Thursday, April 24, 2008

Stripper Clothing

So it turns out I have spent the last several days making stripper clothing for my mother. Well at least it isn’t for me! The real story is my mother had shoulder surgery yesterday and she is going to have to keep from moving her shoulder for 6 weeks. This with other health stuff is going to be a challenge so Tim Gunn, the sewing machine, and I decided to try to modify some clothing that would allow her to dress herself.

So far I have three styles: long sleeve shirt with a zipper running up the arm, cap sleeve shirt with a zipper that completely separates the left side, and the stripper shirt.

The stripper shirt is my latest creation; it has Velcro that runs along the entire left side allowing easy disrobing. What can I say it amuses me to no end that I just made my mother break-away clothing. I’ll let you all know which she likes best.

And FYI she is doing pretty well post surgery. She is still in the hospital and in some pain but the surgery went well. She should be home this weekend.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Cutest Birthday Gift Ever!

Shh! It’s kinda a surprise. Okay it is a late birthday gift for part of the California Contingency who is in town tonight. I think I am safe to post this because she is escorting her grandmother to town and therefore will have no access to modern conveniences like computers and blogs.

I may be in love with this trio of zippy pouches. One traditional pouch made of cloth (anyone recognize that fabric?) and two re-purposed plastic bags. I particularly like the target pouch. I fused a clear bag on top make it stronger but I think it might have been happier without it. Still all in all I think it is super cute. The best part of the target bag is on the inside, I caught target’s suggestions for reusing the bag i.e. “doggy duty” and “soggy laundry” just to mention two.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Devil Really Is In the Details

Are you all sick of hearing about the green bag yet? It may not be a neglected craft project but it is a work in progress. My father, an architect, favorite saying is “a good house is never finished” this may also apply to the perfect bag.

After all that work on sneaking in the pockets it became clear that the pockets needed closures or all the stuff piled into them would tumble willy nilly into the world. The solution two closures: a snap for the expandable one and magnet closures for the metrocard packet.

Putting in the snap was pretty fun because I got to try out my new toy the Dritz snap maker. The snap is a little snug for my taste but I think it will loosen up over time.

For the metrocard pocket I didn’t want to loose the easy access but I wanted to still be able to keep it safe. A couple of years ago a friend gave me a roll of magnetic tape. It is supper thin with one sticky side. Up until now I haven’t been able to come up with a good use for it. But two stripes and a little fabric glue did the trick. It might be my favorite part of the bag now.

For now I am calling this project done, but I reserve the right to change my mind.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Last Minute Bat Mitzvah Flare

My guy and I are in the middle of April Event Madness. We have at least one event every weekend for the next several years; major events, dressy event, events we have to travel for. Why do all these things have to happen in such a short space of time? I was free most of February, even looking for a little fun, but alas no events in February.

Last night I had a minor dressing crisis as I tried to figure out what I should wear to a Long Island Bat Mitzvah. In order to really appreciate my frustration you must also appreciate that I have gotten quite used to my new uniform of old jeans and a t-shirt, I haven’t worn heals in months and I think I may be a better person for it.

After a call to my local Bat Mitzvah expert, my guy’s sister, I settled on a dress with a vintage suite jacket but something was missing. I needed a little color. Luckily my idea of a perfect Friday night is Thai food and whipping together a flower broach out of odd bits of material.

Here are the fruits of my evening; sorry this was the best photo I could get due to fog.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Craft Neglect

The thing about writing a craft blog is you can really get away with a lot of unfinished business. First, you can present yourself as all types of impressive for finishing projects left and right. Second, most people don’t mind progress shots. What you all don’t know is the stash of half finished projects hidden around my house: behind the couch, tucked in a basket, sitting in plain sight on my craft table.

A few years ago I took part in a Church of Craft exhibit on unfinished projects. We all hung a couple never-ending projects on the wall and then wrote a little bit about why we hadn’t finished them. Well I must confess, those two projects are still hidden away.

This morning I was reading one of my favorite craft bloggers, the Blather Magather, she like many crafters has a couple of larger projects languishing. She suggested that the Department of Neglected Crafts (DNC) was going to come beat down her door. I confess this sent a shiver down my spine when I thought of all those projects I have been neglecting for newer shinier ideas.

So in the spirit of full disclosure I thought I might share my top 10 abandon projects. Maybe if I talk about them I will remember how much fun they were and maybe the DNC will go easier on me…

Here it is my top 10 recently forgotten craft projects (mind you there are more, some so forgotten I can’t remember them):

