Friday, February 29, 2008

A little bit productive

I managed to get a few things done today that I set out to accomplish. That always feels good... maybe because it's so rare!

I had a custom wallet order to make today for an amazing photographer, AriaImages. It was a lot of fun working with such a lovely print and for a sweet artist! Please check out her Etsy shop. Her prices are very reasonable, and the quality is top-notch. Check her out!

After I finished the custom wallet, I made a wallet for my shop:

I smashed my thumb while hammering the snap closures today. I couldn't find my heavy, "real" hammer, so instead, I used a weeny brad tack hammer (I don't know what they're really called.) Therefore, I thought I had to hammer extra-hard and fast to get the job done. Wrong. I just hit my thumb extra-hard and fast.

Even after that injury, I made a cute four-leaf clover pincushion, in honor of St. Patrick's Day!

It was fun to make, and also one of my earliest pincushion designs. I made my sweet sister one of these for Christmas a couple of years ago... her birthday is on St. Patrick's Day!

Tonight I'll be cutting out fabric for some more totes and zipper pouches. I also hope to work on some baby items. I'm participating in a Craftster swap, "Oh, Baby!" Preggo and Newborn Swap! I wanted to squeeeeze in a swap before the little one arrives. I haven't done one in quite awhile. I guess I got burned out (and flaked on,) so I took some time off from swaps. But I am so excited about this swap. This time, I get to craft for twin girls -- fun! I have many plans, have gathered up all the supplies, and am ready to go! I've come up with a sweet little item that I want to share on here soon. (Once I figure out how to post a tutorial with downloadable patterns, I'll pass it on to you!) Stay tuned!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Cherries, poppies, and birdies

I don't have much to post today... I managed to finish up another pincushion:
I've had the design for this poppy pouch in my head for a couple of months now, and I've finally pulled it out and made it into something tangible:

This one fits the SLIVR or L2 cell phone, or many of the ipod models.

This pouch is a little larger -- it's made to the iPhone or iTouch specs.

I want to someday redecorate my living room in a poppy theme.... so I'm probably just getting warmed up on the poppies.

An Etsy fabric purchase....

I recently ordered some adorable Bird Seed fabric from Etsy seller, EllieBleu. She's very reasonable, and shipped promptly. Isn't this cute??

My 3 year-old Monkey has already told me that the greenish bird fabric is for some pajama pants for him. Period. (Add that to the to-do list....)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Failed experiment, and two new pincushions

Well, I didn't post pics yesterday of the oh-so-exciting dye job because it failed. Both times. (I warned you that I did't know what I was doing when it came to dyeing.)

This was the first attempt. I tied the fabric with strings. The strings didn't stand up to the rigors of my washing machine.

So now I just have a bunch of pink fabric.... like I didn't have enough already. But it's usable.

This is the second try. I used rubber bands this time. They stayed where I put them:

This batch was better than the first, in that it has some evidence of being tie-dyed, but I didn't really want the big striations on there. I wanted a mottled or crushed look. I wadded the fabric, and put rubber bands on the wads to keep them in place. But this is usable, too. I guess the lighter pink/white lines can represent the huge waves the little goldfish will have to navigate. And now I have plain pink fabric to coordinate with this batch.

And at least one Monkey that loves my crafting:

Oh, and the pincushions....

I did list a couple of new pincushions in my shop:

This one is called Just a little bite. (And isn't that little coaster adorable? I picked up a set of them, complete with a dome-shaped holder, at the (where else?) thrift store for 60 cents.)

And this one is called Double cherries, please. It's a design I've done before, but I just love it. It was one of the first bottlecap pincushion designs I ever made.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

More nesting, more projects

I suddenly have a thing for goldfish. They are irresistably cute. To me, anyway. I came across this fabric a couple of weeks back:

I found this fabric at Fabric Tales, a cute-cute-cute online Japanese fabric store. It has inspired me to make Monkey 8's layette in a pink-and-orange theme. However, instead of immediately ordering up dozens of yards of this adorable stuff, I have decided to make my own version of it.

My scheme is to tie-dye some white cotton fabric a lovely, uneven shade of pink. Then I plan to make a little hand-carved stamp of a goldfish, and stamp orange goldfish randomly on the newly tie-dyed fabric. I then plan to make her sheets and/or crib bumper out of the fabric. Maybe even a blanket or two.

I assembled everything I would need to machine dye my first batch of fabric.... I love dyeing! (I'm just not very experienced at it. I never know what to expect.)

