I’d seen some incredibly intricate soap molds online – the individual posting the pictures was wondering if anyone who had purchased some could verify the results were as beautiful as the product photos on the store site. No one knew. I don’t have any silicone molds that make a decent sized bar of soap. I’ve got a few that make really thin bars, and Anya loves the little bunnies and fairy. Scott has joked that I could improve some of my ‘cute’ crafts if I’d just put a dragon on it (I assume not a puffy baby dragon), and the seller has a number of dragon molds. So I bought a few molds and they were finally delivered!
Anya was so excited to see them – the soap was removed waaaaaay too soon and it hadn’t hardened. Unfortunately the intricate nature of the mold means your soap should be hard before unmolding. The upper right-hand corner broke off. But the soap is just as intricate looking and cool as the product picture.
I’ve seen various iterations of needle painting (thread painting, needle shading) and am finally trying it. While the technique isn’t difficult, it is seriously time consuming. Fortunately, Anya loves the butterfly thus far. I’ll probably make another shirt or two using this technique … but start with a size 6 or 7 shirt so she gets years of wearing it (and most of the embroidered shirts will either become a t-shirt quilt or appliqué patches on a larger shirt)
I finished Anya’s pencil pouch last night – she loves it!
With a special surprise:
She put her little toy cat into it to bring to kindergarten. A move that is especially goofy because I used to bring a toy cat to school with me (not my teacher’s favourite thing I did!) too.
When attaching the lining fabric, I left my 5″ gap along one of the hidden gussets. This means the generally visible interior seam is beautifully finished.
While the side gusset hides the hand-stitching in the gap:
Just like Anya’s backpack, I think the piping gives the pouch a finished look.
I finished quilting the pencil case exterior with a light blue thread. This thread from Missouri Star Quilt Company is fantastic. My machine is finicky, and some types of thread result in an ugly snarl on the bobbin thread side. There are a few tricks that help — proper thread tensions, realizing the bobbin thread comes off the right-hand side of the bobbin when it is inserted into the machine — but some threads are basically unusable. These stitches, however, are beautiful on both sides.
Next up – making the piping! If you have bias strips left over from other projects, homemade piping is easy and super cheap. I had about a yard and a half of blue checked double-fold bias tape from a quilt. I unfolded the tape to make a bias strip folded in half length-wise. I then took white 550 paracord (also on-hand from another project, otherwise you can find cotton cord that’s meant to be used in piping) and encased it in the bias strip. I pinned through the top of the cord to secure it to the fabric then used the edging/zipper foot to stitch along the cord, creating a loose piping. I hand-stitched the cord ends (paranoia, mostly … but it would really suck if the cord started to come out of the fabric casing!). The piping fabric shouldn’t be super taut at this point, but there shouldn’t be wrinkles or puckers. When the piping is inserted, the stitching will be closer to the paracord and make a nice firm piping.
Finished in part 3.
We got Anya’s first school list, and it’s got the expected dozen glue sticks and half dozen boxes of crayons. But it also has a pencil pouch for art class. Seems like an opportunity to make something cute and practical. Perusing the Internet for pencil cases, I happened across a pattern for a zippered pencil pouch.
I wanted to use the flower presser foot to stitch flowers around the pouch, but mine doesn’t work! The throw on the sewing machine arm isn’t long enough to advance the ring. I quickly drew out a diamond pattern.
And am stitching it with a blue thread to match the piping fabric.
Continued in part 2.
Still trying to work through the dimensions for Anya’s new bed. A twin bed is like 38”x75” – thinking 80” long with the headboard/footboard. Along the 15.5’ wall, that leaves like 8’ for the stairs, open floor space, fish tank, and door swing. Even if we needed to go a little longer to get the headboard/footboard, it should fit.