  1. The Beast. Whom you have all meet. And with all those ends to sew in I say chances are slim for a fast finish.
  2. Brown Sweater. This is one of the sweaters from loop-d-loop. The sad part is it is really almost done. A mere few inches left till done, but I can’t remember what needles I used and then removed for another project so I need to rip out half the sweater and start again.
  3. Hyperbolic Baby Pants. See now the problem with this project was that it was really about the challenge of the knitting concept. I needed to see if the pattern making an odd tube could be turned into baby pants. Once I knit them and discovered with a little tweaking they could become baby pants I lost interest.
  4. Top Secret Sewing Project #1. This is a present for a faithful reader so lets just say this: there is some carefully picked out fabric, there was some cutting even some sewing but since an initial burst of energy there is sits, and it kinda has a deadline.
  5. Fused Bags. If I really showed you all the plastic bags I have around here categorized by color and weight you would ship me off to plastic bags anonymous.
  6. Green Mittens. I knit them over a day and a half. All that’s left is one thumb and some end sewing. I made them over a month ago and they have not moved from their last resting place since. And hey its spring right?
  7. Green Modular Crochet Sweater. This is a newer project. I started it this winter after chipping in with friends to buy this great Modular Crochet book. All the work on this sweater was done in about a week. I stopped because my wrists hurt and now it sits on top of my bookcase.
  8. Placemats. I made one, started a second but alas the second sits on top of my craft corner.
  9. Fingerless Gloves. I started these for a friend who lived in a really cold trailer. She no longer lives in a cold trailer-sigh.
  10. I-pod Case. This might be my worst offense yet. This is a project for my guy, my very patient, not frustrated that his apartment has been taken over with plastic bags guy. I ran out of the right kind of bag and despite him buying more yummy things that come in those bags I have not finished, or even really thought about it.

Okay, I admit I feel a bit dirty with this admission of craft neglect. Perhaps the worst part of my craft neglect is all those confessed to today have been ignored in the last year. In other words this is a mere sampling of years of craft neglect. So here’s the deal, I promise to finish at least one project on the list before starting the next. And you all have to periodically remind me that there are many lovely projects already started for me to work on.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Big Blue Pillows

I confess my mind has been on plastic bags lately. I have been fusing up a storm and eying the plastic bags my neighbors have in the elevator. But I appreciate that until I do a little more with the bags they won’t make a good post. So I thought I would dip into this winters archive of craft projects for today’s post.

We have a pretty big living room with limited seating so whenever we have folks over someone ends up on the floor, usually my guy. It seemed only right to make him some cozy pillows.

So I covered some giant pillows from ikea. And because I am apparently somewhat insane I thought it would be a good idea to put invisible zippers in so that I could take the cases off and wash them.

Here is what I learned: if you are going to put invisible zippers into pillow cases they should be as long as one edge, or just about as long as the edge. If they are say 4” short on each side and the pillow is very big you will find yourself in one heck of a wrestling match. Needless to say, these pillow cases are never coming off.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Rainy Day Crafting

I had kinda a hard rainy day yesterday. At first the best thing for the mean reds seemed to be laying in the dark watching my secret pleasure, How I Met Your Mother on DVD. And although Neil Patrick Harris did make things somewhat better, it became clear that some crafting was needed.

Rather then picking up some on going projects I tackled two very different projects. The thing they had in common: immediate gratification.

First Craftiness:

In some fit of being cooped up due to rain I wallpapered one of my bathroom walls in contact paper. Now I know this may sound very strange but you have to appreciate the truly crazy status of our very long and skinny bathroom. Not only can you touch the walls width wise without actually spreading your arms all the way but you can actually get dizzy if you spend too much time contemplating the odd pinkish mustard and black tile combination. I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out what color to paint the walls to make this situation better, only to succumb to being completely overwhelmed.

However, this contact paper somehow did the trick. A glue stick, exacto knife and two rolls did was all it took to make our bathroom have more of a homey feel. And as a special bonus, I think I finally figured out what color to paint the walls: a very pail nutty brown.

Second Craft Action:

We have an ever growing collection of bottle tops and wine corks. The wine corks I have a plan for (to be reveled later), but the bottle tops have stumped me up until today. I know they have good crafting potential but what, where, how?

I think I may have answered some of these questions: refrigerator magnets. I used a super strong adhesive and magnet to create these supper cute fridge magnets. The cork magnets are a little more decorative then useful. I tried to reuse the magnet that comes with the credit card junk mail. It wasn’t strong enough to do much once I cut it up. But they sure are cute and I do love cork.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

NY Times Zippy Pouch

At this point I think it is safe to say that we all know that I love to reuse plastic bags. However, cutting them up is kinda a pain. So I was really pleased when I discovered that people were fusing them into a stronger material and then using material to sew.

The folks at Etsy Labs have a great plastic bag fusing tutorial here.

I subscribe to the New York Times on the weekends and even though my building has a nice security guard (inside the building) to take the paper it still comes in a blue plastic bag. It is a very pretty color blue but it is no good to crochet or knit with, really I have tried. The material is too flimsy and stretches too much. Previous attempts to make things from these bags usually results in my cursing and kicking things. And despite all these short comings I can't bring myself to throw them out.

The Etsy tutorial suggests thinner plastic bags work betters so I thought I would give it a try, after all I seem to have an endless supply.

The fusing is pretty easy although the material is not as smooth as I thought it would be.

And yes Dad, I promise I opened all the windows in the house before taking the iron out.

After fusing it was merely a question of what to make out of this new found material. I admit I thought of cutting them up and then crocheting it into something but that seemed a bit masochistic, even for me.

So a zippy pouch seemed like the next best option. It was so much fun and so easy I think I am going to have to run out and get more zippers so I can make a ton more!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Combat Paper

I have been getting a lot of requests to resend the link to the combat papermaking so I thought it would be a good idea to post it here and then you all can find it whenever the urge strikes.
Click here for the website.
For those of you who don't know about combat paper it is a wonderful project started in Vermont that takes returning
Iraq and Afghanistan veteran's old uniforms and turns them into paper. Apparently it makes pretty cruddy paper but I think it goes a long way towards healing.