Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A monster for charity: stuffed monster tutorial

Hello again everyone!

I was really honored when the Spina Bifida Association of Eastern New York contacted me after seeing a cute stuffed monster in my etsy store, and asked if I would donate one for their upcoming auction to raise money for Spina Bifida research. Of course I said yes! I made one especially for them, and I wanted to share how I did it.

First, I made a pattern on some newspaper by just drawing it on and trying to eyeball it to get it even enough. As you can see, I made many revisions. :) 

Then I cut out the patten-monster...

...and pinned it on my fabric of choice. What I love about this project is that any fabric can do, really, so it is an excellent stash-buster project!

I cut out two of these, one for each side of the monster.

I chose the colors of felt that I wanted to use to make the eyes, belly and tooth, and I cut those out. 

I set everything on the monster, to see if it looked good, and it did. I changed the orientation of the little belly, though. It looked better vertically-oriented.

Then I sewed everything on by hand. It is a little bit of work, but I like watching TV, and I like to be doing something productive while I do it, so it really works out well. I used separated cross-stitching thread (again, stash-busting!).

I made a little bellybutton by making an X. :)

I didn't picture this, but I placed the right sides of both monster-pieces in, pinned them together, and sewed them together, leaving a hole at the top to stuff.

I stuffed him and sewed his head closed! Voila. Stuffed monster.

I will totally be making these for our future children, btw.

I also made one for Desiree's son in March's Cara Box exchange (see Wifessionals for details).

Although I do a lot of volunteering my time, I have never made anything that would be in a charity auction before! I am pretty nervous. I hope they like it!

Have you ever made something for a charity auction? Have you ever made a stuffed toy? Feel free to leave any tutorials or posts as a link in the comments! I would love to see them. :)

Friday, August 23, 2013

The skirt had potential... a frumpy-to-fabulous refashion!

While digging around at the Fort Gordon thrift store, I found a very large skirt, the pattern of which I thought had a lot of potential.

I could just see it: tights, booties, a short hemline, and those beeeeeeautiful fall colors.

It was huge, though. And long, and frumpy.

This picture doesn't really capture the frumpiness... especially when it is sitting next to that VERY frumpy dirty rug. :)

I pinned the sides so the skirt would fit me. I wanted it to come to my natural waist, so that is where I pinned it. After pinning it and being sure I got it right, I sewed it. Note that I do not care what color thread I use (because I am too lazy to rethread and change the bobbin!), especially if no one is going to see it!

I then cut the pockets out (I usually like pockets, they were just in the wrong spot after pinning and sewing, so I eliminated them), and THEN Fatty sat on my project.

He hates when Fatty gets all the attention.

I turned the skirt inside-out and cut off all of the excess. But I still had to do something about that length...

So I tried it on to figure out how short I wanted it to be, I decided, and then I cut off the excess fabric, leaving about an inch and a half to two inches to create the hem with. I like a lot of fabric to work with. You can always cut more off, but you cannot add length easily. I make a lot of mistakes, so I like to give myself a lot of room. :)

 I actually left this back-tie thing that was originally on the skirt, because I LOVE bows. I think it is super cute!

Now, even though it is still summer, I put on some tights and some booties, and a $4 Walmart white tank top, grabbed a sweater and headed out the door with M to go to Trivia at a cute local dive bar! Of course, not before giving the babies hugs and kisses (don't mind the mess, and the fact that the garbage can has to stay on the counter while we're gone or Clyde helps himself to a trash buffet)!

Here is me with my beautiful friend Ariel at trivia! We won third place (with no help from me, I am TERRIBLE at trivia)!

Have you ever run across a piece of clothing that you loved MOST things about? Did you buy it and change it, or did you leave it? Have a favorite refashion? I would love to hear about it. :)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

WTF Wednesday!

Bad Luck Jenn - WTF Linkup

A link up!
Brought to you by Bad Luck Jenn & Petite Ramblings

Say hello to our co-host this week, Emily from Em-Provising!

1. Follow Bad Luck Jenn & Petite Ramblings

2. Follow our co-host Emily

3. Write a post about ANYTHING that makes you go WTF 
4. Grab our snazzy button & link to us in your post
5. Enter your link below & read some other WTF stories!!

I am so proud to say that I am this week's co-host for WTF Wednesday! Yay!! My WTF story isn't terribly long, but it definitely deserved a "WTF?!?!".

M and I live in a subdivision that, for some reason, attracts quite a few solicitors. For a while, we were answering the door about once a week to a solicitor. It infuriates both of us sooo much!

One day, the doorbell rings, and of course, the dog goes CRAZY. He is really big, really protective, and really hard to control when he is concerned about protecting his house. After wrangling Clyde, I peeped out the door to see who it was and was not surprised to see a creepy, unmarked, pervert van parked in my driveway and a man with no uniform just standing idly on my porch, holding a 2-liter of Coke. So I opened the door and went outside to see what he wanted.

"OMG! Why would you do that?", you ask.

WELL... because M got up from what he was doing and came outside too.

The scraggly man's request, which we heard upon walking outside, was not outside of what was expected from your run-of-the-mill solicitor: I am with a carpet cleaning company, and we will do a whole room of your house for FREE to show you how well we clean carpets (of course he was not this well-spoken).

