Dang, that's some crazy alliteration in the subject line, heehee. So, every year they have this (as well as a mother son dance) and my daughter always looks forward to it. She always plans out what she's going to wear and this year we decided that I would make her something.
A few months back, a formal wear store here was going out of business and one of our neighbors picked up this really poofy and fancy skirt for Bethany (my daughter) to play dress up in. It was a grown up size 10 so I figured that I could just kind of reconstruct it into a dress. With no real direction or skill, I started going at it. And.....quickly realized that it was a disaster waiting to happen. I decided that given my very limited sewing repertoire, I really needed a pattern. So, I go buy a pattern. But, once I have the pattern, I'm looking at the fabric requirements and I have nowhere near enough fabric for the chosen pattern. So, I buy fabric. Oh, and did I mention that I picked an insanely complicated pattern? Yeah, it was a dress with a fitted bodice and a very full skirt. It was also fully lined, with a netting ruffle and a zipper. I've never made a dress with lining, nevermind a damn zipper. Matter of fact, I've only made one other dress from a pattern period and it was a very simple affair...a casual sundress with elastic in the top back edge. So, this pattern was definitely above my skill level. Oh, wait. I may have forgotten to mention that I picked this pattern up on Monday. As in Monday, March 30. And the dance was Saturday, April 4. Yeaaaaaahhhhh. In hindsight, many bad decisions were made.
Anyhow, I managed to sweat, curse, and muddle my way through the pattern. And the end result was...BEAUTIFUL!! I couldn't believe it, really. Let's not dwell on the fact that I was still sewing at 3pm Saturday and the dance started at 6pm. The outer fabric I used was a polyester/cotton blend. It was very similar in look and feel to that really heavy satin that's dull with just a hint of sheen. The lining was a pale pink broadcloth and even the netting for the ruffle was a shade of pink! The black lace on the bottom and the black satin ribbon tie were my only deviations from the pattern. And really? Bethany looked like an absolute doll. So of course I took a million pictures of her. Here are all my favorites. There are a lot of them:)
Ok, I know Bethany is unbelievably cute in the above picture, but could you also take note of my first zipper? You can't really see it, can you? That's cause I did it right (I think)!!! I felt like I had performed successful brain surgery when I finished with that part. Moving on.
Here's a gratuitous shot of my daughter and my youngest son, Dorian, together. Mostly just because it's cute.
And in case you were wondering if the skirt is perfect for twirling, why yes, it is.
On the technical end, I used McCall's 5033, View B, size 10. The only issue (which ended up being a pretty freaking big hassle) I had with the pattern was that apparently the skirt front was supposed to be one piece while the skirt back was 2 pieces. Only the pattern layout for cutting the pieces wasn't clear on that point. Since I'm a pretty novice sewer, maybe somebody could tell me where I went wrong.
Ok, so here is my view and the way you're supposed to cut the pieces out.
So, from the looks of things, you're supposed to cut the back and the front exactly the same way. The skirt front (5) and the skirt back (4) both look like you're supposed to cut them in two pieces, right? But then if you look at the directions, it clearly says to sew the center seam of the back, but there's no mention of that for the front.
On the other hand, the lining does specify that the lining front (7) is one piece, cut on the fold. See?
But the directions for sewing that part are pretty much the same as for the outer.
So, then with the bodice front being one piece and the skirt front being two pieces, the bodice had more fabric in front than the skirt because some of the skirt fabric was taken up by seaming the two front pieces together. Which is why when I got to the part where you attach the bodice to the skirt, I had to put in an inverted pleat on the bodice. I didn't know what else to do at that point because I for sure didn't have enough time to rip everything out and start over (it was step 24 out of 37). So, was it user error? Or is the pattern not correct about how to cut the pieces out? Comments, constructive criticism, and any help with my pattern issue are very much appreciated:)
So, I've been thinking a lot about addiction lately. It's got a grip on almost every family, whether directly or indirectly, and my family is no exception. My brother's wife, my sister in law, has been struggling with addiction since before my brother ever knew her. She's currently in a long term inpatient rehab and while she's in a safe and supportive environment, I know that the struggle is never far away because it's within a person that the struggle takes place. Anyway, although at times I've felt angry and disappointed and upset with my sister in law, I still have the utmost compassion and empathy for her. I know she's put my brother and my niece and nephew through a lot, but I know that she's put herself through more. Also, I recently read a couple of books. First, I read "Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction". It was so many things. Heartbreaking, horrible, terrifying, disturbing, sad, enlightening, insightful, uplifting... I recommend it to all of you, but it's not something that everyone could read. The book is nonfiction and is written by David Sheff about his son, Nic Sheff. Nic is a recovering meth addict. Nic Sheff wrote the second book, which details his addiction from his own perspective. It's called "Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines" and wow.
