Monday, December 12, 2011

Thrifting finds

Every time we head to Lethbridge area to visit my sister-in-law and her family, we schedule some time in to go thrifting.  Not only is my sister-in-law reeeaaally good at it, the secondhand shops in Lethbridge are AMAZING! Check out our finds:

Hubby came with us, which was an unusual treat, and found this vintage brown leather coat:

When he asked my opinion, I told him he needed some pointy brown shoes to go with it, and he promptly found those too!

Of course, I can't go into any secondhand store without checking out the books. Here's the finds:

Lots of good stuff!

I also found a vintage Transformers bed sheet, which will be turned into something for the little man (pajamas?) and some gorgeous embroidered pink eyelet fabric.  Looking forward to sewing something summery and flowy for Olivia with that

I also picked up some doilies (project in the works, don't worry! I don't drape them over my furniture!) a plaid scarf and a vintage Creative Circle ornaments kit (my mom had these same ornaments!)

The plaid scarf was made into a kilt for Olivia:

and the ornaments were completed and hung on the tree:

I also picked up another sweater on a different thrifting trip and made another sweater dress (like this one, except with a split neck rather than a turtleneck)

Lots of fun! And there's something so satisfying about using thrifted materials to craft, isn't there?!!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Handmade Birthday Calendar

So this past weekend we had our gift exchange with my side of the family.  The adults did a Chinese gift exchange as usual, and the theme was handmade/secondhand/re gifted... and I had so much fun coming up with and making my handmade gift! I decided to make the perpetual birthday calender I saw on Pintrest (link here) Here's my completed project:

Obviously the person receiving the gift would want to choose whose birthday to remember, so I just made 'people' for the grandkids since they'd go on everyone's calendar anyways.

To make the people, I picked up some game pawns from Windor Plywood. A lot of game pawns. My sister married into a huge family, and I wanted to make sure this gift could work for everyone. Unfortunately they were already painted, which made repainting them a bit more work since I had to do multiple coats.
 I started with painting all the heads flesh coloured. I then added the hair and features (half of the pawns are girls, and half boys, and I did half blonde and the others brown haired) The bodies were then painted red and blue. I drilled small holes in all the heads, and added small hooks (all facing left - I'll tell you why later ;)
I added the hooks at this point to make it easier to coat them in polyurethane. Instead of painting them each individually, I dipped them in the can, then hung them to dry. Don't they look cute all hanging there? They ended up with a dried poly 'drip' on the bottom of each pawn, but since I'd be drilling another hole in the bottom anyways, I didn't worry about this so much.
Once all the pawns were painted, hooked and polyed, I drilled another small hole in the bottom of each pawn and added a small eye, which was set perpendicular to the hook.  And why did I do this? So that when the pawns were hanging they'd all face out! (see, I DO think ahead once and awhile!)
 And here's all sixty pawns all ready to be named:

I picked up a ready made plaque (yes, I cheated a little) and painted it in a kind of neutrally-wood-grain colour (so it would work with all decors) To make painting easier, I stuck four push-pins in the back side.
Using my brand-new Cricut (!!!) I cut out the text and the decals in black vinyl, applied them to the plaque, and polyurethaned it.

Some more drilling and adding of hooks and the whole thing is DONE! I'm thinking I have to make one for myself now :)

And because I'm such a dork, I also made a custom box for the whole shebang so it would look all pretty when unwrapped:

Is anyone wondering what the hubby made for this gift exchange? Sorry, I'm gonna show you anyways:
His minimalist, modern clock. TA DA!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Homemade Birthday Gifts

My sister's kids have their birthdays on the 22nd and 25th of December.  I know. Great timing. And I sort of started a tradition for myself of making their birthday gifts, since we usually buy their Christmas ones. And this year was no exception! For the big 6 (!) year old, I found this Geologist Kit idea on Pintrest. I sewed up a vest and freezer stencilled his name on the front and 'Jr. Geologist' on the back:

To go with the vest, Ashton and I put together a rock collection box for him:

and filled it with special rocks from Scholar's Choice, as well as a magnifying glass:

He has a rock collection already which he can add to this.  If I remember correctly, the rocks are (clockwise) assorted treasure rocks, an obsidian arrowhead, a geode which he can break open, agate, peacock ore, and pyrite (fool's gold) As you can see most of these came with little slips of paper describing them.  Educational AND fun!

