Tag: Crafts

Aquarium Decorations

We’ve had goldfish in an outdoor pond this summer, but will bring them indoors for the winter. It’s starting to get cold at night, so seems like it is about time to get the aquarium set up. Anya picked this bag of day-glo rocks. The bag says you need 1-2 pounds of rocks for each gallon of aquarium. 30 gallon aquarium … and a 25 pound bag of rocks. So we needed a second bag. Talked her into mixing colours because I couldn’t imagine being a fish and looking at such bright stuff all day. Every day. (And then going into the completely earth-tone pond!). She picked black.

While shopping, there were a lot of plastic-looking decorations … but we’ve got rocks everywhere around here (and Scott’s got a collection of rocks too) and decided to build a cave and add some smaller rocks for decoration.

We took a two gallon pail and mixed the aquarium gravel. She ended up using about 80% black rocks and 20% bright, and it looks quite nice. I used two large rocks from Scott’s collection as pillars along the side. Then stacked some slate for a back pillar.

Placed a large piece of slate on top. Voila, a little fish cave.

Finally, we all selected some favourite rocks. Anya chose where they are placed – the smaller ones at the front centre are sofas and chairs for the fish 🙂

The rainbow under the tank is a quick runner I made for the top of the bookshelf. I didn’t want the piece damaged by the tank, so Anya picked the fabric (puzzle pieces). I cut two pieces, added a really thin quilt batting that isn’t thick enough to use for a bed quilt, made a quick quilted runner to place under the tank & ‘stuff’ (air pump, power strip).

Baseball T-Shirt: Completed

I finished Anya’s baseball t-shirt!

I sketched a quick heart in Photoshop, and drew in two lines of baseball-style stitching. The image was printed on Transfer EZE ‘paper’ using our laser printer (which answered the question: can you laser print on this stuff?). I then took a little scrap of quilt batting and laid it on the shirt. Placed a scrap of white satin on top, then stuck the Transfer Eze print onto the satin. It adhered quite well to satin – was a little concerned!

Put it in a hoop and embroidered the red stitching to hold the whole thing in place. I then trimmed the satin about a quarter inch outside of the heart’s lines; the batting was trimmed to be about a quarter inch smaller than the satin. Finishing the project was just needle turn appliqueing the heart to the shirt (using what amounts to a really short satin stitch).

The quilt batting really enhances the stitch definition for the red lines, and it makes the whole design puff out a bit from the shirt.

Baseball Shirt

Anya’s preschool class has “baseball day” on Friday, and they are to wear their baseball shirts. It’s an interesting assumption that everyone has a baseball shirt to wear. Three years ago, I happened across an Indians t-shirt on post-season clearance. It was a size too large, but she grows. Beyond my “you cannot go wrong with a 4$ t-shirt” purchase, we don’t have anything baseball related. I don’t particularly want to pay inflated MLB-licensed in-season (and the Indians are doing well) prices.

I picked up a bunch of blank t-shirts for embroidered designs, so I decided to make Anya a baseball themed shirt. She chose the green shirt, and I drew a heart and added baseball stitching. The black and white image was printed on this Transfer Eze paper that I love. Then I cut out a slightly larger heart of white satin and a same-sized heart from a very thin quilt batting. Laid out the t-shirt, centered the quilt backing, then affixed the Transfer Eze heart to the satin and laid it on top of the batting. Going with the quilting principal of working from the center out to avoid bubbles, I started with the red stitching. Now I’m using a satin stitch around the edge to needle turn appliqué the whole thing onto the t-shirt.

Furls CAL – Sun Hat

WooHoo! The sun hat crochet along finally reached the pattern stage! I used the same cream coloured yarn for the main hat, but have a slightly iridescent light green yarn for the accent. I’m thinking about making Anya’s hat in reverse – using the green for the main yarn with cream as an accent. Partially because I don’t like having the exact same thing and partially because inverting the colours uses the yarn more efficiently (otherwise I am going to have a heap of the accent colour left over!)

Round four completed:

I have trouble keeping track of the start and end of rounds — not a problem unique to this pattern, Anya’s star blanket was just as tricky for me. Easy enough to re-count the stitches on early rounds — and frogging a few stitches isn’t such a big deal. As the project progresses to the point where a round comprises 40 or 50 stitches, adding or missing a stitch is a pain to correct. I’ve tried using those little round stitch markers, and honestly I just don’t get it. If they had splits in the rings and could easily slip back off of the project … that would make sense to me.

