Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ms. G and the Valentine's day skirt

Little Ms. G comes to me every Sunday with so many sewing ideas and projects in her pretty little head. There's some BIG ambition in that tiny package that is Ms. G. I offered my girls a private lesson later on, so I could devote the full two hours to Ms. G. They didn't get their feelings hurt. The little time we spend at home on Sundays are their relaxing and video game time. So while they were having a Donkey Kong marathon in the other room, Ms. G and I had the sewing machine all to ourselves.
I've been somewhat busy planning a baby shower for my sister and neglected to think out a proper sewing lesson for this week. But when I was looking through my fabric closet for baby shower linens, I found some red cotton fabric I had left over from a party I did a year ago. Valentine's Day is coming up, and I wondered if we could put it to use. Well, since "skirt" was on Ms. G's list of things to make, I asked her if she already had an outfit for Valentine's Day, when she said she didn't, we agreed a Valentine's skirt was a great idea for this weeks project.
So, a remnant piece of red fabric and a couple of coordinating scraps later-

oh, and a whole lotta wonderful STRAIGHT lines later-

on the BIG sewing machine no less-

Voila! We have a cute little Valentine's Day skirt!

Add some tights and a white shirt and she'll be Valentine chic!

Good job Ms. G. I'm very proud of how well you are doing!

Monday, January 17, 2011

2nd sewing lesson and Snuggies

Yesterday was the second sewing lesson for Ms. G. I'm quite impressed with how well she is catching on. It helps that she is not too intimidated and is very willing to jump right in and try new things.
She arrived at my house with two yards of fabric and a request to make PJ pants. She even had her mom wash the fabric ahead of time, just like she was supposed to! (Wish my kids listened as good as she does!)
Sewing PJ pants was the perfect opportunity to introduce her to patterns. We went through some of the basic pattern instructions and what some of the symbols meant and how to read, cut, and pin the pattern.

After showing her how to fold her fabric and place the pattern, I pretty much just let her pin and cut it herself.

She's got quite the attention span for an eight year old and I was sure to commend her for it.
Because I wanted to make sure the stitch was nice and tight and would last more than a few washings, I decided to let her use the big machine. She was a little intimidated at first, but after a couple trial runs on some scrap fabric, she was confident enough to sew the actual PJs.
I didn't get a picture of her on the big machine (sorry Ms. G's mom) because I didn't want to leave her on the bigger, faster machine unsupervised.

Perfect fit!
I promised that since we had enough fabric left over, next week we'll make some matching PJ's for her baby doll!

Another easy to sew project that I made for Christmas presents are Snuggies. I don't know what my kids' obsession with these things are all about. They haven't watched regular TV in ages, so I can't blame the commercials. They did, however see the "As seen on TV" aisle at Wal-mart where they stock all the weird infomercial items you see on late night television. There between the Pillow Pets and the Pedi-Eggs were the slim selection of Snuggies available only in their signature color of Royal Blue. Twenty bucks for an ugly piece of fleece with arm holes?! It wasn't even anti-pill fleece!
I tried discouraging them by pointing out all the flaws the Snuggies had, but it didn't stop them from adding them to their Christmas lists.
A few weeks later when I made my JoAnn's list I added some yards of fleece and prepared myself to create a Snuggie pattern from scratch. To my surprise, I found a pattern at JoAnn's!
I also lucked out and got the fleece for 40% off- good day all around!

If your kids beg you for one of these silly things, I recommend making one yourself. Not only will they look cuter, but I'm pretty sure they'll last longer too!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sewing lesson and hair stuff

This week I decided to set aside a few hours of my weekend to teach my girls and our good friend Ms. G the basics of sewing. Ms. G received a little sewing machine about a year ago and has been dying to try it out.
(How cute is this little machine?!)

Before Christmas, her mom and I talked about trading some sewing lessons for some art lessons. G's mom is an awesome artist and has taught a few classes for kids over the summer. So I will be teaching Ms. G some sewing hopefully once a week, and in turn, her mother will be teaching my girls an art lesson once a week. (I got a great deal huh!?)
I started teaching my oldest daughter a few weeks before Christmas. I helped her make some gifts and she seemed to enjoy it so much, I ended up buying her a Singer Simple machine for Christmas. Today she worked on some burp cloths for her Aunt's upcoming baby shower while I started the other girls on their first projects.