It's everything that Beautiful Boy is and more. It's unbelievably painful in places. And so sad in others. I can't put into words how much this book had me by the throat as I was reading it. I found myself rooting for Nic to get well and stay well and after I read the book, I found his blog online and read the whole thing. This book is amazing, but be forewarned. It's an honest, gritty, and real look at life as an addict so there are some very graphic references--drug-related, sexual, and otherwise. Plus the language is pretty bad. All of it was necessary to capture this snapshot of his life, though.
I was thinking a lot about my sister in law before I read those books, but definitely a lot after reading them. So I did what I do. I made something for her. Basically, it all stemmed from this poem I found online. It's written by a lady named Lani Kent. She has a wonderful blog called Healing Expressions. Her entire site revolves around art that she makes for those recovering. The recovery can be from anything. Whether it's substance abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, an eating disorder...her art is very broad in scope and can encompass all of them. So, I found this poem and with her permission, I used it in the gift for my sister in law. The text for the poem is as follows:
Stained Glass by Lani Kent
Shattered, distorted, painfully sharp innocent colors scattered around my still and grieving heart pieces of a glass puzzle lay in confusing disarray whispering of shame...brokenness...dark hurt
I numbly stare in disbelief... then anger...then deep sadness beauty so carelessly scarred each shining remnant reflects a faint image once known to this child naive perfection...pure design...a Master's touch
As the last of the sharpest fragments fall near enough to cut I must pause to honor the small, welling voice within release the anguish of her soul the silence pierced...a screaming question..."Why?"
A new design awaits its birth fresh tears need time to fall upon the jagged crystal perhaps to cleanse, refine...restore beauty is to be found here amidst what appears destroyed...useless...beyond repair
Where does one begin in the gathering of a stained and shattered soul one so weary and little and sad Help me, Master of the fragile brilliance surrounding me In your strength can we lift each broken piece to the light...and mend...and heal
Copyright 2000 Lani Kent
It spoke to me. I mean, it really just reached out and grabbed me, much like those two books did. So, I decided to use a stained glass image that's interpreted in fabric form to show alongside the poem. Here are the finished pieces, side by side, which is how they're intended to be displayed:
Ignore all the weird looking bits on the pictures. Those are just reflections in the glass of the frame. It's really hard to take a picture of something in a frame.
The image I chose for the stained glass is an iris. I chose that flower because the meaning behind it is "strength, hope, wisdom, and valor". I think all of those things are good weapons in the arsenal of someone recovering. It was made by cutting out all the individual portions, fusing them to the background fabric, and then sewing down black bias tape to use as the "lead" part of the "stained glass". I like how it turned out and I think it looks really great all framed up. I found the image online. There were a lot of patterns online for this type of thing, but none of them were downloadable. They were all snail mail. And, me being me, I didn't want to wait so I just muddled through as best I could. The absolute hardest part was figuring out what order to lay the bias tape down. The whole point is that you're supposed to put them all down so that the end of one strip is covered by the end of the next one. In the whole thing, there is only one folded under end and that's the very last strip I laid down. Figuring out the order was crazy hard. I originally intended to embroider the poem, but it was too much text in too small a space and I couldn't find a lettering pattern that would fit the space allowed. So, instead, I had it printed on some really heavy good quality paper. I love how the two pieces look together.
