handmade


I could literally spend hours on Etsy, browsing the unique and utterly fantastic shops that can be found! In fact, I sometimes spend way more time on the site than I’d like to admit! That’s not always a bad thing, because almost every time I look at Etsy, I discover a wonderful shop that I love to pieces! Today is no exception. Button Boutique is features over 200 products, all of which are “cute as a button” (pun intended), and competely affordable! This shop has received 100% positive feedback and sold over1,500 items. It makes my heart happy to discover a shop as whimsical and wonderful as this one!

Among Button Boutique’s many offerings, here are my favorites:

Isn’t this bunny ponytail holder just too sweet?

Walk the Plank Magnet set

And my pirate-loving son would adore these magnets!

Watermelon Patti Paisley Button Bracelet

Button Boutique also has a bunch of really cool bracelets, such as this Watermelon Patti Paisely Button Bracelet.

Last week, I spent way too much time on Craftster, but I found a really cool hoodie tutorial that I just had to try. It took me about three hours, total, which I spread out over a few days. I think it turned out very nicely, if I do say so myself! I found this oh-so-cute fabric at Wal-Mart for $2 a yard. Here’s a full-body shot:

My only complaint is that the fabric turned out to be quite thin, and since I was making a jacket, I wanted it to be fairly warm, so I had to double up the fabric. This caused me to run out of fabric at the very end, and I couldn’t make the hood quite a slarge as I wanted. Next time, I think I’ll try fleece or sweatshirt fleece. I promised my son I’d make him a hoodie some time soon!

Total cost: $6

For the hoodie tutorial I used, click here.

I’m not getting much sewing done lately because the air conditioner in my sewing room went kaput, and if you’ve ever been on the upper floor of an old house, in the summer, without a/c, you’ll understand why I’ve been staying away!!

I did venture up there last weekend, and sweated profusely while putting together this vintage-style apron, according to the directions in Bend the Rules Sewing by Amy Karol, aka Angry Chicken.  I think it tuned out decently, considering it was my first try, and that I was getting pretty hot by the time I finished:

I apologize for the wacky photo; my two-year-old daughter took the picture! I got the fabric at Wal-Mart for $1 a yard, so the total cost for this apron was about $3, including thread and trim. Not bad, I say!

 

Other than that, I haven’t been creating much. I’ve been spending way too much time on Ebay, looking for vintage fabrics. It’s really disappointing. I can’t get enough fabric to make a skirt for a reasonable price!! If anyone knows of any resources for ultra-cheap fabric (I mean less than $3 a yard), please let me know!

Without fail, every time I browse through the handmade wonderland that is Etsy, I find something extremely cool! If I spent as much money on Etsy as I’d like to, it would take me a lifetime to pay my credit card bills!

Today, I found a wonderful shop called BlossomArts. It features handmade jewelry that is well-made more than they typical bead-heavy homemade jewelry that is so common. Most of the designs are made out of clay, and they are so beautiful! The prices are great, too. I know I’d pay a lot more for such beautiful creations at a boutique, and jewelry like this simply can’t be found at a big-box bargain basement!

It’s hard to pick a favorite, so I won’t! (ATTENTION FAMILY AND FRIENDS: GIFT IDEAS FOR ME!! :) )

I adore the Art Noveau French Poster Pendant: Art Nouveau French Poster Pendant -  by BlossomArts

Also the Lilac Purple and Silver Shimmer Pendant Necklace:Lilac Purple and Silver Shimmer - Pendant Necklace- New design by BlossomArts

I also love this Black and White Tile Pendant: Black and White Tile Pendent - by BlossomArts

And my daughter would go nuts for this sweet A Little Bird Told Me No. 2 Pendant:

A Little Bird Told Me No. 2 Pendant - By BlossomArts

If you can’t find something you want to buy at BlossomArts, then you must not like jewelry, and you don’t know one single person who likes jewelry. Or…you’re not trying hard enough! Also check out the owner’s second shop, BlossomStamps. There are a bunch of beautiful stamp creations to be found. Perhaps you can try your hand at clay jewelry making, or maybe you just want unique, beautiful cards or stationary! Also really beautiful stickers!