I'll take photos of how it turned out tomorrow.

Until then, another project completed....

I made a padded ring sling for Monkey 8. I love these things. I have one from 9 years ago, and it is just plain ugly. And store-bought. I wanted a fresh, girly one for our new baby.

A closeup of the padded shoulder:

So comfy, for mama and baby!

A ridiculous action shot, complete with uncooperative 30 lb toddler, perched atop my freakishly large preggo belly:

I used this fantastic tutorial by Samantha Lane to make it. It was incredibly easy to follow and construct! I highly recommend it.

And another stalled project completed....

For over two weeks now, I have been working on getting some items gathered up to send to our street team, ETC, for goodie boxes and promo packs to made available in our team shop soon. It should never have taken that long. As you can probably guess from my last post (the 4 year-old quilt project,) I struggle with procrastination. But I finally finished gathering up wallets, making magnets and keychains, new coupons and business cards, and some cute little pincushions to donate:

I wanted to keep this little school for myself! Again, with the goldfish... sheesh.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Nesting mode: attacking UFOs

I'm nesting like a crazy woman. I'm cleaning, organizing, washing, throwing out, giving away. Nothing is safe.

I'm also whittling down my UFO pile, and that is most satisfying.

Reusable Shopping Bags
Last weekend, I made up these reusable shopping bags from some $1/yard fabric I bought months ago:

The fabric's not really my style, but I do like the contrast. I had enough of this fabric to make 7 of them. They fold up into the outside pocket, like this:

We took one with us to the zoo this week. The Monkeys and I packed a picnic lunch for us, complete with bottled water (and a full box of wipes,) and everything fit in the bag -- with room to spare. I can't wait to take them to the grocery store with us! I do need to make more of these, and I have some stash that needs to be busted. Here's the tutorial I used. Try it. It's fun and oh-so-easy.

Painted Baby Quilt

This UFO began 4 years ago. It was started when I was pregnant with Monkey 6 (who will turn 4 next month.) My sweet sister wanted to make a crib quilt for the baby (we didn't know the gender at the time) and found inspiration for it in this cute journal we found at the dollar store:

However, neither of us are quilters, and couldn't even begin to imagine the piecing and applique process these characters would entail. But we could paint, so paint we did.

Now my sister is an accomplished artist, so she had the chore of drawing the characters onto the fabric. Of course, they were perfect. Next, we mixed up some cheap acrylic paints with fabric medium, and painted the little animals. Any mess-ups are undoubtedly mine. Once the paint was dry, we heat-set the paint, and pieced the top.

That is where the work on this ended -- 4 years ago.

Last week, I pulled out the quilt top, and finally assembled it with the batting and backing. Since I don't know how to quilt, I just made it a simple hand-tied quilt. My son LOOOOVES it.

Here's the overall photo.... it's wrinkled because I just pulled it out of the dryer.

Upper half: Lower half: and some closeups:

I am so happy with how it turned out, and it feels wonderful to have it finished. Oh -- in case you're wondering, the paint is not stiff... it softens more each time it's washed. The paint didn't bleed, either. It did fade in a couple of areas (which I like,) but not in most areas. Thanks, sis, for your fantastic work on this!

I have several more items I finished up this past week... but I'll save those for tomorrow's post.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Anti-V-Day-Junk rant, and today's tote -- khaki!

No big Valentine's Day plans for us. Actually, when I was out shopping the other day, I was sickened by the aisles and aisles of garrish, cheap-looking Valentine junk. I told my dh that I didn't want any part of that. I know he loves me. He shows me every day.....

  • He shows me by always wanting to hold my hand, or touch my hair, or pamper me in innumerable ways... even when I'm cranky and tired.
  • He tells me I'm beautiful, even when I'm carrying a child the size of a watermelon in my belly... and he means it.
  • He shows me by supporting my crafting, which can carry on until the wee hours of the night... with (hardly) a complaint.
  • He shows me by surprising me with ice cream at midnight when he comes home from work... and I've been craving it.
  • He shows me by working 50+ hours a week to support us... at a job that is very stressful.

I'm beyond blessed to have such a wonderful husband and friend, and he's an amazing father to all of our monkeys. I don't need the flowers or (especially) the balloons. I'm showered with much more valuable, and precious, gifts. I do have a weak spot for chocolate though. But that's every day. And don't worry -- the monkeys still celebrate the day with too much candy.

OK... enough mush.