I know that some of you reading this have felt the stranglehold of addiction, directly or indirectly. I wish all the best to anyone who is currently struggling with this in their family. There's this one part in David Sheff's book that just really stuck with me. It's when Nic has relapsed yet again and David has gone to the rehab that Nic is in to take part in a family therapy weekend. Nic and his mom and dad have to do group therapy with the other addicts and their families. Here's what David says about that:
Parents are suckers. I am a a sucker to contemplate opening to the idea of healing. And yet...Suddenly I recall when I prayed for Nic. I never planned to pray. I just looked back and realized I had been praying. What did I pray for? I never said Stop taking drugs. I never said Stay away from meth. I said, Please God heal Nic. I prayed, Please God heal Nic. Please God heal every ravaged person in this room, the dear ravaged people on this planet, these dear, wounded people. I look around at them. They are brave. They are here. However they got here, they are here. They are here and so there is a chance.
So, I told my sister in law that that's what I'm praying for for her. I'm praying that she will be healed-mind, body, and soul.
This is my first challenge entry! I was really nervous about doing this because I've seen the challenge entries every month and I was afraid mine wouldn't measure up. But then I just thought, "f*ck it", and entered anyway. If nothing else, this was a cathartic process! This is kind of a long rambling story, so be forewarned:) For about the last 5 years, since the birth of my middle child, I've been pretty overweight. I've felt as if I've been living in a prison of my own making sometimes. I think my husband is the only person on earth who has any inkling of how deeply unhappy I'd been. I steer clear of mirrors because, in my mind's eye, I still see myself like I was and catching a glimpse of what I am is a shock to the system...even after 5 years. I've been mired in a mix of self-loathing and self-sabotage. This led to a horrible cycle of being desperate to lose the weight, but being afraid to try, for fear of failure, and subsequently deciding not to do anything about it. Last year, in July, I finally made my move and started actively trying to lose weight. So, 7 months later, I'm a third of the way to my goal weight. I've lost just under 30 pounds and have 51 pounds left to lose. That may sound super awesome and reason to celebrate, but I'll be honest. It's a constant battle. I struggle daily to remind myself why I'm doing this. My reasons include:
1) my health 2) my kids 3 ) my husband 4 ) making my appearance pleasing to myself
I've fallen off the wagon a couple times, but I get back on and I forge ahead. Some days, though... Some days I want to give up altogether and just go back to being the way I was because, although I was miserable, it was easier. Lately I've been struggling a lot, mentally. I've just had several weeks of feeling like, even though I'm trying so hard, I'm just going to be fat forever and I'll never be happy with myself. I'm starting to shake it off, but I don't expect that this will be the last time I feel like that. I've had to recognize that it will continue to be a battle. For the rest of my life. Shit, sometimes it's less a battle and more an all-out war.
All that being said, this song speaks to me on this particular issue for a lot of reasons. Here are some of the lyrics:
When our time is up, When our lives are done, Will we say we've had our fun?
Will we make our mark this time? Will we always say we tried?
Standing on the rooftops, Everybody scream your heart out. Standing on the rooftops, Everybody scream your heart out. Standing on the rooftops, Everybody scream your heart out. This is all we've got now, Everybody scream your heart out.
Standing on the rooftop, (Waiting till the bomb drops) This is all we've got now, (Scream until your heart stops) Never gonna regret, (Watching every sunset) Listen to your heartbeat, (All the love that we've felt)
See, it makes me realize something. I just HAVE to keep doing this. Because, all the reasons I listed above aside, one thing makes me know that. I can't believe how much of the last 5 years I've wasted hating the way I look, the way I feel. How many outings I've skipped with my kids because I won't get in a bathing suit or didn't want to meet their friends' parents because I was afraid of what they'd think of me. How many pictures I haven't taken with my family because I couldn't bear to see reality staring me in the face. How many hugs I avoided from my husband so he won't feel my fat when his arms go around me. How many endless days I've spent drowning in regret over a million things...over this one thing. I heard somewhere that the pain of discipline is inconsequential compared to the pain of regret. I have to make myself be mindful of that every minute of every day. I don't want to wait till the bomb drops.
This song made me think of all that. And I know that my painting is a very literal interpretation of the song, but it's meant to be. I do feel like just going on the roof and screaming sometimes. Out of frustration, pain, misery, anger, celebration, joy, etc. Any of those and all of those. Don't we all feel that way sometimes?
