Project Run & Play Sew-along- Season 10: Week one! (Crystal)

I have been massively MIA, lately.  My daughter starting kindergarten has ZAPPED me.  Thank goodness I have Project Run & Play to snap me out of my blogging funk.  It's season 10!  I started sewing along with season 7 and I'm super excited about my 4th time in the PR&P zone!  I was THISCLOSE to being voted in as a contestant, but a very worthy competitor won (although all of the looks I was up against were so cool and just as worthy) and I can take it much easier from this side.


Aaaaanyway...Season 10's week one theme is 80's cartoons!  My head almost exploded with all of the ideas.  And I had originally thought about using a gnome dress that I had made for the link-up based on my LOVE for David the Gnome, but I had already shared it on some sewing boards and wanted my PR&P post to be fresh.  I was given some epic retro My Little Pony fabric and decided that was my best bet!  I mean it's pastel and it's MLP, so it just SCREAMED 80's.

I had a hard time deciding what to make with my amazing fabric. I even asked for opinions for "epic vs practical" on a sewing board.  Almost everyone said epic and I was totally on board, and then I remembered that my daughter had been begging for skirts.  So with a guilt filled heart, I went practical.  While trying to decide on the perfect skirt, I started working with a coordinating knit and made a top.  I used the Skipper Top by Sew Much Ado.  I LOVE this pattern.  I've made a few and they're always perfect for what I need.  Fancy while feeling's this yoga pants wearing mom's dream.  The freaking BEST thing about tees is that they work with a wardrobe in so many ways.  I loved it with my skirt, but it's perfectly adorbs when paired with just jeans (I did NOT make the following jeans.  They were RTW $10 jeans from Target).

So...the skirt.  I went back and forth and forth and back and climbed up to the top of the crazy tree before I finally settled on the Daphne's Bubble Skirt and Top by Create Kids Couture.  Bubble skirts are SO FUN and when you're sewing with such playful fabric, a bubble skirt just works like magic.  I used the same pink knit that I used for the shirt for the skirt ties.  It's the best bubble skirt ever.  Don't argue.  You know you want one.

 Ok, now I'm getting to the part that you guys are either going to love or hate- and I don't care what them haters say because  I LOVE SPARKLE, yo.  I gave my daughter practical.  But I could not let go of the epic.  I couldn't.  I just couldn't.  So I decided to add some mega bling by making an accessory.  FYI, the pic below cracks me up so bad.  Sometimes the best thought-out photo ideas look "holding a brazier" ridiculous.  But I had to post it so you could laugh with me...and see my versatility (yeah, we all know it's soley for the giggles)

I took the collar pieces from the Ava Dress by 5Berries Patterns and turned it into a tie-on necklace.  I used leftover sequins fabric from the Elsa dress I made and put together something that keeps the top casual if it needs to be but fabulous if it WANTS to be.  Besides, sequins are so 80's.

I hope you like my week 1 look and I hope you link-up, too.  It's a ton of fun and really pushes your creativity.  I'm also SUPER excited to see what the official contestants come up with.  I have a feeling it's going to be tubular!


GingerMelon stuffy sewn by Jenn!

Well... it seems this Jenn was a bit absent this summer.... no worries, I didn't break up with TWSC. I was just enjoying the warmth. and the fun of summer with kids....

BUT, now I am back! and first up is a little pattern review! and full disclosure I bought this pattern with my own coins!  

So gingermelon was having a sale the other day and I LOVE her patterns, but I do not love handsewing.... and then I saw this cloth kitten pattern and it is using a machine! Up my alley! 

Plus does anyone have little girls who hate kittens? I mean look how cute!

This pattern is a little time consuming since the face is painted on, but the face is in the pattern so you can get it right! and I don't know about you, but sometimes I really REALLY enjoy picking up a brush and taking the time to be a little fussy, I find it relaxing.
 Also a quick note that the pattern pieces are not computer drafted. I personally have no issues with hand drawn toy patterns as long as they are well done and this one is very well done and tidy. All the pieces are labeled and fit well. No taping pattern pieces together. My finished kitten is about 12" tall.  
The kitten is not hard to sew, at all. Though I do wish I had a proper water soluble pen to use for this, the crayola washable marker was a bit of a hassle and didn't wash out well where painted on. Not that you can see that since I painted over the lines, but you can from the back side.

I really love how this pattern came together and I love the details on it! The little purse to go with - how cute! and the dress and purse patterns are included! I added the trim to the bottom of the dress to make it my own, a plain hem seemed a bit boring.

