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Pretty Pens: A Tutorial

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Taped and Stapled

Ever felt like sewing something without actually “sewing”.  This tote bag tutorial from Martha Stewart shows how to make a cute and stylish bag using duct tape and a stapler among other things.  The funny thing is, judging by the photo, it doesn’t come out all clunky and strange like you’d expect.  Just don’t try the same thing on dresses and stuff.

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Floral Ruffles

So while working feverishly over the last few days, I finished another dress and wore it to church today. 

photos 1035Nearly the same reaction as the last couple of dresses (see More Pink and Lace and Two Days Time) except that it wasn’t such a surprise to everyone that I made it.  Anyway, this one is a little more subtle, the only decoration is the ruffle at the top and at the hem of the skirt and some pin tucks.  I think the ruffles really compliment the print of the fabric, love those little bitty flowers.  I made a little bow for my hair to match.  It’s on a plastic headband, and it is removable too so I can change it up.

photos 1036

I tried some shirring on the back, it does save on having to use a zipper.  It did come out a little off center, I don’t think it is that noticeable.  Still, I do think I have improved at it and at dressmaking in general.  The only other thing I goofed at was making the skirt too long, but maybe that’s just a personal preference. 

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cardboard Hearts

Cardboard is truly one of my favorite craft materials, and up until now I thought I was really great with it.  I found someone who can truly be called a cardboard genius and I pale in comparison.  This video tells the touching tale of an older man who works with cardboard to help him forget how much he misses his wife, she has been in a nursing home for the last few years since suffering a stroke.  He visits her daily, bringing along some of his creations as gifts for her and some of the other residents.  A lovely story and his crafts are amazing.  He makes tons of whimsical toys, picture frames, rings,  and anything else you can think of.  Oh I can say is “wow”.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Shoulder Pads Be Gone

I tackled another makeover of a thrift store shirt.   This time I actually managed to get a before photo.

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I got this shirt for 25 cents at the thrift store up the street.  It was too big for me, had shoulder pads (shiver), a pocket I didn’t like and buttons and beads on it that I hated.

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The redeeming quality is this lovely decorative stitching around the collar.  The back of the collar came to a cute point along with this thing, I think it’s suppose to be an embroidered star or flower.  Whatever, it is still cute.

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Here’s the after shot, much better right?  I ripped off the buttons, beads, and pocket.  I think the beads will work better for jewelry, maybe rings.  I then removed the sleeves and chopped off a few inches on the hem, did I mention it was a little too long on me too?  I took it in on the sides and trimmed the arm area before reattaching the sleeves.  The final touch was to add some elastic to the sleeves, I have been really into puffed sleeves lately.  I also replaced the buttons of course, can’t go around with an open shirt, well I wouldn’t anyway.  Now it looks really cute on me.  What’s great is that I have a pretty vintage skirt I got from the same store that would look great with this shirt.  It’s the perfect look for Fall.

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Since it wouldn’t do to waste fabric, I found a good use for that pocket.  I made it into this sweet little bow, I just haven’t figured out what to do with it.  I could attach it to a headband, or a hair elastic, or even wear it as a pin.  I even though of making it into a bowtie, now that would be odd.

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

More Pink and Lace

Yesterday I mentioned something about wearing the shirt I redid with something else I made.   
photos 1029
Here it is, I had some leftover material from that last dress I made (see Two Days Time), so I made another one.  This time it’s without sleeves which made it a little faster. 
photos 1028
This time I tried to do a little shirring, never done it before, wonder if I will do it again since I had some trouble with it.  The elastic kept on coming undone.  At least it’s working, the fit is way better and it is easier to get on.  When I wore it to church I got several compliments, and so many people were surprised to hear I made it myself.  That’s always nice to hear I guess.  One of our neighbors actually asked me to make one for her, she was willing to pay too.  But I turned her down,  I’m still not confident enough in my sewing to make clothing to sell.  I’m afraid I might screw up the sizing or something, it’s better to stick with my tote bags and stuff.  I have never had any buyers complain about their handkerchiefs being too small. 
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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Procrastinate with Lace

photos 1025So yeah, I have been procrastinating lately.  What is one of things I do when I procrastinate on something?  I sew, a lot.  Here’s something I redid.  I forgot to take a before photo, before it was an ordinary polo shirt I got for 25 cents at a thrift store.  It was a little big on me and boring to boot.  So I took it in a little and added some pin tucks.  I then added lace to the collar, sleeves, and along the front.  Lastly, I added elastic to the sleeves for a cute puffed look.  Maybe I went a little overboard, but I have been into cute and lacy stuff lately.  I am going to wear it tomorrow to church, along with something else I whipped up from scratch.  I’ll put that up tomorrow, so don’t miss it.
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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Calling All Craft Bloggers