So I took a picture of myself striking the pose you see in the painting. And, wow, did I feel I like an idiot doing that:) Anyway, then I did some Photoshop stuff to isolate myself from the background and filled in my silhouette with black. I used that image on a rooftop with a city skyline as a stencil. I actually painted this on the back of an old t-shirt! We're broke as a joke in this joint lately so I couldn't buy a canvas. I just ironed some interfacing to the shirt, taped it around one of those wood painting things you can get from Hobby Lobby, and painted like it was a regular canvas. I've never really painted anything before, except for stenciling stuff. I stenciled the skyline and my silhouette on there, but I freehanded the sky and stars. It was done with acrylic paints mixed with fabric medium. I then mounted it on the wood painting that I stretched it around and sprayed it with a sealer and voila! I was really suprised at how stiff it became.
So, that's my entry. And that's me. Here's hoping that I win this battle and maybe this time next year, my silhouette will look a lot different. Kudos if you made it all the way through this!
So, I made this for my sister! We both knit, as does our mom. I made my mom a needle roll 2 Christmases ago and have planned to make one for my sister ever since, but just never got around to it. Anyway, I used this tutorial that my friend made for me. See, my friend originally made me a needle roll and I wanted to make one for my mom but I suck at figuring out how to sew things on my own so she made me a little tutorial. Which I subsequently posted on the post for the needle roll I made my mom and that's here in case anyone else wants to make a needle roll. I posted the other one on the knitting board but it makes more sense to post it here, I think. After all, needles rolls fit into the "stuff to carry other stuff" category. Ok, enough rambling. Here's the inside with some of my knitting/crochet stuff in the pockets:
A little closer up:
And here's the little label I made. My sister's name is Phoebe and I frequently call her Pheebs. I just wrote out Pheebs on some freezer paper and made a little stencil out of that and then used it as a guide to hand embroider on the same ribbon I used for the needle roll. Oh, I fused some interfacing to the ribbon first. And then, like a douchebag, I forgot to sew the label down before I put the whole shebang together so I had to hand sew that on and be mindful of going through only the top layer of fabric .
Here's the flap folded down so you can see a bit of the outer fabric:
And, finally, here it is all rolled up and tied:
I hope she likes it! My husband picked out the fabrics and I think he did an excellent job
This is a mix of a few different crafts, but it's appliqued so this seemed an appropriate board. I'm always crafting up something, whether it's something knitted, stenciled, appliqued, etc. But, I guess I sometimes get carried away making stuff for other people and neglect to make things for my own kiddies. I just recently finished making a bunch of Yo Gabba Gabba shirts for my 2 yr old as a birthday present and while I was working on them, my 5 yr old, Sebastian, came up to me and said "Mom, how come you never make me anything? Like any shirts or anything?". Needless to say, that was a knife to the heart of a crafting mom. And a situation that had to be remedied with a quickness. So, my husband, Sebastian, and I are big Death Note fans. And of course L is our favorite character. Here's what I came up with!
First, I found a good image of L. It came from one of the posters from Death Note. Then, since he pretty much blended into the background, I had to do all kinds of Photoshop business to separate him from the background so I could trace him. I traced most of him onto an old shirt of Sebastian's (after ironing some interfacing to the wrong side of the shirt) that happened to be the perfect color for L's skin, and then painted him with acrylic mixed with textile medium. I freehanded most of the line detail in his shirt, pants, and face with pencil and then went over that with black. After that, I cut him out, leaving a smallish border, which I painted a dark red so that L's hair wouldn't blend into the black shirt I was planning on sewing him to. I fused L to some Heat n' Bond, ironed him to the shirt I wanted to use and then sewed him down.
Next, I traced, cut, fused, and appliqued the "L" logo to the back of the shirt. To those that don't follow Death Note, the L is what comes on the TV when L is doing a broadcast because no one knows who he really is at first.
And, in case you're wondering, I called this an "epic L shirt" because it took me a freaking long time to paint L and get all the details of him right. I think I did a pretty good job of capturing him!
Here he is while I was painting him:
And here he is after I finished painting, but before I cut him out and painted the red border.
