November 29, 2010
a sequel to my earlier fabric flower post...
I was getting the glass to be brought to the glass container ready when I came across another of those clear glass juice bottles. I put it aside as it was exactly what I needed for another fabric flower project I 'd been thinking about. So on Friday afternoon, when I was done with all my chores I started on this fabric bottle cover. (I seem to have a penchant for covers on anything lately) Initially I planned on using a different type of fabric but I could immediately tell from the way the fabric draped around the bottle that it wouldn't work out the way I wanted, so I went looking for another type of fabric instead. In the back of a closet, I found some long forgotten sheer cotton fabric I once bought to make blinds for the kitchen windows of a house we no longer live in (no need to add I never made those blinds, I guess). I cut off about 30cm, enough to cover the bottle and make flowers from strips. Then, I simply draped the fabric in a single layer around the bottle and hand stitched the seam, with the bottle still in it for a perfect fit and gathering the fabric here and there to get a ruffled look. With the excess fabric near the top I made a first rose. Next I ripped strips from whatever was left to make the other flowers and I sewed them right onto the bottle cover (I didn't even bother to take the bottle out).
Making the bottle cover took me way less time than finding the right berries. I knew exactly which ones I wanted but I had the hardest time finding them. As a matter of fact I bought two large branches of them and cut of two twigs for the picture. The two big branches are now sitting in big vase on a drawer in our living room and I love it. It gives that winter - Christmas feel ( the outdoor temperatures are flirting with zero degrees Celsius which certainly helps). I like to have flowers in the house, but with the heating on they simple don't last that long. So, I hope the berries will last a little longer than just a couple of days...
And as to the bottle - it would make a nice little present and definitely would add that little something to any dinner table, don't you think?
November 24, 2010
I briefly mentioned it here and also here, this little project of mine. I didn't feel like going out, but was dying to start on something new. Instead of running to the store for yet another piece of fabric, I started rummaging in my closet.
One of the first things I came across was the bag where I keep my fabric scraps. It's a huge bag, by now. As soon as I pulled it out I knew what I wanted to get started on. A quilted table runner! I have deep admiration for all those quilters out there. The real ones. The ones who make these huge blankets, meticulously, patiently, with no mistakes. I have been willing to make something quilted for the longest time, but I never started because I know that I won't succeed. You see, I'm not good at doing the same thing over and over again, I'm not good with repetition, at sticking to the book. Not when I'm sewing. I get distracted too easily for making these huge patterned blankets. I need immediate gratification, too. Given that and the fact that I had a bag full of scraps, of different sizes, I decided to go for some freestyle instead. And I had fun at it! All afternoon I kept on cutting pieces in smaller pieces, combining them just the way I felt, sewing them together, pressing the seams, cutting some more, adding... until I ended up with this. This table runner is my year in scraps...
It's a bit crooked, I know, but that's part of the free style (lol) and I like it, to the extent that the prospect of tomato sauce being spilled on it made me change my mind! I won't use this as a table runner. I don't know what I'll be using it for instead - maybe I'll just hang it somewhere, until I grow tired of it and use it as a table runner then.
The hardest part, I found to be the quilting itself. I had to start over a couple of times, before getting it 'right' (I know: nothing about this piece of work is 'right'), not satisfied with the chosen pattern. Eventually, I settled for some sort of spirals. Very free style, very me. And that's the interesting part, actually. Those lines add an extra dimension to the piece. Patches, though patched together with other patches to form an new entity, get their own expression, their individuality again, through the lines of the stitches. A revelation to me! To my surprise, I even liked hand stitching the binding at the front. I never thought I would find this a relaxing process.
So, what does this have to do with the holidays? Nothing much, really. Except that making this just made me realize that you can get a long way with just some pieces of scraps. Combine them, cut them and make something personal - be it a table runner, place mats, coasters, a pillow, a throw... make something YOU - give something YOU...
Wishing you a happy Thursday/ Turkey Day!
PS: One thing I might do before hanging it, is washing it to get some shrinkage, which I really like in quilts (the batting is 100% cotton). I'm just worried about the colors bleeding. Any suggestions there?
