everything goes we should be able to find what we’re looking for without organizing a search party.

In my desperation for quickly leaving the house I came up with these handy and simple containers to store mittens and sunglasses and other stuff, there will be no more hunting.  If mittens and sunglasses aren’t in the container we won’t be wearing them today!sunglasses-mitten caddy 1They are simply 2-liter soda bottles with the labels removed, tops cut off (I traced the basic shape using a marker and just cut following the lines), and holes cut for hanging over the doorknobs.  I used a large circle punch to start my holes, but I had to cut them larger with my scissors.sunglasses-mitten caddy 2I have left these plain for now, but they could be easily dressed up in any number of ways: stickers, paint, markers, ribbon, scrapbook paper.  I’m keeping these simple while we test them, no sense in making them fancy if they aren’t going to be an effective solution.  I am hoping that this new system will make leaving the house quicker and also make my life less stressful.  I have also made one for myself for my sunglasses and coupon organizer.  What are your handy tips for staying sane?, (I need all the help I can get).

3.02.2010

Rupert the Amigurumi Owl

I have been working on this little guy for a couple of evenings, it was just too cute of a pattern to pass up!  However, I have decided that the only time that anyone in my family wants to really talk to me is when I’m counting stitches or reading pattern directions.  What that means is that some parts of this pattern have been read about 1000 times, while other parts seemed to have been skipped altogether.  I have re-crocheted this little owl about five times and still there are problems, but don’t worry I’m going to master this pattern even if I have to lock myself in the bathroom to finish it.

Rupert amigurumiHere’s where I’m at, I think I may have overstuffed Rupert a bit, what can I say, I like a chubby owl.  The eyes aren’t quite big enough, I think I may have missed an increase round.  I’m not really liking the white eye anyway it’s just to stark, I may need to make it cream or yellow.

I really need to get my craft room in order, then I can hide in there and count stitches and read patterns.  Although I doubt that would work, when I shut the door now even the cat is at the door scratching to get in (they’re French doors and it’s like I’m in an aquarium and everyone wants in).  Looks like I need some more curtains…and a lock…does anyone else have this problem when you’re crafting, how do you get quiet, crafty time?

3.01.2010

More Curtains

The curtains for Little Miss made her room look so much nicer that I thought it was time to fix the curtains in Little Sir’s room.

Little Sir's curtains - before

I made these curtains a few houses ago and while they are holding up fabulously they are a tad bit short for the windows in our new house.  It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but they let in a lot of light and at night they allow our neighbors to see right into my son’s room.

I added some more denim to the bottom, lined them with muslin, mounted them on boards, and added ties like Little Miss’s curtains, so we could open them up during the day.Little Sir's curtains - after

I know that stripes are a little wonky, but in my defense, when I originally made these curtains they were for windows on different walls, so I didn’t worry about matching up the stripes.  I need to add a dowel to the bottoms for weight and roll them slightly to make them look better.  Letting them hang for a few days will help too!

These curtains were so easy and inexpensive to make.  I used jeans that I had been given (my whole family saves their old jeans for making bone crusher quilts) and just tore the legs into stripes, I also had the muslin for the lining on hand (thanks Christy Nelson), but an old sheet would have worked just as well.  (The only reason I backed them was so that from the outside the windows look white.)  The back of the legs were wider that the fronts so the stripe width vary.  I arranged them into a graduated color pattern, I’m sure they would have also been great in a random pattern too.  I stitched them all together leaving the seams on the outside and then snipped the seams about every quarter inch and ran them through the washing machine to fray them.  Make sure that when you dry the curtains that you empty your dryers lint trap often!  The only stuff I had to purchase for these curtains were boards to mount them on and the orange fabric for the ties, which I have also used to make a swaddling blanket and still have plenty left over for some other projects, so I spent about $10 total and most of that was because I wanted fancy batik cotton fabric (and I didn’t want to seam the ties).

I’m really enjoying the difference custom curtains make I may have to get started on the ones for my craft room.  We’ll see what next Monday brings!