Thursday, August 23, 2012

She Loves Her Lunchbox . . . AGAIN!

Well, after some head-scratchin' and note-jottin', I came up with some schematics for Little Miss' new school lunch box.  It was sad to have to put my first attempt aside, but as soon as the fabric for the new box was picked I was all in for Round 2.

She Loves Her Lunchbox

Now, I want you to know that Little Miss DID pick this fabric.  I took her on a little trip to JoAnn, and we walked the aisles together oohing and ahhing over the offerings.  (It's not typically my favorite store to purchase fabric from, but I had a coupon and laminated fabrics were on sale . . . it happens.)    She did loiter over a few prints that I reeeeeally didn't like too much - - I encouraged her to keep her eyes open for different possibilities (I was extremely hopeful that we wouldn't end up with character fabric.  In my mind, in that case I might as well just buy a lunch box off the shelf, right?  I can't even count the ways that I despise Dora.  And don't get me started on the whole princess thing!)
Folklorico Lunch Box Front

So we were both OVER THE MOON when we stumbled on Alexander Henry's Folklorico La Paloma.  Can you believe it?  In there amongst the fake camo fabric?  Talk about about a diamond in the rough.  The bright colors, the flowers, the hearts (and yes - - the birds), thrilled the heart of my soon-to-be-kindergartner while I let out a sigh of relief at her choice.   ;)
Folklorico Lunch Box

Getting some decent laminated cotton was a bit more challenging . . . I could only find 2 choices, neither of which were going to gel with our festive Folklorico.  I finally found an employee who directed me to a back endcap where there were a few more pre-cut choices.  I picked a fun little floral print (though, to be honest, I would have picked something a bit more toned down if it had been there since the outside is already so busy.)  None of the nuances of busy and calm seemed to trip up my little girl though . . . she was immediately on board with more bright flowers for the inside.  "Perfect!" she exclaimed as we added it to the cart.  (For those wondering, the laminated cotton is made by The Land of Whimzie, it's sold as a 1 yard piece [36"x42"], and it's PVC and phthalate free).
Folklorico Lunch Box Inside

I still used the Love Your Lunchbox pattern from Gingercake, as I did before, but I made the base a bit deeper and a scoche wider.  I'm pretty satisfied with the end product.  If/when I make this again for Kee-ku I will probably lengthen the strap a bit and make the flap just a bit longer.
Folklorico Lunch Box Side View

But, hooray!  It holds her little lunchkeeper, her little water bottle, and still has enough room for a banana or a cup of yogurt.  Actually . . . both.  :)
Reusable Ice Packs

For good measure I made a few little ice packs that I could tuck around her food to keep it cold.  Anyone else have these Enfamil cold packs from the hospital that they never use?  My kids have never been bottle drinkers, but I've kept them thinking I could use them for something someday.  I guess that day has come.

So happy to be able to check this one off the list.  AGAIN.

Next up . . . the backpack!

Linking up with some fun parties this week RIGHT HERE.
August Finishes


Sunday, August 19, 2012

How to Make a Flower Canopy

Flower Canopy Header

Although these are very cute, this whole thing started with Little Miss . . . and her fear of the finials on her curtain rods.

Don't ask. I have no idea what she finds so sinister about them. Then again, I was probably scared of even simpler things in the dark when I was her age.

Anyway, so she was scared of the finials at night and since taking down her curtains wasn't an option (her room gets the full sun in the morning, and I don't need her waking up any earlier than she already does), I set about to give her a little hideaway so she wouldn't have to see them while she was laying in bed.

I pinned this image of a delightful bedroom awhile back which gave me the initial inspiration:

I tracked down those rose canopies . . . they are from Pottery Barn Kids and they are $99!  Well, I want to comfort my little scaredy cat as much as the next mom, but not for a hundred bucks.  Even as I pinned it, I did so adding the description of "maybe I could DIY something similar to this . . ."

As it happened, Mr. Skooks and I had recently bought a new lampshade for our living room lamp.  We were on a *zazz it up* kick and after hitting up the tired old base with some teal spray paint we upgraded the shade on there as well.  It was really dingy and the shape of it didn't help to illuminate the room as well as I would have liked.  One larger (and cleaner) drum shade later and I had an old lampshade at my disposal.