I did finish up the other tote last night... this one was done in reclaimed khakis:

I like that it doesn't look recycled. At least, that's the look/feel I'm going for.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Finally -- the eco tote, and a FANTASTIC Etsy shop

I finally sat down and made one of the eco-friendly totes I mentioned in a previous post. I designed it myself, and had drawn up the pattern when I made the first one for a swap. Well, during one of our cleaning sprees, one of the Monkeys threw all of the pattern pieces away -- except for one. Luckily, the one surviving piece was an important piece, and I could reconstruct the pattern from that. But it wasn't easy -- it took a lot of drawing and redrawing and adjusting to get it all to fit together. Here is the finished product:

I am really happy with the way it turned out! I already have another cut out and ready to be assembled. I hope to get to that one tonight!

And you just have to check out this FANTASTIC Etsy shop -- Rose of Sharon Acres. I first heard about her shop in the Etsy forums, during one of our ETC First Monday promotions. I was in the market for some natural soaps for myself and for gifts, so I thought I'd try out some of her products.

I first tried a sampler pack of her special all natural/mostly natural goat milk soaps -- Tea Tree, Lavender and Oatmeal, Pumpkin Spice, and Sandalwood Vanilla. I was hooked! My hubby loved the Sandalwood Vanilla -- it has a sexy, masculine scent. My favorite is the Pumpkin Spice. And our skin is sooo soft!

I purchased some full-sized bars next, including Orange Spice -- yum! All of the soap recipients loved them. You should really try them out.
The most unique items in her shop are the Tooth Chips. I was intrigued by the name of the product alone! After reading her product description, I decided to try them... I started with a little sample. One word: AMAZING. Everything she says in her description is accurate and honest.

So then I ordered three full-sized orders of tooth chips. My husband and kids use the Neem-formulated tooth chips (Orange Cinnamon and Cinnamon,) and I use the Neem-free Peppermint variety (due to my pregnancy.)

The results: All of us have noticeably whiter teeth. I am a coffee addict (half-caff, thanks to baby #8), so I did have trouble getting my teeth white. Not any more! We all have healthier gums and fresher breath. We no longer use "regular" tooth paste. (We forgot to bring out tooth chips with us on an overnight trip, and had to use regular tooth paste. It was disgusting.) The full-sized orders of tooth chips are very generous; although I ordered them in December, we have about half of the containers still full, and each of us brush our teeth at least twice a day. Well-worth the money, and a great value.

And the shop owner? Monica is so professional, and as sweet as can be. Please drop by her shop and give her amazing products a try.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Two wallets completed, and one house cleaned

I managed to get two wallets completed today. That's not a big crafty achievement, but I'm happy with that....

The top one is from an old copy of Wuthering Heights, and the bottom one is from a copy of Hamlet... both are amazing literary works that I love. I do like the way the wallets came out, too.

Oh! A happy discovery -- a couple of my items were picked up for two treasuries today! You can see the BNR one here and the Star Trek one here (this one's kinda funny in a geeky/nerdy way.)

The biggest accomplishment for the day was cleaning the house -- vacuuming the floors, scrubbing down the dining room table, chairs, china hutch and kitchen cabinets with Murphy's Oil Soap (love the way that stuff smells!), and even getting a home-cooked dinner on the table for my sweet sister that came by after work. Now if only I could get my crafty/work area organized.....

The organizing will have to wait. So will any more crafting. I think I overdid it with the cabinet scrubbing, so I'll be putting my feet up, clicking onto Netflix, and watching Law & Order: CI until I fall asleep. Can't wait.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Good thrift store scores

My daughter and I made a trek to the thrift store on Monday evening. One of my favorite thrift stores stays open late (until 9 pm, which is late for thrift stores around here.) It was so quiet and peaceful while we were there. The store had been cleaned and organized as well. The bookshelves had been restocked, and there was a Buy-One-Get-One-FREE sale on sweaters! Hooray! (I was running dangerously low on wool felt.) I stocked up on some great paperbacks -- both for reading and wallets:

I found about 25 paperbacks, total!

I am most excited about the sweaters, though. On previous trips to the thrift stores, I could only find one, maybe two, wool sweaters... and in black or grey only. This time, I found several -- in all colors. I was able to pick and choose, and passed over quite a few options. Here are some of the sweaters, felted and ready to be cut (and a couple need a shave, too:)

Now I did have a problem felting one lovely pale green sweater (not pictured.) The label is marked "Pure New Wool." I washed this sweater with a few of the other sweaters, with a little detergent, and in very hot water.... like I do all of the other sweaters I'd felted before. I sent them through several agitation and rinse cycles. All of the other sweaters came out looking like ultra-thick baby armor-sweaters.... except for this one. It looks exactly the same. No shrinkage, no felting, not even any pilling! What did I do wrong?? What is up with this kryptonite sweater??? Any suggestions?