...And then he said: Here is a free 2-liter of Coke for you. He hands me the Coke, and not wanting to be rude, I took it. What do you do when someone hands you a 2-liter??

But we did not want our carpet cleaned. Holding the newly-gifted 2-liter, M and I politely refused the carpet cleaning and told the man that we were not interested.

"Oh..." he said, "Then I am gonna need that 2-liter back", and he grabbed it out of my hands and walked back to his pervert-van, got in, and drove off.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My project challenge: 14 before 2014 (the rest)

Well, I have finished my list. I am so excited to get started on my 14 projects before the end of the year! This post includes the rest of my list. My previous post contained the first six activities, and here are numbers 7-14:

7. Bottle cap project
I kept this one vague because I have found so many cute things to do with all of Michael's beer bottle caps I have kept. He loves to drink IPAs and other beers that come from breweries who do awesome art on their boxes, bottles and caps (like Mad Hatter, Bell's, or Founders), and I like to keep the boxes and bottle caps. I have found a few really cool bottle cap ideas, and I would like to do something for Michael's office with these bottle caps.

Here is a link to a list of cool bottle cap projects. I will pick one... eventually.

8. Purge the house of things we do not need & get organized
This will be an ongoing project. I hope to have it done by the time I graduate in December, because M and I hope to move when I can find a job. Since I cannot post a link about this, I will just tell you why this takes so long for me: instead of just gathering up everything that is taking up space in our house, I gather it up and put it on eBay, or the online yard sales Facebook group where we live. Instead of just getting rid of things, we are making money off of the things that we can make money off of. The other stuff I donate to the local food/clothes bank that just gives it away to people who need it. We are both really excited to get on this.

9. Frame the honeymoon coasters
That is a weird title. Let me explain it. We just got back from our honeymoon, and we went to Germany. As I will mention again, M loves beer. You know how you will go somewhere that serves beer and they will have those cardboard/paper coasters with a beer's logo on it, and maybe some other information as well as maybe a cool picture? Well, in Germany we pretty much picked as many of those up as we could from different places, and I walked in to my parents' guest room (we are staying with them for a few days in Grand Haven, MI, where I am from, before driving back to our house in Georgia. My parents were nice enough to watch the dog for us while we were gone), and M was arranging them in a pattern he liked. He said, "I would love to do something like this and put it on the wall of my office". So we will. :)

10. SAVE for a new TV.
I know this "project" isn't crafty at all. However, since we are trying to consolidate our stuff and open the house up a little bit more, we would like to sell the old, huge, boxy TV that I have had for almost ten years now (and that has moved with me everywhere I have gone!) and get a new flat-screen for our living room, moving the one that is in the living room to our bedroom. We like wall-mounting, and that boxy TV is taking up a lot of space on our dresser. Time for a change! By selling everything we do not want or need that is still in good shape on eBay or an online yard sales site, we have been able to get a good start!

11. Tee-shirt placemats
This is a project I have done in the past. I took several very odd tee-shirts I found at Goodwill, cut them up, sewed them together, and made placemats. Why am I doing it again, then? The ones we have now have been so well-loved that they will need to be replaced soon! I will post a tutorial as soon as I do this. We only have four right now anyway, and the last time we had people at the house, there were not enough! I love this idea, and I had so much fun with the project before. Plus the logos and print on the shirts that I have found are so odd that they are great conversation pieces! Four more, before 2014!

12. Make the perfect soft pretzel
I have always loved soft pretzels, especially when they include some sort of cheese to dip them in, but since we have come home from Germany, I have found myself absolutely craving them! I love the salt, I love the taste, I love everything about them! They are amazing. M loves them too! The problem is, last time I tried to make them, they were kind of a disaster. The boiling process is where things got weird. I am absolutely determined to get this right. Since I cook all the time, I did not want to make more than one of my "before 2014" goals about cooking. It would be too easy. :)

Perfecting the pretzel, however, will not be easy. Those who know me would say that I hate failing at anything I try. What a challenge!

Now I cannot find the recipe I used telling me to boil the pretzels in baking soda water for a few minutes, but here is the next recipe I will be trying. Maybe just dipping the pretzel in the baking soda water will be easier for me. :)

13. Trivets
In our house, we use potholders. Now that we have this amazing, blonde wood, Heywood Wakefield style dining set that was my grandparents' from the 50s, those will no longer do. I have found some amazing ideas for trivets, and I cannot decide which one(s) I would like to make! This one takes the cake! If I can find some stove top guard things (what are they called?!?!?!), I will be making this. Otherwise, I will be using corks, or maybe something else that I have not decided yet!

14. "Home" art
I have seen a lot of cute tutorials for art projects displaying a person's love for their home town and state. I love all of them. M and I are both "displaced". He is from Rio Rancho, NM, and I am from Grand Haven, MI. We love our home towns and states, and would love to have some art representing that hanging in our house.

Here is a really cute one done with paint and canvases. I like the "places we have lived" idea too!
This one is my favorite, though. We have some boards, nails and string around here that could definitely stand to be used up. I love projects that are both awesome and stashbusters!!

I had better go get started on these awesome projects! Do you have a list of things that you absolutely want to get done by the new year? I would love to hear about them!