typewritergfairy005a I found something you may be interested in, that is, if you regularly write really good articles on crafty business topics.  You know, like photography tips, marketing, tutorials, etc.  Handmadeology is looking for blog posts to feature.  All you have to do is fill out and submit their easy form, and you can do it for as many posts as you want.  They will take a look, and if all goes well, your article will be viewed by tons of new people.  I just wish I had a decent post to submit.  Most of mine aren’t quite what they are looking for, but that’s the way I like it.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Singing With Joy

1harvest005A lot of good things happened today.  First off, I finally got around to cleaning my room, so I can actually see the floor now.  Not that it’s nice to look at, the carpet is an ugly color.  Second, while cleaning I found my taps shoes, spent a good deal of the day wearing and using them too.  It would appear that my tap skills are a little rusty.  Most importantly though, today was the first rehearsal for choir.  I’m sure I have mentioned before that I sing in the Chamber Choir at my church.  We usually stop meeting during Summer, to sort of take a break.  I know vacations are good and all, but waiting for Choir to start back up again has been pure agony for me.  It feels so weird to go that long without singing with everyone.  Especially when I go to church and people keep asking me if I miss singing up with the choir, well duh! Of course I do.  So I am so glad and incredibly relieved to be back.  And hopefully this season will go super well too.

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Eyes, Ears, Mouth and Nose

photos 1013The last project on my list is done, face magnets.  I made them by covering bottle caps with fabric and drawing on them, then gluing on disc magnets.  Each magnet is a different part of the face, so they can be moved around anywhere you please.  I haven’t showed them to my niece and nephew yet, but I’m sure they will get a kick out of them.  Especially my nephew, he loves funny faces.
Here’s the updated list:
  • doll headbands
  • halters
  • camera
  • stamps
  • painting supplies
  • knitting supplies
  • video
  • face magnets
Eight down and out.  I think I’ll take a break from the lists for a bit.  There are a few things I should be focusing on right now.  Of course, odds are that I will start procrastinating on them by working on crafts.  I know myself too well.
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Mountain Climbing or Knitting?


Well I finished the video, ran a little late with it too.  That’s because of some technical problems.  


First my webcam was on the fritz, it’s only a year old and it’s having so much trouble.  Then I had problems with my editing software, some little problem that should have been simple to solve if only the help file was a little more detailed in it’s explanation.

The Adventures of Kailey and Boris Episode 6 Hobbies

Anyway, it’s done.  In this episode, the focus is mostly on Kailey finding a suitable hobby.  Of course the ever loyal, and apparently talented Boris steps in to help in his own way.  This video happens to feature some great clipart from Graphics Fairy, lovely photos from various artists at FreeDigitalPhotos.net, and some not so lovely photos from me.

Here it is for your enjoyment:


Here’s the updated list:
  • doll headbands
  • halters
  • camera
  • stamps
  • painting supplies
  • knitting supplies
  • video
  • face magnets
Seven down, just one more to go.  The last one should be up later today.
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Friday, August 13, 2010

Another Hidden Gem

Yesterday I went to Goodwill with my sister and her son,  to take advantage of Dollar Thursday.  It was an interesting day, we got off the bus only to realize that my sister had left her diaper bag on it.  We had to wait for it to come back around to see if it was still there, luckily it was. 

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Anyway I managed to find a couple of items.  A pair of gray knee socks, un-worn and the perfect shade of gray because it goes with everything but doesn’t make me look frumpy.  I also found this simple little doll for only a dollar.  Her hair is messed up, her dress is horrible, and she has some really bad cracks on her face.

photos 1012 See, there’s another one on her forehead, but luckily her hair covers it.  Why did I buy her?  First, I do have a soft spot for pathetic looking dolls (see Goodwill Barbie and Barbie Transformation).  Plus, her face is cute and the hair would look pretty once combed.  But the main real reason is that she has hidden some charm, namely her music box.  She plays “Rain Drops Keep Falling on My Head”, I think that’s what the song is called.  I just happen to be very fond of that song despite not knowing all the words and all.  I would never have known they was anything special about her if I hadn’t picked her up and checked, something most people wouldn’t have bothered to do once they saw her cracked face.  It goes to show sometimes you need to look pass outward appearances to see what’s on the inside.  Or something like that.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Good for Me, and Some of You Too

blogawardGood news, a few days ago Eco Friendly Freckles awarded me the “I heart your blog” award.  Cool, I’ve never gotten a blog award before.  If I understand the rules correctly, I’m supposed link to the person who gave the award and follow them, then post this cute button on my blog, and then give the award to 15 others of my choice.  Only 15?  I know way more great blogs than that.  It took me a few days to narrow it down, but here are my choices:

