Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hello, old friend.


It feels AMAZING to sew again.  To design, draft and actually sew a bag. . . and all the way to completion!  *sigh*  I didn't realize how much I've missed it.  It's been over a year since I had sewn a bag!  Crazy!


I made a ginormous duffel bag for my Oldest Monkey.  I used fabrics purchased from the thrift store, including these sturdy canvas fabrics for the exterior, a vintage table cloth for the zipper panel, and a vintage sheet for the interior lining.  I flat-lined the bag with new fleece for body.

My only regret is not getting a single decent photo of the finished duffel bag! It was whisked away on its journey a mere hour after being finished, so I only had this one awful photo, snapped with my awful phone, at the awful hour of 4 a.m.  I promise -- new, better photos will be taken upon return!

 a dozen pockets are on this baby! 

And I've missed you, too.  We've just trudged through three miserable weeks of summer colds, complete with coughs, mild fevers and some puking thrown in for extra fun.  The virus has finally released its nasty grip on our family, and moved on to torture someone else's sinus cavities.  Littlest Monkey took it the hardest, and developed a secondary respiratory infection.  He's feeling better, but still sounds a bit rattle-y.  I'm so glad to have my happy little guy back. . . .

 baby kisses are the best!

So I'll be seeing you again very soon.  Now that I'm not having to hold / rock / nurse my Littlest Monkey 24/7, my arms are free to do other things.  Like blog.  And sew.  :)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Thrifty Thursday: embroidery hoops

(artwork by my oldest daughter)

Is it Thursday already?!  This past week has been such a blur, but at the same time the longest week EVER.  Baby Monkey has been sick since last Friday and is thankfully, FINALLY, on the mend.  Days of rocking said fussy baby and nights of fitful sleep have left us both quite exhausted!  Now, two more Monkeys are ill, so I felt the above embroidery hoop art is appropriate. 

Oh, and last week's washing machine drama!  Let's just say that with some helpful YouTube videos (thanks, Appliance Parts Pros and partselect.com!), some timely advice and lots of sweat, my lovely daughter and I replaced the outer tub gasket and eventually dislodged a pencil and a stick from the water pump.  No more water flooding onto the floor!  No expensive parts replaced!  No costly repairman call!

the offending stick.

Yeah.  That felt pretty awesome.  (Note to self:  from now on, empty the boys' pockets before laundering.)

And now for our Thrifty Thursday post!

Embroidery hoops!  A very common, very inexpensive thrift store find.  And right now, a pretty hot crafting and decorating item!  I usually find them in bundles, and usually for about a buck.


 all sizes.  some wood, a few plastic or metal.  some old, some new.

 enormous hoops.  probably less "embroidery," and more "quilting,"  but I still like them.

While cruising around Pinterest, I was amazed at all of the unique and clever ways these are being used. . . way, waaaay beyond stretching your fabric while embroidering. . . .


There are SO many neat ideas (like these on Pinterest, or these 25 DIY projects from The New Home Ec,) that I'm only going to mention a couple of projects that I have used myself, or at least plan to do in the near future. 

Here's our hoop art wall. . . .


Our hoops contain pieces we've made ourselves, or received in craft swaps.  I love how it brightens our classroom!  I've seen many examples of decorating with hoops of fabric, lace, vintage linens. . . easy and endless possibilities.

I can't wait to make these wall pockets!

Pretty, useful, and great for using up little scraps of fabric.  I could see using these in my sewing room and in our classroom.

Clothes hamper.  Just... wow.  Three items and two minutes later, and you have a clothes hamper that stays open, hangs up, and is washable!

a 14" hoop, a vintage pillow case, and a little bit of ribbon
is all I used to make this hanging stay-open hamper.

First spied on Pinterest, and found at Martha Stewart, using a drawstring laundry bag and embroidery hoop . . . .


All of my kids now want one (and will get one) and I love how inexpensive, interchangable, and WASHABLE these are!

So I'm curious -- what is your favorite embroidery hoop project?  Is there a hoop project you plan to tackle soon?  Please share your favorite hoop project links below if you'd like!

See you soon. . .  I can't wait to show you my fabric hoard stash progress!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

One of those weeks

I'm sad to say there will be no Thrifty Thursday post today.  It has been a week, folks.  One of those weeks.  I've been handling this crazy baby. . . .


Majorly fussy.  Going through a Wonder Week, the wonderful 37 to be exact.  Nine kids later, and I finally learn the name of the clingy-cranky-fussy-crying-crazy phase that accompanies big mental leaps.  Did I mention he's not sleeping after 2 am?  Is there a fancy name for that?

And in 15-minute increments, I was doing this, which may have preserved my sanity during said Week 37. . . .

folding all the pretty fabrics!


after watching this. . . .


And once you're in, you're in deep.  You gotta finish.  You can't just quit.  Sooo, it looks like a tornado hit in here right now, but I know it will be worth it once I'm done.  I've found fabrics that I don't remember buying, and I've purged about a garbage bag-full of unwanted fabrics so far!  (I'll post a before and after pic, IF I ever finish.)

But tonight, I'm doing this. . . .


Washing machine repair.  I've been without my washer for 11 days.  Can you imagine (please don't) the laundry generated by 11 people for 11 days without a washing machine?  We have made a few stops at the laundromat, so at least the Monkeys are technically clothed, but it has not. been. fun.  I will also spare you the details of just trying to have a simple replacement part delivered to my home, which also took 11 days to get here, since it had to be shipped out twice.  And here I thought it would be easier for me to replace this one little part myself than to call a repairman.

Yeah... one of those weeks.

For the weekend (I am SO already there) I plan to gratefully fold laundry and blissfully fold fabric, while praying my littlest Monkey will move on from this cranky phase very VERY soon.  I miss my normal semi-chaotic life.  :)