I’ve come up with an easy method to keep track of rounds — a water soluble marker I use for marking dress patterns. Test it on your yarn to make sure it comes off completely (and mark in an inconspicuous spot just in case). Which stitch it makes sense to highlight will vary by pattern. Here, the chain stitch which starts each round does not count as the first stitch. I chose to mark this ‘skipped’ stitch. The round should end immediately before the marked stitch, and the first hdc from the round into which the last hdc is slip stitched is immediately after it. Chain one and mark again. See the little blue marks on the “inside” of the hat? Those are my ch stitches. Voila, two rounds without frogging anything 🙂

Peppermint Swirl Dress

I came across a new pattern this weekend – the Peppermint Swirl Dress from Candy Castle Patterns – that I absolutely love. I can think of a lot of combinations that are holiday specific — red, white, and blue Independence Day dress, or a red and green Christmas dress. But didn’t want a wear-once dress.

It would also be great for a single color with gradients — take eight shades and arrange them 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 7 – 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 (loop back to #1 at the beginning). *But* this dress takes a lot of fabric. Like five yards for a 5 year old kid. At ten dollars a yard, it’s a fairly expensive dress using two or three fabrics. Even if I could get half yards for the skirt segments and use Kona cotton solids at 6$ a yard … that’s around 50$ for the skirt. Which, unfortunately, makes it a special occasion type of outfit.

Maybe as I get more fabric scraps, it would be a neat use-the-scraps project. But, for now, I wanted to get two colours that could be worn pretty much whenever. And I’d rather not spend 10$ a yard 🙂 So I began searching for closeout fabrics. There are a TON of cool closeouts in the 4$-5$ a yard range, but finding two that coordinated well … not so much. I thought about getting a print and then picking up a coordinating Kona locally. But then I came across a sale on marbled fabrics. I should have a blue and cream marbles in a week or so. I plan to use the blue as the dress top, make some piping with the cream fabric to go along the neckline, and use the cream fabric for the sash.

Blindly Following Instructions

I purchased a table runner kit after the holidays. I’ve never done paper piecing, but I like the Mariner’s Compass patterns. It’s a technique I wanted to learn; and I wanted a clean, modern table runner for our dining room. I didn’t see a whole lot of modern-looking quilted table runners.

I’ve watched a couple of online videos showing the paper piecing process, and thought I was ready to give it a try. Traced the A variant of the block four times, cut all of the fabric pieces, and got ready to sew. I was halfway done the first block when I realized that the instructions have a point made of a blue piece and a yellow piece. Not a darker and lighter blue or a darker and lighter yellow. Checked the B variant of the block – same thing.

Well, that’s not right! I can see the intended result and it’s clearly got points that have a shadow effect created by using a darker and lighter shade of the same color. And if you combine two of the block units, you’ll have nothing but yellow/blue points.

I ended up re-writing the fabric to be used – and realized that there isn’t actually a B variant of the block anywhere in the thing. It is 8 identical blocks. A dark blue, light yellow/dark yellow, then a light blue. That light blue connects to the dark blue on the next block.

One of the challenges of working on something new … I don’t know enough about what I’m doing to question the instructions. Until it becomes obvious (and I have to cut new pieces to re-do an entire block!)

Overlaying Fabrics

I played around with overlaying fabrics – I used an organza with a silver snowflake design over a deep blue satin. The resulting color is a much lighter icy blue (pretty much what I was going for).

I had a lot of trouble handling the fabric – I cut the circles and basted the two pieces together at the waist and hem. I then used the lower baste-line to fold and hem the skirt. That worked well. For some reason, though, I could NOT get the waistband to attach. I ended up catching the skirt in the serger and slicing the fabric. There’s a fairly large (3/4″ wide by 3″ long) gash that I had to patch up right along the band. Not something you notice when Anya is wearing it, I didn’t have enough fabric to cut new circles, and it would look worse if I spliced in an entire wedge of the skirt.

The organza material is a little plastic-y, and difficult to work with. My original idea was to do a rolled hem on the bottom of both materials. Couldn’t get a nice rolled hem on a straight piece of sample fabric … so that was out. Once the organza was combined with the satin, it was pretty easy to work with. It doesn’t drape like cotton, though (hence my problem with the serger).

The end result, however, looks really awesome. And Anya loves having a glittery silver snowflake skirt.

Anya’s Easter Dress (2017) – Almost Finished

In fitting this dress, I decided to split the dress into a top and skirt to produce an outfit Anya can put on herself. As a dress, it was a little tricky to get into. I considered putting a zipper in the back, but she wouldn’t be able to dress herself.

Since the skirt is basically a circle skirt, I added a wide waistband with 2″ elastic. Done.

I’ve extended the lining (attached a strip of cream Bemberg lining material to the navy fabric which stops at the top of the white fabric).

Anya’s Easter Dress (2017) – Getting Started

I started making Anya’s Easter dress using the Kinley Cascading Flounce Dress pattern from Simple Life Sewing Company. I’m using a bright-ish blue main fabric with white Fairy Frost (glittery silver on white) as the underskirt. I have a navy blue Bemberg lining on the bodice – it’s a little dark, but it was something I already owned 🙂

I’ve got the pieces cut and am ready to start assembling the dress tomorrow.