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

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!


Woodland Creatures Minky Baby Blanket with Satin Blanket Binding (FO)

Had to resist posting this FO for a little while since it was a gift for a recent baby shower, and I didn’t want the parents to see it on social media.  A super sweet couple are expecting their first child (a boy!), and I LOVE having a reason to make baby things!  Not only is the fabric selection for babies insanely amazing, but making tiny sized items is so adorable and fun.  I think it’s also practical because babies go through so many things that you can never have enough on hand.  Also, who doesn’t love one-of-a-kind items?I love the sentimental value things can have, especially when you’ve grown up and you look back at all the things your parents saved from childhood.  I still have my baby blanket that someone made for me, and I never forgot about it growing up.

For this project, I heard they wanted to go for a kind of “woodland creatures” theme, so when I saw this fabric I thought it was perfect!  I like that it’s not the typical color scheme for baby boys, but it also made it a little more difficult to decide what coordinating colors I liked best.  There was not a huge color selection of Minky fabric or blanket binding at my local fabric store so I decided to make the blanket using variations of mint/green only.  I think the slightly darker blanket binding makes a great contrast to both the main and back fabrics while keeping it from looking too “matchy-matchy.”

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This was also my first time attempting to use satin blanket binding, and yes, it was less than a perfect attempt.  It’s slippery against the fabric, and being satin, I didn’t want to use pins out of fear of causing snags.  These binder clips did an ok job of keeping the layers of fabric in place between the binding, but there was still a good amount of movement and lots of adjusting.  I’m not usually a fan of using zig zag stitch often, but for this type of binding, I really do think it is a benefit to the construction as well as to the look of the item.

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The only difficult part of using this type of binding is turning the corners.  Not bad for my first try, but being the perfectionist I am, it drove me crazy!!  It is difficult to keep the corners mitered perfectly without pins, but also making sure the top and bottom are lined up so that both layers are seamed up together.  This did not happen for any of my corners so I always had to make a second row of zig zag stitches parallel to the first row.  Thankfully, it’s not super noticeable, and it also makes the seams more durable. LOL!

Another issue to pay attention to is that you are keeping your blanket edges pressed against the crease of the binding, especially when turning the corners.  I messed up one corner and it threw the rest of the binding off a bit.  It caused an elongated point to form, and it also wrinkled up the binding much more than before it got off track.

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Overall, I really like the idea of using this type of binding.  It takes a little practice to get the corners correct, but you get a clean fancy edge and you don’t lose any length or width by having to account for seam allowances.  I have one more coming up (for another boy!) so hopefully I’ll be able to work out some of the kinks and get an even better binding.

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!

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!

Back in the groove…

It’s been waaay too long since I’ve posted on here.  There’s always so much going on this time of year, and so much that I want to get done, but there’s never the time!  I’m sure most can relate.  The great thing with working part time however, is it has freed up SOME time to finally get back into crafting.  What’s even better is I now work along fellow crafters so I feel so motivated in my time off.  I’m trying to fit in small quick projects here and there, just to get back in the swing of things.  I feel like going years without making a single thing has really set me back creatively as well as technically.

Anyone who knows me will tell you exactly what an over the top perfectionist I am, especially when it comes to crafting.  One of the hardest things so far has been struggling to regain that muscle memory and get my technique back. I feel like I’m starting from square one again sometimes, but I know I’ll get there!  Going back through my reference books is helping, but it is a little frustrating to not remember many of the things that were once second nature.  I can’t wait to really make this a huge, vital part of my life!