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!

Toddler Handknit Camo Beanie with Pom Pom

I’m not a huge fan of the Red Heart Super Saver yarns, but they make a great choice to save money when working on practice pieces.  Nothing is more frustrating than wasting an expensive skein of yarn on a project that comes out less than stellar.

My little nephew is always gone on Army posts, so I was inspired to make a little camo beanie for him.  I happened to have this Super Saver yarn on hand in the color Woodsy Sylvestre.  I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about how the camo pattern was working up, but from a distance, it really shows.  I think what really pulls it together is the pom pom.  I originally chose to leave it off as I’ve never been a big pom pom fan (although they’ve grown on me significantly).  It just gives it that extra level of cuteness I think.

I didn’t have a pattern to reference and I was just creating as I went along, so I’m really pleased that the measurements fit him perfectly!  I was so excited to try out my new pom pom maker as well.  It’s so much better than using a makeshift template or my hand like I used to lol!

Project Review: Accordion Coupon/Receipt Organizer

One of the goals I’ve set for myself is to work on projects consistently throughout the year.  I want to make sure that I’m working on SOMETHING weekly, even if my schedule only allows a few hours a week.  Not only is this great for working on technique and fundamentals, but it’s giving me the chance to learn new techniques and processes.  I had some extra time this week so I was actually able to start and complete a project, which is super nice because I’m the type that hates dragging a project out.  I’ve always loved working into the late hours of the night just to see the final product (my lovely eye bags are the unfortunate side effect that I’ve come to accept).

The most current craft I’ve been working on was a sewing project.  I found a pattern on Etsy for a small file folder/wallet that works great for organizing coupons, receipts, recipe cards, etc.  Link to the Etsy shop page can be found here if you’re interested in checking out all of the patterns offered.  It was a great choice because it features a few techniques I’ve always wanted to try but have always avoided, serves a functional purpose for my organization obsession, and is small enough not to spend a fortune on supplies (since it is a trial piece).  I was a little bothered at the instructions as they were not very descriptive, and there seemed to be a few errors which in a way messed up the first attempt.  I took my own notes along the way so that I can make proper adjustments when I make another one.  Although it didn’t come out as I hoped, it’s still functional so I’ll probably use it for awhile.  I also wouldn’t consider it a total waste because above all else, it was practice.  Not everything will work out on the first try, and the only way to improve is through failed attempts like these.

(Click pictures to enlarge/view captions.)

 

Why buy when I can DIY…

Super excited that I finally got around to finishing this project.  It’s something that’s been on my to-do list ever since we brought Karla home back in July.  With the adoption, we received a free collar and leash from the spcaLA that worked fine, and most importantly, didn’t cost a cent!  I quickly grew tired of looking at it, though, as I felt it was drab and didn’t give her any pizazz.  Yes, I could save myself the trouble and just buy a new leash for cheap, but why not make it personal and one-of-a-kind?

Although it’s kind of a basic project, it was a great way of getting baimg_2219ck into crafting/sewing mode while not breaking the bank.  It requires just a few supplies, and if you wait for the right sales or coupons, it’ll hardly cost a thing.  Since it’s small and only requires a few steps, I was able to finish in a couple of hours while watching the Boo save Gotham in Arkham Knight.  I used this really cute paw print fabric, but a strip of ribbon would work and be even faster.  I figured out a few little tweaks I will try out when I make the next one.  I got all of the supplies from JoAnn, and I have some leftover fabric so I’m thinking of making a matching treat bag or new collar to match.

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I swore I’d NEVER be one of THOSE people that make a fuss about my furbaby’s accessories, and yet, here I am.  I’ve already made a trial beanie and sweater that just needs some tweaking to the patterns for a little better fit.  I was so busy during the holidays that I didn’t have time to take progress pictures or blog about it, but I did post it to Instagram.  I was pleasantly surprised when the JoAnn Fabric and Craft account asked to repost it on their page!  Someone even asked if there was a pattern!  It definitely gave me a little confidence boost.  I hate the color of the yarns, but I just used some scrap yarn I had on hand since it was just a sample to figure out a pattern.

Feels good to get some practice in, while also making things that are useful!