For the 3 year old (who is singing happy birthday around the Christmas tree and trying to blow out the lights - poor girl!) I sewed up a dress using Burda #9740 and some funky Ikea fabric.  I've been hesitant to try out any of their fabric since it seems so heavy, but once washed it's like a lightweight denim.

And since no 3-year-old gets all that excited about clothes, I whipped up a little crocheted bunny to go with it (using this pattern)

I think I have more fun coming up with and making their gifts than they have receiving them!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Peg dolls

After seeing Simple Simon & Co 's post showing off the peg dolls made for her son I fell in LOVE! Not that I particularly love Star Wars or Harry Potter, but I thought these little hand painted dolls were the cutest thing EVER!  And since my nephew is developing an obsession with Star Wars, I thought I'd throw some together to go with the Christmas gifts.  Some for the never-watched-the-movies Star Wars obsessed nephew, some for the almost-3-year-old niece, and some for Ashton, who caught me making them:

Aren't they fun? Here's the princesses: Ariel, Aurora, Belle, Snow White and Cinderella. Not sure how well she knows the characters, but she's already started a collection of Calico Critters (aka MapleTown - remember them?) so I didn't really want to do a dollhouse family.

Here's the Star Wars guys: Stormtrooper, Yoda, C3PO, R2D2, Darth Vadar, Luke, Han Solo and Princess Leia (I've never actually watched the movies start to finish, but I think these are the 'main' characters, right?)

And Ashton's: a knight, cowboy, superhero, pirate, Robin Hood and construction worker.  I did these while he was in bed, and wrapped them pretty cleverly I think, but he's still saying 'Oh! These are my superhero guys!'  The kid knows exactly what he's getting for Christmas.  Not sure if that's good or bad...

All of them are painted with acrylic paint (not the faces) and coated with polyurethane for durability. Aren't they CUUUUTE?!?!

Glycerin toy soap

Yet another Christmas idea! This summer at the St. Albert market, I came across a vendor selling various bath products including clear glycerin soap with toys inside.  Ashton picked out a car:

and I was amazed at how it motivated him to wash his hands after every bathroom use.  He took it in the bathtub once, but for the rest just used it for hand washing.  Well, the car is now excavated, so I thought I'd make him another one.  And the rest of the nieces and nephews too.  After all, how hard could it be?

Turns out, it could be pretty hard if one doesn't know what they are doing.

I picked up some soap with glycerin as one of the ingredients, thinking that 'this'll be a cinch! just melt it down, pour it in a container and there you go!' I had read somewhere that you can melt down soap in the microwave.  One bar got burnt that way.  Burnt soap, who knew? Alright then, no microwave.  I'll just grate it down and melt it on the stove like I do when making laundry detergent.  Not as much water though, we want it to still be solid. Nope. After gingerly adding more and more water, I wasn't getting any melting, just lumpy chunks (or is it chunky lumps?).

Hmm...this is going to take some googling.  So after coming to grip with the fact that this might take a bit more effort than first thought, I began my search.  Found a couple great websites on soap making, learnt some soap making terms, and I was back on track. (The websites I found most helpful for this project are here and here.)

Okay, since I live in hicksville central, there's no way I could get my hands on some 'melt and pour' soap supplies, and I wanted to get this done since we were going to visit some of the clan the next week, I visited the local Rexall and picked up some REAL glycerin soap.  The stuff that actually looks clear and can easily be scored with a fingernail.  Then a stop to the liquor store for some vodka (to use instead of water - although it could be used to ease frustrations too ;) I'm thankful that I had read something about melting down in a crockpot instead of on the gas stove, because it probably wouldn't even have crossed my mind that the alcohol fumes would ignite. I cut the soap into cubes, added a bit of vodka, and set the crockpot on low, stirring occasionally.  When I saw how easily this soap melted, I realized I probably could have gotten away without the vodka, but no chances were taken this time around!