November 22, 2010
I hope you all had a nice weekend. Ours wasn't too bad. We had some lovely, cold but sunny, weather on Saturday. Little H. had a birthday party to go to and instead of spending half of my day on the metro bringing her, going back home, going back for pick up and back home again, I decided to go for walk in between drop off and pick-up instead. Since the party was in the 16th I somehow ended up at the Eiffel Tower. And though I love the Eiffel Tower and the Champs de Mars I have mixed feelings about everything else going on there. Except for the fact that it's (understandably) always crowded in the area between Trocadéro and Eiffel Tower you also have to deal with the vendors and street gamblers bothering you every five steps. Non Merci! I certainly do not want a mini Eiffel Tower to take home as I already explained to your colleague two steps ago... Very annoying. Equipped with my camera I once again realized that it's impossible to take a picture of "la Grande Dame" without having at least a dozen of people you don't know posing on your picture as well. Well, that entirely depends on the angle you choose, I came to realize. As I walked passed the Eiffel Tower, away from the crowds and to the left, there were much less people there and the view on La Tour Eiffel wasn't bad at all, especially not given the fact that trees have shed enough of their leaves by now to see through. So, until they ask me to shoot the next "glossy magazine Eiffel Tower perfume add picture", this one will have to do.
To be honest, I had much more fun taking the two other pictures. Not a single soul around there frantically running through my viewer looking for the most photogenic spot...
... so much nicer than a parking ticket.
I love these trompe l'oeil's often found in dead end streets.
November 19, 2010
These are my favorite boots. Ever. I bought them in 1998. They were quite pricey then but worth every penny. The store, in Leuven, where I got them no longer exists. I wore them with skirts, jeans, dress pants - you name it. They were so comfortable I wore them through my entire first pregnancy.
Two winters ago, they got totally wrecked in a terrible rain storm. The soles, which already had holes in them, I admit, came completely loose and the leather got white rings all over. Total loss, I thought. But I didn't throw them out. I simply couldn't. I wondered about it a couple of times, but I just couldn't do it. A couple of weeks ago, though I was convinced they were beyond repair, I decided to take them to the shoe mender. Not the regular shoe repair store but a real old fashioned one. The store as such is a delight, really. Wooden shelves, finished shoes in brown bags waiting to be taken home, the smell of leather and polish, rubber and yes cigarettes, too. I had to go back a couple of times, but the guy kept promise. He fixed them, colored them where needed, polished them and now they look like brand new again. I've actually never seen a sole finished this beautifully and perfectly. Many years and many boots later, they're still my favorites. I won't take them through the rain again, as they deserve respect after all these years!
Labels: other stuff
November 17, 2010
When I saw these fabric flowers in the latest issue of Marie-Claire Idées, I couldn't put down my magazine fast enough to get started. I made a whole bunch of them the same evening and while I was doing so I was thinking of the many different ways I could use them. In the original project they were used to decorate a seat cover.
The flowers are really easy to make. All you do is roll and twist a fabric strip to form a flower and then secure with a couple of stitches. Instead of cutting my fabric strip I ripped it, which gives a nice frayed effect. You can find many different ways to fold flowers online. Just google "fabric roses" and you'll end up with an extensive list. This tutorial is pretty close to the way I did it. Many people use glue or secure the flower with a couple of stitches as they go. I didn't do so, but finished folding my flower first, then put a couple of pins through the back to secure, and finally sewed the "petals" into place with a couple of stitches on the back, making sure to go through all layers. You probably won't be able to go through all layers at once - just work your way around the rosebud making several small stitches. One flower takes approximately 10-15 minutes to make depending on its size. I made mine while watching, or should I say listening, TV and found it very relaxing.
Once you have finished a bunch you can use them to decorate well basically anything. Here are a couple of examples. Of course I had to make a tote. It's a basic tote, in natural linen, finished with a French seam, and with leather handles. As I liked the selvedges of the fabric - it has the same pale aqua green in it as the flowers - I didn't even bother to finish the hem. With no lining, no hems and no fabric handles to sew, this bag is a real quick one! But I love the way it turned out - the rough look of the linen and the frayed edges of the flowers combine really well, I believe.