  1. New Dress a Day
  2. Casey’s Minis
  3. Experimentalk
  4. Makelovely’s Blog
  5. Tea Rose Home
  6. Dollar Store Crafts
  7. Violet Elephant
  8. Michele Made Me
  9. Geek Crafts
  10. Chic Steals
  11. Painting the Roses Pink
  12. Totally Tutorials
  13. UK Lass in US
  14. Zakka Life
  15. Home Sweet Homebodies

Congratulations everyone.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Mini Arts and Crafts

I finished a couple more from the list, and like the camera, they are also miniature props for the video I will be making.
photos 1000
First we have some painting supplies: a little easel, two canvases, a small paint brush, and an artist’s palette loaded with paint.  The easel is based on a design I made when I was little.  I was really into My Little Pony and troll dolls and I used to make all kinds of things for them, like houses and stuff.  Once I made little easels for the ponies to show off their artistic abilities, strange I know.  Anyway, this a more sophisticated model, meaning it doesn’t fall over as much.  The palette was interesting to make due to the paint, they are drops of crayon waxed heated from a burning candle and dripped onto the cardboard palette.  Gives a more realistic look to it.  The canvasses are simply cardboard frames covered with white paper, they already have pictures “painted” on them, wait for the video to see them.
photos 1005
I also whipped up some basic materials for knitting.  A ball of yarn made from embroidery floss, and a set of bamboo knitting needles made from a skewer cut down to sized and split.  I wonder if they would really work for knitting, I wouldn’t know since I never learned how to knit.
Here’s the updated list:
  • doll headbands
  • halters
  • camera
  • stamps
  • painting supplies
  • knitting supplies
  • video
  • face magnets
Six down, just two more to go.  The video should be up in a few days, and I should finish the list off this weekend.  Assuming I don’t come up with another surprise project like last weekend.
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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Two Days Time

A week ago I mentioned something about having something special planned for the materials I bought at Goodwill (see Loading Up).  Well, after two days on the sewing machine, here it is:
photos 995This is a dress based on a certain style of Japanese street fashion with an unfortunate name, at least I think its unfortunate.  It’s unrelated, but has the same name as a certain movie that’s based on a particular book that I think is sick.  To learn more about the style, and to see plenty of cute pictures, check here.  I had been dying to have an outfit like this, but the price was a little prohibited.  Good quality dresses in this style can cost as much as $200.  My thrifty side wouldn’t stand for that.  And there are sellers on Etsy who sew them at cheaper prices, but of course my crafty side wouldn’t stand for that either.  So I whipped this up with a little trial and error and wore it to church this morning, with some mix reactions.  My sister laughed like crazy, and an older woman I know mistook me for a little girl from a distance.  Everyone else said I looked adorable.
photos 994
Now the details, I made the bodice by making a rough pattern from a dress I had in the back of my closet.  It has puffed sleeves and is gathered with elastic on the sleeves and the neckline.  I trimmed with eyelet lace because I had plenty of it.  There are ties at the necklace that cross and tie around my neck, I’ve seen plenty of dresses with the same thing and I thought it looked really pretty.  The skirt is basically a rectangle of fabric that I guessed on the dimensions and gathering.  There is a pin tuck a couple of inches from the ruffle both for decoration and because the skirt was a tad too long.
photos 997
On the back you can see the sash ties in a decent size bow in the back.  I had originally intended to add a zipper, but I realized I could get the dress on without it so why bother.  I found it was a little too loose in the back, so I made a couple of interesting little pleats to decorate and take in that extra fabric.  I’m not sure the name of this type of pleat, I’m not even sure it has a name, I just know I’ve seen them somewhere before but I forget where.  I added some premade bows to the back to enhance the look, and to try to get rid of all those little bows.  I’ve had them for years and still haven’t used them all up.  To accessorize, I made little cuffs for my wrist from bits of lace and a matching lace head band.  That’s basically it for this outfit, at least the parts that can be seen.  A good deal of my time and effort went into making the under clothing, basically stuff that make the skirt nice and poufy, although I think mine fell flat.  All I can say is they came out pretty, but not too comfortable.  I made the mistake of making them out of polyester materials, which in Arizona in the summer time is almost unbearable.  Next outfit will definitely be made from natural fabrics.  Cotton, the fabric of our lives.
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Friday, August 6, 2010