So, that's that! Sebastian loved it! And I don't feel guilty anymore
So, Dorian, my now 2 year old, had a birthday yesterday. He is completely in love with Yo Gabba Gabba. About a month or so ago, he was sick and I made him a Muno shirt to cheer him up. He loved it so much that I decided to make him the rest of the gang as a birthday present. These were all machine appliqued. On the Nick Jr. website, they have a section of Yo Gabba Gabba craft stuff and there are iron on printables of each character. I just used those as my guides for tracing/cutting the pieces. Sadly, our printer is broken so I had to trace everything off of our monitor .
Here they are all together:
And separately, in the order that I made them.
Toodee--I don't know what's up with the colors in this picture. They're all washed out except the orange. The colors in the group photo above are more accurate.
Foofa is his absolute favorite character. Truth be told, she's my favorite too. She's got such a sweet little voice and she's always nice. Plus, I think she's the best dancer. I sing the "My name is Foofa! Fuh foofa! Fuh fuh fuh fuh fuh fuh fuh fuh Foofa!" song to myself all the time. Er....I may be watching it a little too frequently. Anyway, every time he sees her, he sings "I so happy..." and he just thinks she's the greatest. I briefly considered stenciling something on that shirt (something like "boys love foofa too") so that people would still know that he's a boy, but then I was like "what do I care if people I don't know think he's a girl?". Plus the idea of that being the only shirt with wording on it offended by symmetry sensibilities. Foofa was also the hardest one to applique because of all the curves. But, it turned out ok!
And, here are a few action shots. Before the night was over, he had worn all of them, heehee. They were definitely a hit with him!!!
And, just for kicks, here's one of him with his Muno cake (I made that, which is why it looks so messy:) when we sang Happy Birthday to him!
Those are my 2 older kids and my husband's arm in the picture with him. So, questions, comments, criticisms?
I made this for my husband for Valentine's Day. Basically it's a redux because
1) our printer is broken so I had to trace all these pictures off the internet and color them and whatnot so it was taking waaaaay longer than I planned so 52 images wasn't going to be feasible
2) I had to make the images big enough to trace and still get the detail but then they were too big to fit on the cards
So, here's the cover:
And here are some of the individual pages.
It says "When Sebastian asked if he could be a ninja when he grows up, you told him 'yes'". Sebastian is our 5 year old son. I just thought that was sweet and encouraging. You know, a 'you can be whatever you want' kind of sentiment.
For this one, I glued one of our used and unfortunately, losing, lottery tickets down to the neon green card stock. It says "You fake spend our nonexistent lottery winnings with me". We do that a lot. We talk about what kind of house we'd buy, who else we'd buy houses for, whether or not we should get a hybrid car or wait and see if they come out with something more advanced and awesome, how we'd invest our winnings, etc. We get pretty detailed, heeehee.
And it's true!! My husband has never smelled bad for as long as I've known him/been married to him. Plus, his armpit hair is always really dry and poofy, never sweaty. This is all probably TMI, but oh well.
This one says "Even though I'm a really poor sport and act like an asshole, you still play Scrabble with me". I'm kind of the worst sportsman ever. When I'm winning, I'm all "YOU SUCK" and "IN YOUR FACE" and when I'm losing, I'm like "I'm just gonna quit cause there's no way I can catch up" and "hey, that's not a word--I'm gonna look it up" and that kind of thing.
HAHAHA!! Seriously, ladies, though, you feel me on that, right?
I laminated all the pages and the cover and then did some hole-punching and put it all together with binder rings. My husband loved it. He said it was very sweet and also a peek into the very random nature of my thought processes. Comments and criticisms welcome, as always!
Er, I'm not sure if this is where this goes. I know that I don't think this is art, but this is where most of the photography stuff is, so... Anyway, I was looking for something else on the interwebs when I stumbled across this pretty awesome tutorial:
I decided to try my hand at it and I love the results. It's the first semi-difficult thing I've done in Photoshop. Previously, I've only made stencils. So, here's the first one. I did this one for my sister. This is a picture of my niece with her dad.
Here's the original photo:
I should probably explain the caption, heehee. I told my sister that it looked like my niece was thinking "Daddy, you so crazy" and I asked her what's something that Shawn (the dad) says to Sophia (my niece) to make her laugh. She said that he always says 'I'm hungry for pork belly'. And sopapilla is one of Sophia's nicknames. A sopapilla is a Mexican pastry (we're Mexican, as is Sophia's dad) and it's pronounced so-puh-pea-yuh, in case anyone is wondering. My sister said she's going to get the finished picture printed on a pillowcase for Sophia
And this is one of my 5 year old son, Sebastian.