Now, I just need to decide what to do with this kitty! My kids all want it... but I love it too. Not that I need a soft toy, but neither do they really as they have oodles.

What do you do with your just for fun crafting that has no real "use" in your house?


Back To School with Maggie Mae!

I’ve spent a lot of time the past few months working on school clothes for my first child in kindergarten.  I was not ready for my BAAAAAABY to be in kindergarten AT ALL.  Not ready to not have her all day.  Not ready for her to be more independent.  Not ready for parent homework.  With all the things I wasn’t ready for, I was determined to be ready for one thing: that child of mine was going to look fabulous.  I combed  all of my patterns looking for ones with sleeves (there’s a 3” strap rule which is basically sleeves on a 5 year old) and got to work.  One of my go-to patterns for a successful sew is the Maggie Mae by Shwin.  I made two for school and I love them both!

The first I made was a tunic length.  There’s also a “no leggings as pants rule”, so I had to make sure it looked good with jeans.   Seriously...these rules.  SO MANY RULES.  I had a rule of my own- I had to use my stash.  We do not have any disposable income right now, so stash busters were a MUST.  I had some of this leftover Cherry Print that I’ve used for a bunch of stuff and I found an old dress I hated and used the grey skirt for the yoke.   BAM!  One top down and my awesome factor is UP!

I decided to make a dress version as well.  Kids grow up and need to be “cool” so quickly.  I’m DEFINITELY not ready for that, so I’m keeping her young as long as she lets me.  I was given this AWESOME gnome fabric that I’ve been obsessing over for a year and I knew I needed it for something.  I paired it with a sparkle denim and YEP!  This one’s for all my Gnomies. This dress started out as a different pattern, but my daughter complained that the bodice was “too itchy”.  Whiner.  (But it totally was itchy).  I decided to go back to Maggie Mae and it was better.  Muuuuch better.  The only thing I changed , really, was the skirt.  I made a wider skirt and gathered it, rather than using the slimmer and pleated version that comes with the pattern.  I also made  a white sash and a denim flower for that Papow!  My girl even wore it to picture day!  Maggie Mae saves the day!  But I’m, at the very least, her sidekick.  But like a sexy sidekick that everyone likes and invites to parties because no one wants to be Robin...

Anyway, I hope you like two of my school looks.  There have been a lot more and you’ll get to see at least 2 of them next week...ALLSPICE WEEK.  WOO HOO!!!


DIY Mail Sorter

This month with my mommy friends we decided to do a mail sorter as our monthly craft.  So far we each have way different methods and will each have a very different product all to solve our piles of mail problem.  I can't wait to see what they create.

If you are anything like me, you are a piler.  You have a pile for mail, a pile for the magazines, a pile for crafty stuff, a pile for shoes... well you get the idea.  Now my piles are much more organized than say back in my high school and college days-- thank goodness for fabric bins which contain my "piles"-- and we won't talk about all the piles of papers I had back when I was a teacher...  But with the variety of mail we get flyers, magazines, bills, personal notes, junk mail, and random bits of paper with our names and address on them... our mail pile has taken over-- taken over the counter, the dining room table, the desk.  AND it comes everyday, except Sunday.  There's no post on Sunday... good thing we aren't witches/wizards who can get owl post every day of the week.  Actually scratch that I'd rather be a witch and get mail every day of the week.  I'd have a wand and magic to help me with all my boring day to day chores.

Anyway while I pout that yet again I didn't get to head off to Hogwarts this past September 1st let us get back to this mail issue.  In short, we have not come up with a good system since moving into this house.  Our system as it stands... it piles.  We get sick of the pile and sort.  Things get thrown out and other things get shredded and other stuff finds a new pile to be filed.


Before I get into the nitty gritty of my search for inspiration and all the details and photos of making my mail sorter here is a quick step by step.  Sort of like getting the quick recipe before you have to go and dig through the photos of what each step looks like since this one.... well it's LONG.

