Friday, March 16, 2012

Pajama Party!

I've spent my whole life wrestling with pants.

If I ever decide to write the next great American novel, that will be my opening line. But, seriously, it's totally true. I'm too tall for a regular length, to short for a tall length. My booty is too big for one size, but my waist isn't thick enough for the next size.

I ended up buying several pairs of men's boxer shorts back in the late 90's, and, I kid you not, up until last week, I still had all three pairs, and they were my go-to comfy jammies. They never really fit all that well and were always saggy-baggy, but better than tighty-wighty!

And then I put my foot through the seam of the first pair. they were so threadbare that the flannel just sort of disintegrated. Then, last night, I picked up a pair of socks off the floor and there went a second pair. I died a little inside.

So, I decided to bite the bullet and make my own p.j. pants that were long enough that I could lounge around and not constantly be "adjusting," and that had a high enough waist that I wasn't constantly "adjusting," and had an elastic waistband so I wasn't constantly "adjusting"... get the idea? Too much visual?

Anyway, here they are...
They're possibly the most perfect jammie shorts on the planet. I used Amy Butlers "Wide Leg Lounge Pant" pattern from her In Stitches pattern book... mainly because I made a pair of long pants with them a couple of years ago, so the patterns were already prepped on the freezer paper. But also because it really is a great pattern. :)

Apparently at some point, I had bought a whole bunch of this cute butterfly flannel:

By a whole bunch, I mean like 3 yards of the stuff! What was I planning on doing with it? Seriously, what do you use 3 yards of flannel for, other than making the perfect jammie shorts? Who knows.

Anyway, I was glad I had it, cause desperation was setting in, and I was fixin' to cut up a flannel sheet!

One more picture of me being super happy in my new jammie shorts. I didn't want to take them off after the picture. I kind of want to wear them forever:

I will never buy ill-fitting pajama shorts again. Watch out thrift stores... I'm on the hunt for flannel sheets!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Leather Lady

So, not working means I have a ton of time to craft... it also, unfortunately, means I'm going slightly crazy having no actual schedule or life requirements. I decided I need to start doing something to make me feel more like a productive member of society, rather than a dirty yarn lady, crouched up in her house in her jammies all day. :)

Thus, I decided, on the excellent suggestion of the Chicago Craft Mafia's facebook post, to take a leatherworking class.

The venue was the Chicago School of Shoemaking and it was a 2 hour class for $75, all materials included! Great deal, especially since I walked away with three awesome projects!

First up was this grey suede braided bracelet:

I saw them all over the workshop and was intrigued, as it was done from one piece of leather and the three slits were braided, and the piece sort of turned about so that it evened itself out. It was like magic to me. I'm still not sure I get it, but basically, I can unbraid and re-braid it over and over. It's like a toy in a piece of jewelry! Awesome!

Then the instructor turned me loose to design and create whatever I wanted. Seriously, no direction, no suggestion, just "decide what you want to make, create a pattern, and go!" So, I decided to start small and make a cuff. I was looking at some of the cuffs she had in the store, which were cool, but I wanted something a bit different. I decided to go with a corset cuff with a little bit of asymmetry and here is the result:

Why, yes I did set my own eyelets, thanks for asking. And I also cut the black leather lace myself. :) I think it's bad ass and I only wish I felt cool enough to wear it constantly!

With a little bit of self-confidence under my belt, I still had an hour left, and decided to make a clutch purse. It seemed a little overwhelming, until I drew out the pattern and thought through the logistics. It was basically like folding paper and attaching it with rivets instead of staples.

I used double cap rivets to attach the leather to itself, after gluing it with leather glue. Closure flap is reinforced with a lining and it closes with a snap. I'm slightly obsessed with leather, now, and may have to take some more classes!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Craft Overload!

I have been on craft overload for the last month. A whole slew of partners have received their items, so I can now share my craftiness:

First off is the iPod case I made for makaylalee. She collects fairies/fantasy things and wanted an iPod case, so I had to figure out a way to incorporate. I went with stenciled wings in gold and silver paint and pretty beads, buttons, and embroidery:

This is the front. Isn't that button beautiful!?

And the back:
Her initial and some pretty butterfly beads I had in my bead jar from one "imagined" project or another! Ha!

My other partner, Audio, collected hooplas (embroidery hoops as art pieces) and really likes space/Dr. Who/aliens, etc. So, I just happened to have some space fabric laying around... don't ask. And I went with a spaceman theme, as whenever I sketched an alien, it looked like a 5-year-old had drawn it!

And I thought it would be neat if it glowed in the dark, so I did some research and discovered that there is such a thing as glow in the dark embroidery thread. Who knew?! Anyway... it took me about 45 minutes to finally get a picture of it glowing in the dark. Who knew it would be so difficult? I think it looks totally cool:

Then, just as the other partner got a headband as her second item, so did each of these lovely ladies. Makaylalee got a fairy crown of flowers and leaves, fit for an elven princess:

And Audio got what was probably my favorite headband... a Dr. Who inspired one shiny Tardis blue fabric with "hello, sexy" embroidered on it, inspired by #11's love affair with his space ship:

The other swap I've been working on was a "creepy cute" swap, where I was again partnered with burstofpanties. I made her some potholders out of the fabric left over from making a baby quilt. Yes, I made a friend a Dia de los Muertos baby quilt... don't judge.