It’s the other dimension that worries me. With a 38” bed & another ~3 feet for the desk area, that’s just over 6’ wide … which gives a 3’ walkway between the bed/desk and hearth. But I worry that 3’ for the desk and chair area is going to be cramped – kids desk chairs are about 2’ square, and a 12” desk seems really small. Although L shaped desks end up having a lot of space, and having that second layer for more storage … maybe a 12” desk isn’t bad. I’d make the shorter part of the ‘L’ wider for paperwork and books. But a laptop computer will fit fine on a 12” desk.
The other question is height. I thought about doing the under-bed area as a potential walk-in closet … but the ceiling is only like 8’ high. And you don’t want to hit your head getting into bed every night. So that’s pretty much out. Doing the desk at 42” high and the bed platform at 48” – gives a little 5” platform for the mattress, plus the mattress height. But a 4’ hideaway might seem cramped. I’d rather a 5’ hideaway (desk at like 55”) … but that leaves 3’ from the mattress platform to the ceiling. Mattress itself has depth too. Now I was going to do the mattress platform the same width as the mattress so you’d sit up & swing your legs over to the desk platform to stand up. Which gives you 3’5” and that seems uncomfortable. A 42” platform means there’s 4.5’ to the ceiling. Wondering about a desk platform that is 3’ and pretty much close to square on the vertical wall – with the two tiers, the desk itself is 4’ & there’s a foot between that top desk level and the ceiling. Then 4’ for the hideaway, which gives 4’ for bed/sitting and 5’ to stand up next to the bed. No good for a teenager, but we’re designing a kid’s bed/desk … I’m sure she’ll want something else when she’s older.
I think we’re going to try laying it out in cardboard this weekend to make sure the footprint is reasonable & the platform heights aren’t head-bonking.
Anya’s Sleeping Bag – this is assembled and I am slowly quilting the bag. Very, very slowly 🙂
Warm Fuzzy Slippers – Two of three sets have been assembled sans the rubber bottom. Next up – making a larger husband-foot sized pattern
Holiday Circle Skirts – We have Halloween, Easter, and birthday skirts. I am still working on St Patrick’s and Independence Day.
Bed – a new project to make a bed/desk for Anya’s room
T-shirt embroidery – finished quite a few, but I’d like to get a few more size 5/6 shirts finished.
It’s about time to get a bigger bed for Anya. And a desk. She doesn’t have a particularly small bedroom, but one wall is eight foot of sliding glass door and another is fifteen and a half feet of closet / raised hearth / doorway. The third wall has four foot of doorway, where you stand to access her closet, and the remaining three feet house a bookshelf and her fish tank. This configuration greatly restricts the space available for beds and desks. Unfortunately most loft beds with desks underneath aren’t attractive to me. Then a random image in Pinterest had this desk/bed combo — storage under the desk platform and a hide-away under the bed platform.
I’m working out reasonable dimensions for the unit and hope to make one this spring.
I am finally making the pieced circle skirt my mom had found a few years ago. I’d worked out the proper dimensions and created a pattern to make an Anya-sized circle: t uses fifteen different cotton solid fat quarters. I purchased the fabric in half-yard cut, then cut each piece into a fat quarter so mom and I can make skirts for both Aisha and Anya.
I was hesitant to make the skirt until I was more adept with my serger. After making a Peppermint Swirl Dress, I felt a lot more confident serging these curved pieces.
The pattern pieces did not include a seam allowance; the allowance was added on the fabric. I also traced the pattern piece itself, then serged the pieces together with the needle farthest from the blade along the pattern piece’s line.
I assembled the circles instead of making wedges.
The concentric rings matched up well (Whew! That was a big relief … I was worried that I’d end up with a wonky misaligned mess).
I cut strips of each colour for the waistband and attached them individually to the color-matching circle to ensure the corners lined up. Once each piece was in place, I connected the different colors together. The bottom hem needs to be turned up and stitched, but I’ve got a gradient rainbow circle skirt!
We’ve been making suet and putting out seed for the birds, and I was thinking about making some nesting boxes this summer. In looking for ideas, I came across woodcrete boxes – a mixture of sawdust, concrete, and maybe clay. If I can figure out how to make a form for them, I think we’ll cast some woodcrete nest boxes this summer.