Autumn in August?

Ok, so I know it’s barely the start of August, but as most of you crafters and those of you in retail know, it’s basically already Thanksgiving.  Well, as far as the retailers would have us believe.  Even though it’s been this way for years and years already, I STILL get so shocked when I see stores roll out new seasonal merchandise at least 3 months prior.  And of course, there’s ALWAYS the grumblers complaining that it’s waaaaayyyy too early to be thinking about the upcoming season.

As much as I still get shocked, in a way, I understand the early jump start.  We’re constantly taught that the early bird gets the worm, right?  To stop being lazy, and that procrastination gets you nowhere.  That successful, organized people plan ahead, no?  If you think about it, if the stores waited until summer actually started before they set up summer themed merchandise, we wouldn’t have time to get the perfect swimsuit for our Hawaiian vacation.  We might not have the money all at once to get all of the awesome Christmas decor, and still have time to set it up and enjoy it long enough before it’s time to tear it all down.  As a crafter, you know it’s essential to start early in order to complete your projects in a timely manner.  The older I get, the more and more I try to remind myself that this early planning is much more beneficial, at least for me.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am such a bad procrastinator!  I’ve gotten better as I’ve gotten older, but it’s still something I work on and am trying to improve about myself.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve been surprisingly proactive when it comes to seasonal decorating.  Since switching jobs, I’ve had much more free time to get things done.  Now that all of the fall decor has rolled into retailers, my bank account hopefully won’t suffer!  Im such a sucker for the fall and winter months (you wouldn’t think so living in So Cal!)!

I’ve had a grapevine wreath in my stash for like 2-3 years now…seriously.  I made it a point that I was going to finally sit down and use it up.  I headed to my local Dollar Tree and grabbed a few great floral picks and pumpkins before they’re all gone.  If you’ve never ventured into a Dollar Tree, you’re missing out!  Now, obviously floral items from craft stores are going to have a bigger and somewhat better selection, but honestly, the Dollar Tree floral is pretty amazing!  I guarantee you, nobody will ever believe you only spent a few dollars!

*I hate the little bald spot above “give” so I fixed it after the picture was taken

The only *major* purchase was the tiny owl from Jo-Ann Fabric.  I had a roll of 2″ burlap in my stash that I cut up to make the mini banner.  I wrote out the message in sharpie to act as a guide for the black acrylic paint.  I was planning on using some heat transfer vinyl with my cricut, but I got too lazy.  In retrospect, I kind of wished I had used vinyl, but I still love it!

I really love how it turned out, and I can’t wait to make some more!  I want to put it on the front door already, but I know that’s pushing it!

Till next time!

Nik

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Handmade Faux Leather Shoulder Bag – Made From an Ardente Design Purse Pattern

Wow!  It’s basically been a month since I last worked on a purse!  So much has been going on that I just haven’t had any time to tackle one.  I’m super excited for this one because it’s the most detailed bag I’ve attempted in quite some time- maybe ever.

It’s also exciting because it’s for my own personal use! My current purse has served me well for a lot of years, but it’s just worn beyond it’s time.  The edges are peeling off, and the straps are falling apart.  I realized I better retire it before it falls apart while I’m out and about.

I normally try to create my items without patterns if I’m able, but sometimes it’s too much of a hassle trying to figure out all of the dimensions and steps.  I found a PDF pattern on Etsy from Ardente Design, so I was able to get started on it right away.

The pattern itself was a little…frustrating.  There are a lot of important details not mentioned and a few differences in lingo that could really confuse a beginner.  Some areas really took me a moment to sort of “decode” what the instructions were trying to say.  The upside is that there are a lot of pictures provided to help.

For the bag, I tried to use as much fabric that I had on hand already.  I used a soft, tan vinyl for the main body, a linen remnant for the main lining, and a plain beige broadcloth.  All fabrics were purchased from Jo-Ann Fabrics.  I was so fortunate to have zippers on hand already as well!


My favorite part of this pattern was making the straps!  I LOVE the technique and I know I’ll definitely incorporate it into future bags.


I wanted to use the black and white linen for the entire lining, but since it was a remnant, there wasn’t enough.  I think the beige fabric ended up giving it an interesting contrast so I’m pleased!

Surprisingly, the part I struggled with the most, was the smaller zipper pocket in the main lining!  I don’t know if I was just too tired, or the linen moved too much, but I had to put it away for the night or else I was going to throw it out the window!!  The next day, I ended up ripping out the stitches and starting again.  It was worth it!