Here's a pic of the supplies beforehand, minus the soap:

Lego men for the boys, little ponies for the girls and cheap dollar store containers for the moulds.

I poured a small amount of soap into the moulds and let it harden before adding the toys so they wouldn't sink to the bottom. When that had solidified I placed the toys, and poured the soap to cover them.  A couple hours later I could push the bottom of the containers and the soap just slid out!


Some of them are a little bubbly since I was almost running out of soap so I had to remelt the trimmed edges a few times.  Here's a side view, I don't like the definite line from the first pour, but what do you do?

I hope all the kids enjoy them! The kids that we visited last weekend seemed to, although the boys are a little older, so didn't have the patience to wait for their Lego men.  They decided to take a bath and dig them out instead! (And to tell you the truth, I kinda expected that :)

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Hand sewn felt doll

Yet ANOTHER idea from pintrest.  Found this link and I thought they were so gorgeous that I just had to make one.  I mean, don't they look simply amazing?

So I delved into my substantial stash of felt and got going!  I haven't hand sewed for awhile, but found it strangely rewarding...I could actually do other things at the same time!  Some things turned out a little wonky, but all in all I'm pretty pleased with it. Here's the pics:

She's so pretty - no name yet...Hmmmm

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Kids on the walls

No, my children are not climbing the walls, but I'm sure that will happen soon enough.  Remember those pics I took back in July? The ones I showed you here ? Well, they're finally up on the wall.

I printed the photos at McBain's on canvas.  The gallery wraps are pretty expensive, so I just got the canvas, then put them in some frames without glass.  The effect is pretty nice:

I also did the kids' silhouettes.  I took a photo of their profiles, then edited in photoshop and printed to transfer to a canvas board. They were then mounted on a plaque spray painted gloss black.  REALLY like these, but they'll have to be updated every once and awhile just like photos.  I think I took the photo of Olivia when she was about 4 months old, and I can really see the difference!

(and no, Olivia's head is not defomed, she got that extra bump from my dad...we like to call it her extra brains!)

Friday, November 04, 2011

Cat in the Hat twirly skirt

Sewing and crafting supplies all over the place. Olivia eating stray threads. House is a mess (okay, that last one is pretty normal) What does this all mean? Christmas crafting has begun! It might seem a little early, but I usually start planning in September.  That doesn't mean I go shopping them, but I write down a list of who will be receiving gifts, and decide what to get them.  And this year, that means MAKE for them! Some of the gifts will be store bought, but I'm trying to make as many as possible this year...I even convinced my side of the family to do a handmade/secondhand/recycled/upcycled/regifted Chinese gift exchange (those choices should cover everyone, right?)

My niece and nephew have birthdays on the 22nd and 25th of December, so instead of exchanging gifts on Christmas Eve (that used to be our tradition) we have Sinterklaas. That's a dutch tradition where gifts are exchanged on the 5th (or, in our case, whichever Saturday is closer)  Did you know Sinterklaas was the original Santa Claus?

So, anyways, I'll have lots of fun sewing and crafting stuff to show you over the upcoming weeks!  To start with, here's a skirt I made for David's niece, who looooves the Cat in the Hat!

  She's almost 2, but apparently more like a size 3/4...whoa!  Since I don't know exactly what size she is, I did a kind of drawstring waist so it will fit her for a long time (it even fits Ashton, although he didn't want me to take a picture.  I wonder why?)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Upcycled Sweater Dress

Really easy project which costs practically nothing! I visited the thrift store and picked up this ladies turtle neck:

Using a dress from Olivia's wardrobe as a template, I cut out the front, back, sleeves and neck.  I didn't add seam allowances since this knit is reeeeally stretchy:

With the wrong sides together, I sewed the shoulder seams:

Then pinned and sewed the neck:

Then pinned and sewed  the sleeves onto the dress:

Then sewed the sleeve seam down the underarm to the sides of the dress:

And TA DA! That's all there is to it!  I even picked up another thrifted sweater which is waiting in my huge project pile...such a comfy, pretty fall outfit!  Here's the little princess 'modeling' it.  Although it would be nice to get a better shot of the dress, I'm in no hurry for her to start running around!