Want to make your own flower canopy?  Here's what you're going to need:
Step 1

  • Old lampshade - one that gets narrower towards the top is best (thinking if you don't have any around your house, you could probably score one at the thrift store pretty easily) - if it's cracked or stained this will not matter at all, it will all get covered up by the end!
  • Glue Gun - or some other kind of glue that can adhere fabric to your shade
  • Green Felt for the leaves/stem (I actually splurged a wee bit and got a wool blend felt for this part because the regular felt colors were way too shocking and bright - this one had a nice "grassy" variation in it to tone down the pink) - I got a 1/2 yard of this which was 36" wide
  • Pink Felt (or whatever color you want your flower to be) - I bought this off the bolt . . . I want to say it is 60" wide and I bought 1/3 yard which is just about the perfect amount if you are only doing one layer of petals.  Originally I was planning on doing 2 layers of petals, but after I did the first round and realized I didn't have enough felt left to do another layer I just went forward.  If I was doing it again, I would buy a bit more felt to make some more petals.
  • Cording - you'll need to measure your space and decide how low you want your canopy to hang.  I didn't measure mine, but I think that I had 3 pieces that were about a yard each.  Keep in mind, I was going to hang these over a small bunk bed (Kura from Ikea).  These were in the stash.
  • Large Paperclip
  • Fabric for the canopy - Remember when I said I used the chunk of fabric that I cut off the bottom of my sewing room curtains?  This is where I used it!  Once again, I didn't measure it . . . I feel this is one of those areas where you need to decide how much coverage you want and if you want that gauze-y ethereal look or if you want to just use-what-you-got like I did and sub in some fabric you already have on hand.  In my case you're looking at a Full size flat sheet that I lopped  a piece off width-wise and then cut in half length-wise.  I didn't need it super long because, as I said, I was going to hang it over a bunk bed, but you will definitely want to measure your space and add length as needed.  If you want it to look more like my inspiration photo pick up some soft tulle.
  • Ceiling Hook - we had one in the basement we weren't using . . . yes!
Step 2
This first step is purely optional, but Little Miss and I thought it might be fun to put some glow in the dark stickers on the inside of the lampshade just for fun.  :)
Step 3

I didn't take a picture of the step right before this, but first you need to hem 3 sides of your canopy fabric.  Since I was using the bottom of a bed sheet, one side was already done.  Here's the part of the story where I tell you I was so lazy about not wanting to iron the sides under twice to stitch a hem that I used a package of white double fold bias tape to cover the raw edges.  It was sitting in my stash, and I have no idea what I was ever going to use it for, so there you have it.  Anyway, AFTER you hem your pieces, you need to glue them around your shade.  I started at the seam on the back.
Step 4
You can see here that I'm attaching the non-finished edge.  Once again, this will be covered up so it does not matter that it is unfinished.
Step 5

This is what it should look like when you've put both pieces on.  If your pieces leave a small opening in the front it's fine.  If they overlap, that's fine too.  I was really kind of letting the materials I had in front of me dictate the final product, you can likewise improvise with what you have.  :)
Step 6
At this point I cut out enough petals to go all the way around my shade.  I don't have any template, but this step required so little brain power I'm sure you can figure it out.  Just pick a shape you like.  Round your petals if you want, or point them a bit more like I did.  In case you haven't caught the drift this project is very adaptable to your whims.  I want to estimate that my petals were about 6 inches or so wide, and they were 3 inches or so  longer than my shade.  A lot will depend on the look you are going for and the size of your lampshade.

I toyed with a couple different petal placement options.  I started with the idea to just overlap one over the next until I had gone all the way around (as in the PB version).  But I didn't like it as well as what I ended up doing, which was to put one next to the other leaving gaps in between and then adding a layer over top of those two.  (If you look at my finished project I think you can figure out what I mean even if my explanation isn't the best.  I hope, anyway!)

Step 7

Then find a big bowl:
Step 8
and trace around it on your green felt.  Again, your size is going to be big enough to lay over the top of your lampshade and hang down as low as you want your leaves.  Cut this piece out.
Step 9
At this point I laid my cutout circle over the top opening of my shade and used a very quickly cut out paper template (haha - can you tell?) to guide me on the cutting of my leaves.  You want to stop cutting a half inch or so below the opening so you can glue this piece down later.
Step 10

Work your way around until you've got all the leaves cut out.  (It was at this point Little Miss declared it a strawberry.  Modify your leaves to whatever shape you like the best.)
Step 11
Pierce the center of the leafy section with some very sharp scissors and cut a small hole.  This is where your stem piece is going to go through and it does NOT need to be as large as you think.  Squishing it through a smaller hole is going to suit it just fine and will look better in my opinion than making a large hole.
Step 12