And a semi-matching apron out of this amazing sugar skull fabric:

Then, for probably the creepiest piece, a zombie finger chapstick holder. I found the pattern on Ravelry, and thought it was hilarious, so finally had a reason to make it.

I made a second keychain from an awesome cross-stitch pattern I found free from the creator of the Creepy Cute Crochet book. Love her, love her patterns. I went with Cthullu. I've never cross-stitched for real (I've made some of those cheesy things with the "x"s already printed on the fabric, but not actually followed a pattern from scratch).

It's done on size 14 cross stitch plastic so that it's nice and sturdy. I love the shading on him.

Then, I tried something totally new and made a monster clutch bag:

It's made out of fur, which I learned is really difficult to sew with, and lined with some funky bamboo-ey fabric I had laying around in the lime green color of his eyes. And, the most awesome part is that he has two snaps-- two magnetic snaps that go all the way through the fabric with these funky brads and don't require sewing. I love them and am now obsessed.

Finally, the piece de resistance, an amigurimi octopus:

Isn't she sweet!? She got into a bit of a scuffle with a crab and lost an eye, but still looks cute as ever with her little bow.

Anyway, that's everything... I know it's a lot, but I've had such fun making awesomeness, that I couldn't not share. :)

Friday, March 9, 2012

More Swappy Stuff

First off, I must show you the most amazing item I have ever received in a swap:

It is a polymer clay buddhist gnome. He's perched on a cute little box. I love him and have named him Bodwinkle the Jolly Monk of Haversham... Boddy for short. He was made by the amazing Makayla Jennings and I'm so amazed and humbled by her talent. Totally beautiful.

Now for my much more humble addition for one of my three swap partners. Her collectibles were Moons, Occult, and Halloween, so I went with moon and Halloween and did two small items for her. First is this little zippered pouch.
It was a definite learning experience, as I have maybe sewn one zipper in my life, and it was not into something with a lining, or on a curve. It turned out pretty well, considering, though it does have one little spot where it's a bit wonky. I also am not an adept embroiderer, so was pleased with how this moon came out, considering it's free-hand drawn and used this really fiddly "shimmery" second thread to give it a little sheen.

Ask me why I had random sparkley star fabric and gold star buttons... I won't have an answer for you except that I have craft shopping amnesia and sometimes leave JoAnn Fabrics with $50 worth of stuff that I have no idea why I bought or where it came from. At least I got some use out of them!

So, I also decided to do second items for each of my partners and decided to make fabric headbands for each of them. There was a really simple and straightforward tutorial and printable pattern at The Long Thread. For this one, I went with Halloween, because I had just enough scrap fabric left over from my Halloween Swap fabric to make this headband. I added the little crochet flowers to make it a little more interesting.

Finally, the requisite embarrassing "action shot of the headband. I actually does look quite cute and because it has elastic on it, it stays in place pretty well. I've made 5 more since this one!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Eco Craft Swap

Here is the latest swag I made for a craft swap. The theme was Eco/Hippie, and my partner was really into trees, so I tried to go with as many tree-ish things as I could. I also made some cat toys for her kitteh and some fun gift tags made out of recycled security envelopes, done with some paper cut-out stamps I had of a butterfly and a dragonfly. I may do that craft again for myself for gift tags at birthdays and holidays!

The one thing that my partner really wanted was a pair of fingerless gloves. I found some really luscious malabrigo worsted alpaca yarn in a colorway called dragonfly. pretty. And the gloves have a mild waffle-weave on the top of the hand.

Then I tried something a little different. I made these fun pins with three different buttons glued together and some fabric leaves made with scraps. They turned out pretty awesome, I think.

My partner had these fun tree appliques listed on her Pinterest board, but there was not a pattern for them. I ended up writing up a pattern and made them for her, and also sent her the pattern, as she is a crocheter, so she can make some more for herself if she wants.

Finally, my favorite thing that I made for this swap. I do not consider myself an embroiderer, but I saw a really neat faux bois piece on her Pinterest, and decided to try it out. I put her and her boyfriend's initials in the middle of the heart that is "carved" into the wood. I'm totally psyched with how it turned out, and hope to make some more. Wedding presents, anyone?

Dress Re-Do

Okay, the promised Dress Re-Do. Again, I don't have a before picture, but here is the after:
My creation is the pink one. Cute, huh? Considering it used to be floor length, had an underskirt that needed to be moved up for "poof" had a layer of kitty-mauled tulle on the outside, and was 4 sizes too big, I think Miss Haley looks BEAUTIFUL in the after. (of course, she always looks beautiful, but I'm partial.) Thus, $16.00 dance dress. Not too shabby, I'd say.