3 large cardboard boxes (I used 26x26x26)
Brown Wrapping Paper
Paint and Paint Brushes
Exacto Knife
White Out (or Paint Pen)
2 Nails with a wide-ish flat head

1.  Open up along the seam one box.  Cut off the sides and cut box in half.  Discard the sides.
2.  Cut one of the large pieces down to 42 inches by  21 inches.  Cut other large piece to 42 inches by 19 inches. (height by width)
3.  Glue large pieces together with one inch overlap on either side of the shorter piece.  Make sure that the creases already in the pieces are not aligned as this will then be a bending point.  If you must have them aligned then make it so the bends are in opposite directions as to counter act each other.
4.  With the larger piece on the bottom fold the overhanging sides to cover the smaller piece and glue down.
5.  Create pocket template ON PAPER.  You can use the measurements from mine above or create your own size for your needs just make sure it will fit on your backboard.
6.  Using template map out where your pockets will go on the backboard.
7. Map out the slits and cut them in.
8. Cover the front of the back board with brown wrapping paper and paint.
9. Trace your pocket template out four times onto the other two boxes after opening them up along their seams.
10. Cut pockets out and paint. (If your cardboard is in poor shape you may want to cover your pockets with brown wrapping paper too but I opted not to)
11. Cut through the slits on the backboard though to the paper.  Widen the slits with a ruler.
12.  Once pockets are dry fold into the pocket shape and tape inner and outer corners.
13.  After pinching the pocket tab edges insert the pockets through the slits.
14. Fold tabs down and glue.
15. Embellish and label pockets as desired
16. Measure the distance between the midpoints of two tabs that are along the same horizontal.  Place two nails with wide flat heads within the measurement found.  Hang the sorter on the nails.

And now back to the super de duper long tutorial compete with pictures.

So my search for a DIY mail sorter began.  I really liked this sorter.   A sorter from cardboard, brilliant. A quick visit to the Buy Nothing (my city) board and lookie there someone giving away large cardboard boxes.  The tutorial called for medium boxes... I didn't care, bigger is better right?

So I got my boxes and started measuring to which I decided forget dealing with the side flaps and the gaps I'm cutting all that off and cutting this big box in half.  One box to make the back board section.  Yes the measurements were a bit off from the tutorial but hey this is my sorter.

I did cut one piece down about 2 inches in width than the other piece to avoid the making of the frame on the tutorial... what can I say I'm lazy.  Heated up the glue gun and glued the main pieces together leaving one inch overhang on either side.

Then I took those overhangs and folded them over the back portion of the board encasing the raw edge of the bottom board and creating a sort of a frame.

Now I ran into issues with the tutorial.... I didn't want to pay for a single day (or a month since they were the same price) to be able to download the pieces.  The very pieces that make me like this sorter.  Again... need to be a witch.

Based on the information that was on the screen I knew that the front section was 8 by 12 inches and that the slots cut into the back board was approximately 2 inches long and 1/8th inch wide.  Beyond that... I was on my own.  So I drew on sticky notes a plan.  And try number one... failed of which I had stupidly tried my test by cutting the actual cardboard... double fail.

I had made my life more difficult than I had to.  Try number two started and stopped as I was drawing again on the cardboard realizing I wasn't getting symmetrical sides.  Then I got smart (third times the charm?) and used the brown wrapping paper I had pulled out to wrap my main board (mostly to cover up the creases because I didn't think the paint would look nice) to draft my pocket pieces.

Here is what my hard day of work produced.

This pocket, WORKS!

Then I needed to map out where the pockets would be on the main board.  With my handy paper drafted pocket i folded down the ends giving me my 8 by 12 inch rectangle.  My board height measured 41 inches so I left 3 inches at the top before starting my first plot for the first pocket.  Then spaced the pockets 2 inches apart.  Again I share this diagram with you as to not get lost in all the wording.

Using my paper rectangle I traced/mapped all this out.  Then using a scrap piece of cardboard I figured out where to place the slits in the backboard  which the pockets will be inserted into.

Mapping out the slits.  First I started with the bottom tabs again using my paper template to find the proper placement

Then the side tabs were a little more tricky.  After some experimenting I lined up the corner ignoring the bottom straight line and just lining up the side of the template with the side of the rectangle mapped out on the board.

After mapping it all out, I then extended the tabs so the slits were slightly bigger than the actual tabs.

Bottom tab slits were cut to 2.75 inches

Side tabs slits were cut to 2 inches

I cut the slits in using an exacto knife-- sharper is better.  Dull equals sooo much more fighting with the cardboard.

Then I took my brown wrapping paper (found in the packaging section at your local Target) and covered the front portion of my board.  For this I just used packing tape but I could have used the handy glue gun again.

Easy part.  Paint.

While waiting for the board to dry, I took my other two boxes (well actually one and a half boxes b/c of my earlier boo boo) and traced out the pocket pieces.  Again using the exacto knife I then cut out a pocket.

Gave myself a break from cutting and painted the pocket.  While waiting for the first pocket to dry I then cut out the second pocket. Until all pockets were cut and painted.