Overall, I love it.  It’s super sturdy with lots of room.  However, I do wish it was slightly smaller.  I wanted a large shoulder bag, but it’s just a little wider than I thought it would be.  Can’t wait to make another one!

Handmade Mini Quilted Suedecloth & Faux Leather Tote Handbag

I hate when I get the urge late at night to start making something because I just know I’ll stay up waaaaay too late working on it.  Of course, that was the case last night.  The result, this mini quilted handbag:


You wouldn’t believe, but this started out as something COMPLETELY different.  I was just sort of “wingin’ it” so it’s no wonder it ended up totally opposite of what I originally had in mind!  I’ve been wanting to do a large shoulder/tote bag out of this material so this made a great miniature mock up.  

This was the first time making handles like these, and it was easier than I thought.  It wasn’t wise however, to attempt sewing them on while being so tired.  What a pain to put on!  It also didn’t help that I had to put them on once the main body of the bag was already constructed (due to my “wingin’ it”).


I can’t wait to make a full size quilted tote, but next time I’ll be more prepared.  It would be super cute to add some rivets, a snap closure, and a pocket inside.

Stay tuned!

Black Vinyl/Faux Leather Bucket Bag

This is one of those projects that seems like it’s on the right path until you get about half way done, and realize you want to throw it across the room.  Even though it came out basically how I envisioned, there are quite a few things that need to be fixed.

I even went back and forth on whether it would just be a shoulder bag…no, a bucket bag…wait, shoulder? No, definitely a bucket bag.  Lol most of this happened because I was too lazy to write and plan out my process before starting.  The whole point is to build prototypes and patterns anyways so it’s not entirely a bad thing.

Overall, I’m happy it worked out and I know I’ll be super pleased once I make the necessary tweaks that will really up the quality of the handbag!


Brown Faux Suede Fringe Clutch Handbag

Stayed up waaaaaay too late last night working on this clutch.  It took me so long just to get motivated to start, but once I did, I couldn’t stop.  The original vision I had in mind was for a crossbody bag, however I didn’t have any matching hardware to make it possible.

This was the first attempt using both faux suede and fringe in a sewing project.  It was surprisingly easy to work with.  I didn’t need any special needle and my regular machine foot worked fine.

The whole basis for the clutch was actually because I wanted to use the Aztec print fabric that I used as the lining.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE it for some reason.  Even the woman at the cutting table was drawn to it and wasn’t sure why.

I love that it is colorful and fun, and stands out so well against the faux suede without being overly bright and loud.


I still have some faux suede left over so I want to play around with it and see what else I can come up with!

Handmade Baby or Infant Onesie Part 2

Just a quick post for the second handmade baby onesie I just finished.  This time I chose to use the sleeveless style from the same Mammacandoit pattern found HERE.

I decided to use the same main fabric instead of a woven for the snap area, and I like it much better.  It was a little more difficult to maneuver, but I prefer the way it looks.  It also caused a difficulty when putting the snaps on because it was thicker, but they came out more aligned and more neat than the first onesie.

I wish I had enough matching thread to use in the serger, but I wasn’t about to go buy more just for one project.  Considering it won’t show, the white was fine and more importantly, I didn’t have to change the threads!  

I thought I picked out the same knit material, but I soon realized this one was much thicker and stretchier.  It was a little bit more difficult to work with so I did get some pinching and bunching in some areas.

Loving making these and I hope more of my friends start having babies so I have an excuse to make more!  Next up, I’ll try out the long sleeve style when I pick up more fabric!

DIY Dog Harness Part 3: St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Karla is celebrating in style with her new shamrock dog harness.  I surprisingly like the green color on her!

I was originally going to use plain black on the backside (which helps make it reversible), but I was lazy and wanted to cut the pieces out all at once.

I want to start finding new parachute buckles to use because the current choice is too bulky looking.  I want to figure out a different pattern so that I can make it adjustable for a better fit.  I’ve been pressed for time though so I just used the same design as her Valentine’s Day Dog Harness.

I made a few adjustments to the fit and shape, but it’s basically the same.  I also used a different batting and I think I like it better than the fusible one from before.  It gives better shape to the harness in my opinion.


Overall, the design and fit (and sewing neatness) still need some work but she’s comfortable and it is fully functional!

Pom-Pom Mania Kit: Create your own pom-pom animals

I got this little pom-pom kit as a birthday gift this time last year, but I had yet to try it out.  It comes with a booklet of 8 different little pom-pom animals to try, and it includes the supplies to make the hedgehog.