Detangled

The other day I found the cutest thing for organizing embroidery thread.  Perfect for those who are actually good at embroidery, basically everyone but me.  How About Orange now has these adorable cards you can download and print to store your thread.  Keeps thing neat and tangle-free while you enjoy your new cuter craft space.  I wonder if they would work for other things, like ribbon and lace scraps, mine all always a mess when I try to find them.  I think they would also make cute stickers or labels for gifts, something like that.  It’s a gift that keeps on giving. 

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Another Use for Pencils

I believe I have mentioned at least once my thing for rubber stamps, I collect them but I hardly ever use them.  I think the next step could possibly be to start making some of my own.
photos 982
So when I came across this tutorial for making stamps with pencil erasers from Creature Comforts, I jumped on board.  Simple to do, plus I had plenty of pencils leftover from a Back to School sale at Wal-Mart years ago.  Just have to draw a shape on the eraser and carve it out with a craft knife.
photos 993I even actually tried them out on paper, just to test how well I carved them.  From the upper left is the star shape, heart, bubbles, and at the bottom is the basic triangle shape.  My favorite is the bubbles, they look so cute.  Also the hearts came out really well, I can’t say the same about the stars. 
Here’s the updated list:
  • doll headbands
  • halters
  • camera
  • stamps
  • painting supplies
  • knitting supplies
  • video
  • face magnets
Four down, four to go.  The next will be up in a couple of days, don’t miss it.
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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

We’re Back!

1needlefairy-graphicsfairy003 Yesterday I mentioned something about possibly having an announcement to make today.  Well, all preparations have be set.  The news is………

I reopened my Etsy shop.  Several of you may be thinking "she had an Etsy shop? Since when?”  I only mentioned it in some of my earlier posts, and I haven’t really done anything with it in the past few months for various reasons.  Why open it back up now?  First off, I kind of missed it.  They are fun to run after all.  Second, a few days ago a friend of mine commented on something I made which made me happy.  Lastly, I have been crafting up plenty of stuff for the last few months and I am running out of places to store them, I desperately need to unload them all.  Please take a look and let me know what you think, I could always use some feedback.  Feels good to be back at it :)

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Monday, August 2, 2010

Smile!

For those who have been here for awhile, it isn’t too much of a surprise that the video on my project list is going to be another Kailey and Boris video.  If you’re totally clueless, you can check out the last video here.  I need some mini props before I can start on the new one. 
photos 980One of the things I need is a tiny digital camera.  I made this one using my usual material of choice, cardboard.  I used sequins for all the little bits and I decided to paint it pink like my camera, the one I never use because it stinks.  It doesn’t look too bad, but I think I used too much Mod Podge, it looks like it’s melting.
Here’s the updated list:
  • doll headbands
  • halters
  • camera
  • stamps
  • painting supplies
  • knitting supplies
  • video
  • face magnets
Three down, five to go.  The next one should be up by Wednesday, and I may have an announcement tomorrow.  Depends on a few things.
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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Loading Up

Yesterday was a 1/2 off sale at Goodwill so I picked up some supplies.
photos 966
I got a baggie full of all this stuff.  A zipper, a set of wooden purse handles, several buttons including doll size ones, strap guards(?), flower appliqu├ęs, fabric roses, some unidentifiable stuff, and four different kinds of lace.  It was the lace I really wanted, the other stuff are bonuses, assuming I can find something to do with it all.
photos 968
I also got a bunch of fabric.  I have something special planned to do with it, and not something on my project list either.  Still, I can’t even start on it without doing a little more research.  I guess it is a little strange to be starting a big thing when I only just started something else.
photos 972Speaking of that something else, here’s a little something from the list.  On my last list I made some doll aprons from a tutorial I found online (see Fun-sized Aprons).  While making them I thought it would be neat to use the same idea to make a doll halter top too.  I used the same pattern, but shortened it and made it wider.  It makes for an easy little summer top for this Barbie doll.  Of course it would fit her a little better if the elastic straps were a tad shorter, something I need to work on.
Here’s the updated list:
  • doll headbands
  • halters
  • camera
  • stamps
  • painting supplies
  • knitting supplies
  • video
  • face magnets
Two down, six to go.  The next one should be up by tomorrow, hopefully a littler earlier too.
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