Once paint is dry on the backboard, cut the slits through the paper as well careful to not rip the paper but just cut along the same line as the slit.  I placed the exacto blade through the back of the board and carefully eased it down through the slit making the exact slit on the paper.

To further widen the space in the slits I took my larger ruler and passed it through the space.

Fold the cardboard pockets along the lines that you folded the paper to create your 8 by 12 inch rectangle.

Tape the outer and inner corners (I used clear packing tape that I then painted over the outer corners so I didn't have shiny corners).

Inserting the pockets onto the backboard is a bit tricky as it is a tight fit which you want so your pockets aren't shifting around.  I pinched the tabs along the edge before easing a corner of each tab through the slit.  Pull, tug, push (gently you don't want to collapse your pocket) until the pocket is flush to the backboard.

Fold tabs over and GLUE.

I wanted a bit of ornamentation on my pockets so I stenciled a grey "box" which I then wrote in my labels.

Earlier in the day (day 3 of working on this mind you) I was bummed I didn't have a white paint pen as it was my goal to only use things I already had at home or could get for free.   Then V was playing in some of my office supply/craft stuff and brought me a white out pen... problem solved. By the way did you notice the mail sorter matches the ruler growth chart from last month?  Home Depot oops paint pots... I love you.

To hang I placed two nails on the wall where I wanted to hang the sorter set so that two tabs will rest on the nails.  I won't be able to let the sorter get too heavy with this option but I figure if I'm letting it get too heavy than I'm not filing and shredding like I'm supposed to be.

There you have it: one DIY mail sorter made from cardboard.  Did I have to do a little more brain work than I was hoping for when I originally came across the idea? YES but I'm pretty sure if this thing helps us get our piles in order than I'll be one happy muggle.

And if you've made it ALL the way to the bottom a little sparkle to end the post. (I will admit to pretending my glue gun was a sparkly wand with which I could write fun things....)


Growth Chart Inspiration

Story time!

Once upon a time, Viever was a newlywed.  A newlywed with a bad case of baby fever.  She found other women who shared in her baby fever and desire to plan for a baby.  She joined the group known as "Waiting to Conceive" (or at least that's what she thinks the groups name was... maybe there was a year in there too) on the BabyCenter Community Boards and got to know a group of women: some moms already and some hoping for their first bundle.  All of whom were planning and waiting.  Fast forward five maybe six years and with all the babies born to the group, moves,  other life changes you'd think that maybe this online group would have broken up after those babies we were all waiting for showed up.

Nope, our group changed: support for those days where you feel like you are the worst mommy in the whole world, a think tank for surviving toddler antics, a place we were safe to exchange ideas and help out the fellow mommy.  It is our chosen village to help raise our children though we are spread far and wide across the US.

So why do I bother telling you this tale?  Because one of these fabulous Mamas (looking at our resident fasionista mama Misty) decided to put out a monthly "Craft Call."  Last month they joined me in my making of a growth chart ruler and those who participated have graciously decided to let me nab their pictures for an inspiration post of sorts.

You all saw my version a few weeks ago.  Well they came up with their own twists on making this growth chart their own.

I'll start with Amber who I mention as my inspiration to get my butt into gear and finally make the growth chart I lusted at while at a craft fair.

She painted over the whole board and used the vaseline distress method (she warns: A LITTLE goes a LONG way) to get the look she wanted.  She also freehanded the numbers and lines (after measuring of course) to give it more character.  To mount her board, her husband screwed in the board to the wall.

Misty is our fearless leader in heading up our monthly craft call.  For the month of August when she made her first inquiry to see if we'd be interested it just so happened that I was in the middle of this project and it was embraced.

Misty decided to go with chalkboard paint for her main surface.  The two sides of the board are painted in colors that match her living room decor.  She then used the transfer number portion of my tut to trace outlines of her numbers to her board and then hand painted in the lines getting just the look she wanted.

She took her board a step further in personalizing it for her living room space and family by add their initial to the top and painting in the flowers in colors matching her living room decor.  Her original idea was to use some custom wallpaper in that top space but once it arrived she changed her mind.

Next we have Alison.  She decided that she wanted to use some of her scrapbook papers and decoupage cut out numbers to her board.

One change she says she would do if she had to make it again would be to chose different papers for more contrast but I must say that I do like her choices!

Finally we have Jennifer.  She bought an electric sander (who can blame her hand sanding with three little ones running around sound to be no fun) and used vinyl numbers for her board after getting the staining just to the color she wanted.

And there we have it.  One project.  4 different ways of making it our own.  Have you made one of these charts?  From our tutorial or the many others available online?  We'd love to see it!