Here's the original photo:
I told him to do some kung fu type moves and this is what he did. When I was done with the picture part, I asked him what he thought it should say and he said "I will destroy you...even if it means risking my life!!!". Uhhhhh, he watches a lot of anime-what can I say? So, that's what I put as his caption.
So, what do you guys think? I think it's pretty cool, but I know it's pretty amateur compared to most of the photography stuff I've seen on Craftster.
Ok, so my mom (Nanny to my kids) is a travel nurse. This makes it difficult to give her pictures of the kids to remember them by while she's away. She can't really drag around a bunch of framed pictures from city to city. So, I came up with this idea to have each of my kids (the two that are old enough anyway; my youngest is only 2) embroider a little picture that could then be made into a card. The card will stand up by itself and act as a sort of frame and the little piece of embroidery will warm her heart every time she looks at it . Anyway, I asked my middle child, Sebastian, (he's 5) if he wanted to do that. Surprisingly, he was pretty into it. I asked him what kind of a design he would want if he could pick anything at all and he said "a heart inside of a heart inside of another heart" so I made that in AutoShapes and traced it out onto a piece of an old shirt of his. I ironed it down to some interfacing and then let him pick out his floss colors. I showed him how to do the first couple stitches and then he went at it by himself. Here are a few pictures of him working hard:
He does pretty much everything in his underwear, so why not embroidery, heeehee.
Here it is once he finished:
It's obviously imperfect and obviously done by a small child, but that's what I love about it. It's SO a little piece of him, know what I mean? BTW, those are his initials (S H) and the year at the bottom. Anyhow, then came the card-making part of things. I just have this template thing that I got from Hobby Lobby that allows you to make a card and envelope out of any kind of paper. I let Sebastian pick out the papers for the inside and outside of the card and we glued them together (he loves to use a glue stick, heh). We then glued his embroidery to the front of the card (after ironing, of course) and it looks like this:
Then we glued a piece of craft paper to the inside and I had him write a little message to Nanny. I told him to write whatever he wanted. Here's that:
In case it's hard to make out, it says "Nanny, I love you with three hearts". Awwww!! Also, I think it's hilarious that he then wrote his name in the top corner like he was at school or something.
Lastly, we made an envelope out of craft paper and used a cutout of one of the leftover bits of paper to seal it. Here's that:
Ok, the best part? I had the pictures of him working on it printed out and put them in the card. I know she'll cry when she gets it. My mom's a crier. But, I'm not gonna lie. I teared up a couple times when I looked over at him stitching away and concentrating so fiercely on something for his Nanny. He'd take a break once in a while and then he'd say "Well, back to sewing". It was great! My oldest (she's 10) will do one next.
P.S. Sorry that some of the pictures are so crappy. It was cold and cloudy and we had to take them inside.
I'm never sure where to put stuff like this. It's applique, so I assume this is appropriate. But there's also a bit of stenciling. Eh, I'll just put it here and if it's in the wrong spot, I guess one of the mods will ask me to move it.
I made this for one of my daughter's best friends. She lives across the street from us and her birthday was this week. She's 9 and kids that age love having something that's a little more grown up. I figured that this was MATURE (you have to say mature in that awestruck yet condescending way that kids that age do) without being too grown up.
The broken heart/Band-Aid image was inspired by a random google image search. The splatter stripes were inspired by this post:
So, details. Obviously the heart is applique. I added some very simple and intentionally messy looking embroidered stitches to "mend" it. I also made the Band-Aid myself and I am ridiculously pleased with how realistic it looks. See?
I made it by sandwiching small squares of white scrap fabric (three layers) between two layers of Band-Aid colored scrap fabric. I then sewed around the little "bandage" portion to make it puff out more, stenciled the little dots on, and then just sewed it onto the heart.
All in all, this shirt was pretty simple. The hardest part was cutting all those little dots out of the freezer paper to stencil them onto the Band-Aid.