Sunday, February 3, 2008

New pouches and a pincushion!

Here are the two pouches I made....

Another Valentine-themed Dia de los Muertos ipod/cell phone pouch. It's already sold. :)

My little mouse pouch. I almost didn't make this design. I've had it drawn and cut out for over a month now, but just didn't want to make it. It turned out much cuter than I had imagined. I added the mouse's dinner (a tiny piece of cheese) to the back at the last minute:

I like it. :)

I also made a little apple pincushion:

I love red, and I like the simple design and shape.

I'm sure I'll have more to post tomorrow!

And please be sure to drop by the post below! Thanks!

First Monday Sale! List of participating ETC shops *Updated Monday morning!*

Collections Section = 20% off all items in section
ETC Members Only Section = Buy One, Get One 50% off (sale valid for ETC members only)
All Other Sections = 15% off
% Off Sales:

Discount does NOT apply to shipping unless specified

BOGO Sales:

Discounts apply to item of equal or lesser value & discount does not include shipping unless specified.

  • - Fine art photography prints, greeting cards, & ACEOs -- Buy One, Get One Free on all prints (print of equal or lesser value will be free - coupons cannot be used with this offer)

  • - Treat yourself to *Enchanted* bath and body luxuries! Buy One, Get one 50% off (Wholesale lots excluded.)

  • - Purses made from vintage fabrics and revamped jewelry -- Buy One jewelry item, Get One jewelry item 50% off, plus Free Shipping on orders of $25 or more (after discounts)
  • - Mixed Media Jewelry & Accessories -- Buy One, Get One 50% off, plus Free Gift with purchase (one per customer, please)
  • - note cards, paintings, accessories, and ceramic creations all featuring prints or handpainted Jen-I-Mals -- Buy one, Get one 50% off, and as always, Free Domestic (US) Shipping on cards

  • - Crocheted apparel and accessories & more -- Buy One, Get One 50% off
  • - Fun and unique Melt/Pour Soaps and Handcrafted Dolls and Ornies -- Buy One Soap, Get One FREE (same as purchased item); Buy a Doll or set of Ornies, Get a Valentine Heart Cupcake Soap Free
  • - Vintage items, hats, jewelry, refurbished jewelry, and beads -- Buy One, Get One 50% off
  • - Funky handmade goodies for you and your home -- Buy One, Get One 50% off, plus Free Shipping on orders of $30 or more (after discount)

  • - Original, one of kind illustrations created in watercolor and ink, as well as cards and custom nameplates -- Buy one item under $30, Get One 50% off (excludes items over $30 and items already on sale)
  • - handmade fuzzy stuff and jewelry, and some funky vintage finds -- Buy One, Get One 50% off, plus Free Shipping on orders of $30 or more (after discount)

  • - Stitch markers for knit and crochet -- Buy One set of stitch markers, Get a random set Free (free sets are not currently listed in shop; if there are specific colors you do or do not like, please indicate this in the Message to Seller at time of checkout
  • - Unique and Useful Gifts and Accessories -- Buy One, Get One 50% off (please put BOGO in Notes to Seller at time of checkout)

Free Shipping:

Other Sales/Special Offers:

  • - Handmade contemporary jewelry in silver or 14 gold fill with semi-precious stones and papergoods --Receive 3 Free Valentine's Day cards with every item purchased

I'll be adding MORE shops and deals to this post later!

A couple of little announcements....

It's almost that time again! Tomorrow is the ETC First Monday Sale! I'll be back later tonight to post more about all the fab shops offering great discounts. I'll be offering 20% off everything in my shop, from midnight (CST) tonight, to midnight tomorrow night. But more on that later....

I just noticed that my water lily pincushion was picked up for the Etsy Gift Guides again! You can see it here. So exciting!

I've made a few pincushions, wallets and pouches in the last couple of days, so I'll post those pics tonight, too. I've been trying to make (and list) at least one new item per day. When I'm really challenging myself, I try to make a pincushion, wallet AND pouch per day. I'm also starting to run low on a few supplies, so it's about time for another trip to the thrift stores! That's always exciting to me. I'm definitely looking forward to that trip this week!

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