And if you thought I ran out of ideas for wire coat hanger make overs... here's just another one in my collection. This one's entirely hand sewn, as I was too lazy to pull out my machine. Fun to make and another fast DIY gift.
Little H. and I also made a cute little purse together, lined with a liberty like printed fabric. She took care of the side seams of both linen and lining and sewed on the snap closure. The result is one to be proud of, little Elf! Well done!
The possibilities for these little flowers are endless. I have a couple more in mind - now I just need to find the time to work on them.
In the mean time, here are some useful links to tutorials if you'd like to make any of the above:
- Easy tote bag for beginners
- Denim tote (you could use this bag and sew on the handles the traditional way)
- drawstring bag
- Fabric coat hanger cover
- Fabric flowers found at Susie Harris' blog here
November 13, 2010
... I can't get enough of making these...
To be continued...
Wishing you a happy and relaxing weekend!
November 11, 2010
November is almost halfway through. The first Christmas decorations are showing up in town, and I try not to see them. Because I'm a procrastinator and it reminds me of all things still to be done. And because, somehow, the whole holiday craze makes me feel uncomfortable - more and more - every year. "Do we really need to spend that much to get through the holidays and to make everyone happy?" is the question that comes to my mind when I see all this extravaganza. This DIY Gift Ideas series is an attempt to do things a little differently this year - and at low cost. All it takes is a tiny bit of creativity and a little bit of time. I truly hope to inspire at least some of you to craft along!
Ok, I promised I would kick off this series with last weekend's project. It's finished - I like it, but I'm waiting for better light and more time to take a couple of pictures.
So, why don't I get you started with a polar fleece poncho instead! I made this poncho a while ago after seeing a girl wearing a more luxury - hooded - version of it. The weather has gotten too cold and wet here to wear it outside, but little H. likes to cuddle up in it here at home and wears it as that little layer extra in the mornings and evenings. Just like the other poncho's, it is super easy to make. With only a couple of seams and the use of an easy to work with material like polar fleece, this project is accessible to even the most inexperienced sewer - a kid literally could make this. So, maybe this might be a good idea to keep your child busy on a rainy day as well.
About the fringe: I used masking tape to set outlines for cutting - if you want to perfect this you could even make marks on the tape to space them out evenly. I didn't go through the hassle of doing this, I didn't even bother to work myself all the way around with the scissors - I simply folded the poncho such that front and back were perfectly aligned on top of each other and I cut through both layers at once.
What you'll need
- polar fleece: it usually comes in 1.50m width, so half a meter would do for a poncho for an 8-10 year (adjust for bigger sizes)
- matching thread
- masking tape
- good sewing scissors
- sewing machine (note: depending on the machine being used, it might be useful to test the machine on a little swatch first to see how it's behaving in terms of tension and needle.)
- Pattern: make a paper pattern of a 63cm x 44cm rectangle. This includes seam allowances. This should fit an 8 – 11 year old. You can adjust the dimensions accordingly for bigger sizes (to check hold the rectangle across your body, the short end being one of the shoulder seams). Make sure to have a difference of at least 18-20cm between the width and length of the rectangle as this will determine the size of the opening of the poncho for the head.
- Cutting: fold your fabric in two, pin the pattern to both layers of fabric. Next cut your fabric. You obtain two identical rectangles.
- Assembling: (see also Fig. 1) With the right sides of the fabric facing each other, pin the short side of one rectangle to the longer side of the other. Sew with sewing machine. Do the same with the other two ends. In the middle you’ll have the opening to put your head through.
- Hemming the collar: With the right side of the poncho facing you, turn the top 1.5cm of the opening inward and do this all the way around. Pin while you’re going, to secure. Next, topstitch on the machine.