Set your leaf piece aside.  Reach into the shade and attach your cording.  I tied 3 pieces around the ring at equal intervals so that my shade would hang straight when I was done.
Step 13
Braid these 3 strands together to form a single chain.  It does not have to be perfect, but this will help stabilize it.
Step 14

Tie a knot at the end of your braid.  Slip the paperclip through it.
Step 15

Cut a length of your green felt for the stem.  I didn't over-analyze this step, but my piece was probably about 4 inches wide and a yard long.  Adjust depending on how low you want your canopy to hang.  Then just fold it in half (to make a 2"x36" piece) and sew a line down towards the edge to close it up.  As you can sort of see from my terrible photo (can you tell that the day was wearing on as I finished this up and all the natural light was gone?) I didn't even bother to switch my thread from white to green.  You can, but I figured it wasn't worth it and no one would really see it anyway.  I think I am mostly right about that.

Now you'll want to feed the stem piece through the hole in the leafy piece.  Take your paperclip and feed it through the stem.  This will take a little bit of work, but it's not too hard and having the paperclip in there will help you guide it through with a bit more ease.  Work it through til it comes all the way through and out the top.  It should be a bit scrunchy if you made your felt piece longer than your cording.  I like that look, but adjust if you want it to be a straight piece.
Step 16

The last step is to glue down your leaf piece to the top edge of your shade:
Step 17

Attach your hook to the ceiling, slip the paperclip into the hook, scooch your stem piece up over the hook and you're all done!
Flower Canopy - Finished

Cute, fun, and keeps the scary finials out of sight.  ;)

If you end up making one, I would love to see it!  Leave me a comment or add a picture to my Flickr group if you wish.

Happy making!

Linking up with some fun parties this week RIGHT HERE
August Finishes

Some fantastic sites have featured this post!  Thank you to all of you who have pinned this post as well as to these lovely people who gave me some bloggy shoutouts!


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Breezy Patchwork Curtain

One thing about the new sewing room . . . for the first time I have a whole closet to myself to store the overflow.  It's a wonderful thing.  While I've done my best to organize all of the stuff in there, I still wanted a way to close it off to quiet the space down a bit when I'm not actively working in there.  There's a lot of busyness around the room in general (which I really enjoy actually as it gets my wheels turning), but the innards of this closet are not particularly lovely and I really don't have the time or money to paint the whole thing out and purchase swanky organizers.

Hence, the curtain.

Sewing Room Closet Curtain

In keeping with the use-what-you-got theme I've been rocking out lately, I pulled this gem out of hiding:
Full Flat Sheet

I acquired it a long time ago, from someone who clearly acquired it a long time before that.
Old Skool

I don't know if this qualifies as vintage technically, but it ain't new.  (I just looked up Montgomery Ward on Wikipedia and apparently it filed for bankruptcy in 1997 and officially shut down in 2000.)  Anyway, I would have opened up this bad boy and used it on an actual bed at some point, but I haven't had a full size mattress since I got this sheet so it's been sitting in a box for quite some time.  (Apparently I knew I would use it at some point . . . for something.  Yes . . . that's it.)

The great part about this is that a full size sheet is the perfect size for a closet opening.  A bit long and needed to be hemmed, but otherwise spot on perfect size.  (The first thought I had was a shower curtain which would have fit perfectly as well.  Of course . . . I didn't have one of those lying around.)
Back Wall - Pop Garden Curtain

Since I had already held my breath and cut into my Pop Garden stash to make my sewing machine cover, serger cover and my ironing board cover (my I *do* seem  to like to cover things, don't I?), I decided to keep on with it and carry some of that loveliness into this piece.  I found this old post over at JCasa and used it as my inspiration.  I wanted to have one continuous piece rather than 2 curtains so I modified the idea and put the patchwork across the top instead of down the sides.
Sewing Room Curtain - Detail 1

(As far as the patchwork goes, I just made up sizes on the blocks as I went along in the process based on the sizes of fabric pieces I had.  I think I started with 4" strips and modified from there.)
Sewing Room Curtain - Detail 2

Stay tuned . . . I made something for Little Miss with the chunk of fabric I cut off the bottom of the sheet.  Something that made her squeal with delight as she dubbed me THE BEST MOM OF ALL TIMES.  ;)

On a side note: I'm linking this post up with Kelly's My Precious QAL (which does not have to be quilt-y as such, but does need to be a project which uses up some fabric from the "too precious to ever cut into" pile).