After I made my Silhouette T-Shirt, my daughter was desperately sad (as only two-year-olds and teenagers can be), crying that I hadn’t made her anything. Luckily, I had just seen a post on The Artful Parent Blog about how to make a toddler smock out of an old T-shirt. So, I whipped up this fun smock in about 15 minutes. It was kind of fun to make, and she loved it so much! The funny part: she insisted on wearing it with nothing underneath, so she looked like she was running around in hospital gown! :) Thanks, Jean!!

I have posted before about my love of freezer paper stencilling. Well, I’ve been at it again, and this time I decided to make a T-shirt that was very personalized and precious to me. I was browsing through Flickr the other day, and was inspired by this photo. I decided to make myself a T-shirt, using my kids’ silhouettes as a freezer paper stencil. Here’s how I did it:

Things You’ll Need:

  • Children, or other semi-cooperative photo subjects
  • Digital Camera
  • Printer
  • Freezer Paper (found in grocery store, near aluminum foil and plastic wrap)
  • Pen or pencil that draws crisp lines
  • Tape
  • X-Acto Knife with sharp blade
  • Old magazine or large, thick piece of cardboard
  • Iron
  • T-Shirt of your choice
  • Fabric paint of your choice

 

  • First, I had to get my children to sit still long enough for me to snap a photo of them. My daughter just barely cooperated! When taking photos for silhouettes, there are a couple of things to remember. Don’t cut off any body parts. The silhouette will look strange if your child is missing a hand or foot! Make sure your children aren’t holding their hands in front of their bodies, or the silhouette will look weird, too. The biggest rule is to try to look at the photo as if it were a silhouette. Does it look good that way??? Then use it! Here’s the photo I used (don’t they look so thrilled to pose for me?): 

                                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • After you’ve snapped a photo that you’re pleased with, load it onto your computer and print it off on regular computer paper. Photo paper is too thick for the next step. For my shirt, I cropped the photo down as much as possible, and then selected a 5×7″ print size.
  • Find a fairly sunny window and tape the printed photo onto the glass. Tear off a comparable-sized sheet of freezer paper and tape it on top of the photo in the window, shiny side down (you’ll be drawing on the dull side). Make sure to tape it down flat, or your freezer paper will move around, and you’ll end up with a very funky silhouette! Use a pen (or pencil, if you’re more comfortable) to trace your child’s silhouette. Take your time to make sure you get it right. Trust me, you want to be slow and steady for this job! Here’s what my children’s silhouette’s looked like, after tracing:

  • Now, you’ll need to use your X-Acto knife to cut out the silhouettes. Place the freezer paper on your old magazine or cardboard now, because you X-Acto knives are very sharp and will cut through the table underneath! When cutting, pay extra attention to detail and, once again go slowly! If you have any spots (between arms or fingers, especially) that will need to remain the same color as the T-Shirt, don’t forget to save them! For example, look at the left side of my children’s silhouettes. See that little space between my daughter’s side and her arm? I saved the small piece of freezer paper I cut out there, because the silhouette wouldn’t look as good without it.
  • Once you’ve cut out the silhouette, it’s time to adhere your stencil to your shirt. Place the shirt on a flat, heatproof surface. Plug in your iron and smooth out any wrinkles. Now, place the stencil in wherever you want it. Make sure to place the stencil shiny side down, or it will stick to the iron instead of your shirt! Once your stencil is situated, it’s time to iron it, which will cause it to stick to the shirt. Make sure you get all the edges. I’ve found that about 20-30 seconds is usually enough ironing. If you have any small pieces of freezer paper saved (such as the space between my daughter’s arm and her side), place them on now (shiny side down) and iron until they stick.
  • Next, tear off another sheet of freezer paper that’s slightly larger than the stencil. Place this new sheet inside the shirt, shiny side up. This will keep the paint from running through onto the back of your shirt. Now, iron the shirt once again, so the two freezer paper layers will stick in place.
  • Paint a thin layer of your chosen paint over the stencil. Use just enough to get an even layer. Too much paint will result in a sloppy-looking stencil. Here’s what my stencil looked like, after painting:

  • Wait several hours (over night is best!) before peeling the stencil off. This may be the hardest part, but it’s worth it! Removing the stencil before the paint is totally dry might ruin the whole thing!
  • After several hours (or over night), peel the freezer paper off. Tweezers are helpful to remove small pieces. If your paint has any special instructions (iron to set, etc.), now would be time to follow those instructions. Here’s what my finished stencil looked like:

  • Enjoy your unique keepsake T-shirt. I really feel that mine is priceless. I’m going to wear it all the time, even when my kids are teenagers and are mortified!! Here’s another look at my finished T-shirt:

 If you’d like to share your how-to knowledge and have a chance to win a $30 Amazon gift card, check out the Group Writing Project, hosted by An Island Life.