I had to get a picture of her crazy pin cushion!

We decided that hair scrunchies would be a good starter project and they were a great way to use up some of the oodles of scrap fabric I have stashed everywhere.
Each girl picked three pieces of fabric from the scrap bin and learned how to iron them.

Then they had to measure and cut them before learning how to pin them for sewing.

Pinning took quite a bit of time and concentration.

Of coarse, some of us "talkers" took an extra long time.

Before we finally started getting down to the pinning business.

I had to call in reinforcements to help with the pinning because it seemed like the hardest part!

Finally, we were sewing!

(I promise I am NOT into child slave labor, it only looks like a sweat shop.)

These are basically 15-17 inch by 3-4 inch pieces of fabric that you fold lengthwise, sewing a straight stitch 2 inches from the top to 2 inches from the bottom. You then turn them inside out and sew the two raw edges together leaving the front open to thread your elastic through. After securing your elastic by sewing elastic ends together, you fold in your last raw edge and top stitch it closed.
Here is a really good tutorial I found so you can see how it's done in case you're interested in making your own rockin' 80's style hair scrunchies!

Since we made hair stuff today, I figured it would be a good time to throw in some of the little hair clips I made for Christmas.

These are super easy to make. Just basic alligator clips or snap clips and some gathered ribbon. Top it off with a cute button or bead and voila!

Even cuter when you use other little findings like teddy bears.

Or dice!
(click picture to enlarge)

Head bands are fun too.

These twisty flowers are all the rage right now and so fun to make. My friend Anne and I have a whole bag of them we made one night while visiting. They are just waiting to be placed on a headband with some fancy feathers and beads.

I made many more but the girls were through with modeling for me today.

This Sunday sewing lesson is going to be great for all of us I think. Hopefully, this will be a great way to put some things away for birthday and Christmas gifts!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone *yawn*

I don't know about all of you out there, but we're beat around here. School starts back up tomorrow and I'm right there with the kids, wishing for even just one more day to relax or get something done around the house before I'm back to ultra busy mode. The weatherman says there is the possibility of snow tomorrow. Maybe we'll get a snow day! Then I would just have to stay home from work because the kids would all be home, and I could sleep in and...Oh, who am I kidding? If it actually ever snowed here in the desert, it would be the first time my kids have ever seen snow and they would have me dragged out there in the cold while they make snowmen and throw snowballs. Then they would start to cry because they are wet and freezing and they would then demand hot cocoa as they track in the mud and muck all over my floor...
Nevermind, I'll just go back to work thank you.

I have lots to show you in the ways of Christmas gift crafting, and I'm going to stretch it out as far as I can in hopes of keeping New Year's resolution #4 (update blogs once a week) alive and strong. It is rather nice to have a stockpile of newly handcrafted items to take pictures of for the blog. I shouldn't run out fun stuff for at least a few weeks!

Along with updating at least once a week, some of my more craftier resolutions for this year include learning how to knit, learning how to make (better) bread, learn how to make homemade pasta, plant a successful spring garden, teach my daughter how to sew, tackle the huge pile of things to be mended, pick up the paint brush again, finish my middle child's room re-do AND become a better photographer.

Sound ambitious? Don't let me fool you, I've spent the first two days of 2011 in my PJ's, walking the house in circles because I'm too tired (lazy) to do anything but I'm not quite sure how to just sit back and relax either.
Actually, it's not just me...

The girls are getting plenty of use out the PJ's and slippers I've sewed for them.

They are also wearing their Mario Beanies so they don't have to brush their hair.

When I asked to take their PJ picture, they had to run grab their stuffed animals so they could show off the matching PJ pants.

I wish I looked that cute in my PJ's...

How about you? Have you recouped from the Holidays yet? Do you have any resolutions, crafty or otherwise? What are your big plans for 2011?

I wish you all health, wealth, love, happiness and lots of creative inspiration this New Year!