It gives easy instructions and explains how to make them without the need for a pom-pom maker.  This makes it both handy and inexpensive, as well as a great option for a quick gift.  I happened to already have a pom-pom maker so I just used that.


Other than the yarn and felt provided, a tiny bit of craft glue is needed to attach the felt pieces.  Rather than photocopying the felt templates and tracing as suggested, I just eyeballed cutting out the shapes and it worked just fine.

I think he’s a super cute little guy, and if I had more yarn colors, I’d make the others.  I don’t really have a personal use for him, but he’s so cute he needed a home.  I gave him to my mom to use as a dashboard guardian for her car lol!  Because of the ease of use and minimal supplies needed, I think it’s a fun craft to try if you’re looking for something to feel a little crafty.  It takes hardly any time, and is great when you get the need to just make something but you don’t want to drag everything out.  It’s also a really great idea for kids!

WIP Wednesday: Do you have multiple WIP’s?

Like most crafters, I have a couple of projects going on simultaneously.  Sometimes it’s from the boredom of working the same item hour after hour, sometimes creative block forces you to take a break, or if you’re like me, you just have so many different things you want to tackle all at once!

Another reason that I’ve noticed is as simple as giving my body a break.  Working a craft such as knitting for example, tends to use the same muscles constantly, and for each project.  I feel that when I’m starting to feel too tense or tired, switching gears to a different medium helps by engaging different muscles and creative visions.  Anyone else feel the same way?

As of right now, I’ve just been posting finished objects (FO).  I enjoy seeing all of the work in progress (WIP) posts from other bloggers, so I thought maybe I should join the fun.  It’s cool to see the progress from week to week, and give people a sneak peak of what you’re working on.  Many times I tend to finish projects quickly, so this may only happen whenever I’m working on a knitting or crocheting project since those usually take me longe
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This week’s WIP is a knitting project, specifically a beanie.  I’m trying out a sock yarn for the first time and man is is time consuming!  I’img_2687ve never used needles smaller than a size 4 and this yarn requires size 2!  I feel like it takes forever to finish a row.  I’m working it flat instead of in the round because I wanted to use a tubular cast on.  The thought of trying to work the foundation rows in the round with that many stitches made me cringe.  It’s hard to see the stitches because they’re so small, but I LOVE the clean stretchy edge of a tubular cast on. It’s so great for beanies.


 

 

 

I tried to adjust the picture to show the stitch detail, but it ended up altering the color.  I’m using Deborah Norville Serenity Sock Weight in the color Black.  Since this is the first time testing out this yarn, I think it’s a little too fine for this project.  I think if I were to double up and use two skeins at once, it may have given a more desired thickness.  I’ll just stick with it as is since I’m too lazy to redo the tubular cast on, and I’ll try it as a small swatch before beginning again.

 

DIY Dog Harness Part 2: Valentine’s Day

Super excited that I was able to fit in TWO fully finished sewing projects this week!  I’m trying out a few different ways to get the perfect fit/style for Karla’s dog harness.  For Round 2, I really wanted to make her a cute Valentine’s Day themed harness (mainly so I could browse all of the cute seasonal fabrics at JoAnn’s).  This dog harness was a major improvement from the first trial, and I can see a few more areas I’d like to adjust.

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DIY Valentine’s Day dog harness with parachute buckle

I ditched the velcro closure and opted for a parachute buckle, which makes the harness way more secure and sturdy.  I didn’t have the adjustable piece for the buckle so I had to make sure the nylon strapping was made to fit.  It’s okaayy, but I think on the next trial I will go ahead with an adjustable option to make for a better fit around her rib cage.  I think the neck strap needs to be shaped a little better as well (although I like that it is a little loose so it’s not choking her).  For the chest/belly strap, I thought I was going to like bringing more of the fabric up around her back, however, I’m still deciding if I’d prefer it shorter with longer strapping.

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Closure across dog’s back…buckle feeds through top strap loop (not shown) before connecting closing buckle

I also added an extra layer of batting inside for extra warmth and comfort.  I also like that it gives the harness a more soft and cushioned look overall:

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Chest/belly side of dog harness includes layers of batting sandwiched between the outer fabrics. Provides comfort and gives shape and stability.

Overall, I’m really happy with this trial harness.  It was totally functional and gave her plenty of movement to run freely.  Hopefully, I can improve this piece even further, and settle on a standard harness pattern with a perfect fit!