The Essential Guide to a Whole New Way to SewRecently, I bought Bend the Rules Sewing  (Potter Craft, 2007) by Amy Karol, and I’m in love! I plan to make quite a few of the projects in this great book! If you’re a beginning or intermediate sewer, I strongly recommend this book! Even if you’re an old pro, it might be worth taking a look at because there are some really cool and cute projects in here!

 

This week, I embarked on my first really big sewing project since high school! I made the Pleated Beauty Handbag from Bend the Rules Sewing. I’m really happy with the way it turned out, but now that it’s done I realize how big it is! Since I haven’t carried a purse in ages, and I no longer need a diaper bag, I don’t have enough stuff to fill it up! I guess I’ll have to make another bag.  Darn! (he he he)  ;)

I just finished a project that is my favorite thing I’ve ever made! It has huge sentimental value, as well as making my little artist feel important, and capturing a snapshot of this point of his develompent and creative journey. I got this idea from The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule, and even though I had never embroidered before, I simply HAD to try it! I love this book so much! Here’s the drawing that inspired the project (my son calls it a Day and Night Beast. Notice the sun and moon-shaped eyes!):

I taped the drawing onto my window and lightly traced it onto some muslin. SouleMama reccomends linen, but it’s so DARN expensive! I embroidered my interpretation of his drawing onto the muslin, and then I had him write the title, his name, and June 2008, so we will always remember what he called it, and when he made it. Here’s the finished project:

See why I love it??

This week, I made a pillow for my stepdad’s birthday. It seems a little dorky, but it refers to an inside, family joke. If you’ve never made a simple pillow, why not try it? It’s super easy (I made my first pillow when I was about 5 years old!), and it can even be accomplished without a sewing machine. Here’ how:

  1. Cut out two pieces of fabric, the same size. Each piece will be one side of the finished pillow.
  2. If you would like your pillow to be more than plain fabric, now is the time to embellish it. I used a freezer paper stencil to spell the words on my pillow, and then I stitched around the edge of the stencil by hand, for a nice finishing touch. Make sure you embellish the side of the pillow that will face out (the right side).
  3. Put your two pieces of fabric together, with the right sides facing each other. Pin in place, so you won’t end up with a funky, misshapen pillow.
  4. Sew a straight stich with your sewing machine, about 1/2 inch around all the edges of the pillow, or sew by hand, using a regular hand stitch. IMPORTANT: DO NOT SEW ALL THE WAY AROUND THE PILLOW! Leave an opening about four inches wide, so that you can stuff the pillow!
  5. Turn the pillow right side out. Press to make the edges look really nice.
  6. Stuff your pillow with cotton batting. Make the pillow rather firm, as the stuffing will soften over time, and you don’t want to end up with a flat pillow!
  7. Sew the opening closed by hand.
  8. It’s that simple! Enjoy!

I had never heard of freezer paper stenciling until recently, when The Artful Parent mentioned it on her blog. I love a cool idea, so I was immediately drawn to this new project. In fact, I couldn’t wait to try it! I stocked up on paints, freezer paper, X-Acto blades, and blank T-shirts. Finally, I was ready to get to work!

 

I scoured the ‘Net for ideas for my stencils, and being a brave soul, was drawn to some fairly intricate designs. Now that I’ve finished several, I’m finally ready to share! I could offer a freezer paper stenciling tutorial, but there are already several great ones out there. Here’s my favorite tutorial.

Now, on to my finished stencils! Drumroll please….

Here’s the first stencil I did. See how the paint squished around in a couple of spots? That was before I learned that LESS paint is MORE when it comes to freezer paper stencils:

After that, I made this nifty monster truck for my son:

Then, I got a bit more ambitious and made this madonna print for myself (I LOVE this one!):

Then, I got WAY more ambitious, and made this rockin’ dragon fighting a tiger for my son:

That project was very tedious, so I went back to a simpler design for my daughter’s unicorn shirt:

Finally, my favorite stencil yet! This whimsical little family features two different paint colors and took quite a bit of time to accomplish, but I love it:

 

What do you think? If you have any freezer paper stencil photos to share, I’d love to see them!

 

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