- Cutting the fringe: place your poncho in front of you such that front and back are perfectly aligned on top of each other. That way, you’ll be able to cut through both layers of fabric. Now, using some masking tape, define the size of the fringe you want (6cm in the poncho shown). Start with an incision at the center tip, and than gradually shift over the next couple of incisions until it becomes perpendicularly upon the tape. Then continue to cut parallel on both sides, left and right from the center tip.
- Optional: you can further decorate the poncho, using ribbons, buttons, appliqué, sequins, embroidery… Use your imagination!
Did you make something using a tutorial found on this blog or did you get inspired by something you found here? Then make sure to post your pictures here!
November 9, 2010
The weather's been really ugly the last couple of days - rain and more rain is what we had! And I have the feeling temperatures dropped quite a bit too today. It makes me feel like staying inside and cuddling up in the sofa with a book and a hot drink. Unfortunately, there's way too much work to be done for that and a lot of running around too!
But last weekend we stayed inside and cuddled up and spent a lot of time in the kitchen which resulted in a batch of yummy cinnamon sugar cupcakes and some really, really good pumpkin soup! And there was even some time left for sewing. Initially, I planned on getting some fabric in Montmartre. Unfortunately - or fortunately - it was pouring by the time I wanted to leave, so I decided to stay home instead and work with what I had. It's actually surprising, the things you can come up with by simply using what you have. The project isn't finished yet, but I'll show you as soon as it is. It will be the first in a row of crafts and DIY ideas I plan on bringing here between now and the holidays - if all goes according to plan that is! It won't necessarily be holiday related crafts, but things you can make anytime and which could make a nice present too. So, if you're still in search of DIY gift ideas, make sure to stop by from time to time and, maybe, there will be something you like!
Oh, and in case you're wondering about the muffin: it's the Joy of Cooking 'Basic yoghurt, buttermilk, or sour cream muffin' dipped in melted butter and rolled in cinnamon sugar. They were divine!
November 4, 2010
It's not that I haven't got any - it's just that I like making them. Shopping totes, grocery bags, whatever bags, ... So, here's a new one. Denim, combined with linen for the outside and muslin for the inside. No leather this time but sturdy woven cotton straps. While in Belgium last week I went to my favorite store in Leuven, Hexagoon, and I stocked up on wide twill tape of different kinds. I haven't had the time yet to make pictures, but I certainly will. I got linen tape, wool tape and cotton. I'm not sure I bought enough though, as ideas keep popping up. I think you'll see lots of tape showing up in my projects as of now...
I whipped this bag together on Monday afternoon. It was an idea I had spinning around in my head for a while now. I like it and so do my girls! Our new favorite - the perfect bag to take the lunch boxes to school with in the morning!
November 2, 2010
This was a particularly fun giveaway - I read all of your comments at least a couple of times and, really, you have no idea how much this means to me. This little place of mine has been growing steadily over the past 2 years. And it did something with me - it gave me self-confidence. It's not just about the numbers, but the fact that projects have been picked up and referred to, commented on, and inspired you - that's what has kept me going and gave a boost to my creativity. So, thank you to all of you, for being there and for coming back!
And to Sosser - Congratulations! I'll get in touch with you shortly to collect your details so I can send off your new poncho!
November 1, 2010
We just got back from a short trip to the Ardennes, in Belgium. We had lovely Fall weather, including morning frost and fog, which resulted in the most beautiful scenery with Fall colors at their best now. It felt so good to be able to spend some time outside - we made long walks, the girls had fun walking in a real forest. They also fell in love with the two pony's next doors and fed them with carrots and other root vegetables. Unfortunately, one of the animals wasn't doing so well, limping with one of its legs - at some point we even thought the poor animal had died which resulted in big tears with little H. Turned out it was fine, just old and tired.
The girls have a couple more days before heading back to school. We have no special plans yet, except that I need to go through lots of laundry. But before doing so, however, I might do something creative this afternoon. Reading all of your sweet comments last night, on the anniversary giveaway actually made my heart jump and made me feel like getting started on something new right away! For those of you who haven't entered the giveaway yet, you have a couple more hours left - so, hurry up, before it's too late!!