August Finishes


Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Serger Cover Mashup

In celebration of my sewing room *finally* coming together the way I want it (nope - -still not done . . . but getting closer every day!), I decided it was time to tackle another project on my Summer Sewing To-Do List.  Say hello to my new serger cover:

Serger Cover 2

Not having a proper pattern the way I did for my sewing machine, I set out the other day to find some bit of inspiration and guidance on how best to tackle a cover for the serger.  My original plan was to recreate the Bloom Sewing Machine Cover pattern on a smaller scale so that the two covers would "go".  BUT after looking at the dimensions of my serger and how much linen I had leftover from my previous project, I decided to just use what I had and make up my own inspired-by-but-different-than-Bloom serger cover pattern.


I did get some good tips and a nice starting point for tackling the unique shape of a serger from Created by CJ who was kindly enough to share a very good tutorial on how to cover a Bernina 1300MDC:

I did not follow her instructions exactly . . . I don't have the same kind of serger as she does (and I was going for a different look), so some modification was in order.  I did, however, find the bones of the construction process helpful so a big kiss to CJ and her trailblazing tute.  (For those of you who might want to try this project, I have a Brother 1034D - - they seem fairly popular for the somewhat budget-wise sergers out there.) 

The first thing I set out to do was to create a pattern for the side pieces . . . I wanted that serger shape rather than just a piece of fabric flopped over the top.  I took my odd piece of linen fabric and managed to squeeze 2 pieces out of it for the side pieces.  Here are the dimensions I used (clearly this is not to scale):
Next up, I wanted to capture the same feel of the sewing machine cover so I changed up the "stitch" to "serge" (not too hard . . . all of the letters in stitch can be either traced or easily modified to come up with the letters in serge - - I used a window to trace and keep the size of the font the same as it was on the other cover).  I  only had a few odd sizes of linen left so I took the biggest one I had and cut it down just a bit so it would be the width I needed for the front of the cover.  This piece ended up being 7"x14".
Serge Panel

Next up, I struggled over which print from my precious Pop Garden stash to use for the rest of the cover.  Seriously . . . this part probably took the longest!  In the end I went with Paisley in Ivory.  :)  It was hard to finally cut into it, but I'm glad I did!  I used a fat quarter piece (I told you it's precious . . . there are only a few pieces from this collection that I have 1/2 yards of . . . the rest are fat quarter chunks!) so I kept the long side as long as it was and cut the short side down to match the embroidery panel width-wise.  At this point I laid it over my serger to see if it was going to be long enough once everything was all hemmed up.  It wasn't.  :P

So I added a little squinch from the Bijoux line - - Swirly Buds in Yellow.  In case you forgot, I added a squinch of that print to the back of my sewing machine cover as well:
Top Detail

From there I sewed the 3 pieces together and embroidered and embellished the linen piece with some measuring twill tape and some crochet trim that I had left over from the sewing machine cover project.  I raked through the button drawer to see if I could come up with some buttons that might work somewhere on this (nod to the Bloom pattern), but in the end I thought it was just too much so I left them out.
Serger Panel

From this point on, the construction is pretty similar to the tutorial from CJ.  The only notable difference is that I added some piping to the edges in homage to the Bloom cover.
Adding Piping

I didn't end up adding a lining because I used fusible fleece and some interfacing to give the whole thing more structure and the inside doesn't look too bad.  I just finished the bottom by giving it a little hem.
Serger Cover

Well . . . that's that.  I really hope someone stumbles on this someday and finds it helpful.  It took some digging to find a serger cover pattern that wasn't too fussy (I don't need pockets or a handle), but wasn't too simple either (a la a piece of fabric draped over the top and tied on the sides).  To be honest, if Bloom had published a serger pattern, I would have purchased it!  In the end, though, I'm glad I puzzled through it this way because now I've got a pair of covers that give me a grin whenever I enter my sewing room.  :)
Bloom Stitch Sewing Machine Cover
My Bloom Stitch Sewing Machine Cover

On a side note: I'm linking this post up with Kelly's My Precious QAL (which does not have to be quilt-y as such, but does need to be a project which uses up some fabric from the "too precious to ever cut into" pile).
Additionally, I'll be linking up with some fun parties RIGHT HERE.

August Finishes

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