Last year I made a gift for my daughter’s teacher, who was my son’s teacher, who happens to also be my husband’s aunty. Anyway, she’s special and I wanted to do something special. I’ve always wanted to try “drawing” with my sewing machine. It was a small space and I thought it would be faster than doing an appliqué. I really hate preparing my fabric for appliqué. It’s a Kukui leaf and nuts, which has special meaning to her and her class.
Until tonight, I had no idea there was such a thing as “free-motion embroidery.” I’ve been wanting to do more with it since this first project and now I’m really inspired! If only I had the time to go with it.
I have a ton of tween nieces. All fabulous. They are so hard to shop for. The cutesy stuff no longer applies and the stuff they want often comes with that picture of an apple on it; and I wouldn’t dare try to buy clothes for them. I decided a bath wrap was kind of spa-ish (I saw lots of ideas for spa baskets…but no one ever really uses that stuff) and functional. I like functional.
I found a bunch of tutorials, but this one made the most sense to me. This one inspired the ruffle. As always, I followed it loosely. Many tutorials call for terry cloth, but I like the large and super plush towels that Costco & Sams club sell. Plus, they are huge! I cut off about a third of this towel.
My favorite part is the ruffle…although it killed two of my sewing machine needles. I free-motioned her name to personalize it. I think tweens are probably over appliqué. I kind of want one now.
I’m usually a room parent for my kids’ classes, but I opted out this past year since I spent a good portion of my pregnancy in the horizontal position. I know the amount of time and work that goes into helping out the classrooms, so I wanted to thank them some how. I found a great tutorial for drawstring bags online. I think it’s one of the easiest around. I filled them with a bag of cookies and a thank you note.
They would work for teacher gifts too, but we ended up doing personalizing water bottles instead. Thanks to my sisters for their Sillhouette & Vinyl.
You could make a bazillion of these for so many things! Here’s the link to the tutorial:
Best drawstring bag tutorial!
My super-Craigslist-finder sister found these awesome (and kinda ugly) armoires for $40. In Hawai’i, we don’t have very many options when it comes to furniture. Pressed board furniture does not do well here. Solid wood furniture is preferred, but it costs a FORTUNE! It’s often cheaper to buy quality furniture on the mainland and ship it here via ship cargo. The best furniture finds are usually at Costco. But, you’re limited to the type and it’s only seasonal.
Anyway, this piece is solid wood. It’s very sturdy and all the drawers glide easily. PLUS, it has the adjustable shelf clip thingys (I’m sure there’s a name for this) already installed. Often times armoires aren’t outfitted for shelves on top. And…with the push of a lever, the drawers all lock. Perfect for little two year old hands and seven year old fabric lovers…who sometimes forget to ask before cutting up fabric.I broke up the hubby’s work day and told him that he needed to leave and pick it up within an hour and a half…nowhere near his office. He was less than pleased (to put it nicely :)). I was very happy!!! He couldn’t park in his office building because it wouldn’t fit in the parking garage, so he parked at his mom’s apartment building and walked back to work. All this in his “office attire.” Thank you babe!In the beginning, I went after it with OIL BASED paint. YIKES!!!! Who knew it was so awful to work with? I hated it. I couldn’t stand the lines. Now I know why everything grand-dad painted had those paint lines through them. He was a painter. I always thought he just used really good thick paint that left lines because it was so “quality” thick. On top of that, I wasn’t even sure it would dry this month! So, although I was very grateful for my dad’s free paint….I ended up stripping it all off the next day. You can see here that I also attached paintable wallpaper to the doors and created a border with wood strips. The wood strips were leftover toe kick boards from my kitchen remodel. I just cut them on my table saw.This is how she looked inside before.And these are her insides after. I used wrapping paper and Mod Podge. I know it’s kinda wrinkly…but I wasn’t too worried about it because once everything’s in, it won’t show. I had the same attitude with painting MANY coats on the shelves. I just needed it to be “generally” white.
I drilled new holes on the drawers so that I could add knobs. The knobs were brushed nickel, so I had to paint them. I also removed the hinges to spray them black.Now, it’s not organized yet. I just wanted to see if I could fit everything that I was hoping to inside. I’m so excited! Everything fits! Anyone free to help me organize all my fabric into something that’s functional and pretty to look at???? All my favorite fabrics are in the drawers. Did you notice that “keyboard drawer” and how it fits all of my sewing machine “stuff” perfectly? I should probably screw a board on to the back of it so things won’t go falling off.In a nutshell, here’s how it went down.This was so fun. I LOVE IT so much!!! Now, to clean the house that was very neglected during this project. *sigh*
I started off Valentine’s Day in my daughter’s classroom. I had the kids make valentine hair accessories for themselves or to give away. They came out really cute. Wish I had a chance to snap some pictures.
For my kids, I sewed everyone a pillow case to go with their new pillow. I hate that it takes a whole day and a number of loads just to wash the pillows. I was at Wal Mart one day and I saw these “travel pillows.” They aren’t tiny like for the airplane. It’s almost exactly a standard pillow cut in half. It’s perfect for kids. They are really soft too. For just over $4, it was totally worth it. The best part, they are small enough to toss in WITH a load of laundry. Think of all the money I’ll save on utilities! I’m throwing all the old pillows out.For the girls, I used leftover fabric from their Christmas blankets. I never posted it in my “Gifts I Made This Past Christmas” posts, but here it is.Believe it or not, it’s exactly what she had on her Christmas list. “A blue blanket with snowflakes. And if you can put words on it that say, ‘Let it snow!” So, that’s what she got. Joann’s had a sale, during Christmas and their fleece was only $3!!!
For the boys, I just used GI Joe fabric that my son picked out a year (or two or three) ago for a blanket that was never finished. I put brown minky on the backs of theirs so that they would have a soft side too. If it wasn’t for cutting the fabric, these whipped up really fast. They were excited about it, so it made me happy. We had Family Home Evening tonight instead of last night, so they snuggled up on their pillows while we watched a short video.For dessert, I copied what my sister did for her family. I made heart shaped cinnamon rolls.I added a little twist and dyed the frosting pink. They were kind of ugly by the time the frosting went on since they cooled a little bit first. They didn’t ooze like they normally do. Anyhow, the kids were psyched, so it was worth it.The hubby and I are having our Valentine’s date on Friday. I’m looking forward to it! And with that, here’s a fun quote by a man I love and admire.“I am satisfied that happiness in marriage is not so much a matter of romance as it is an anxious concern for the comfort and well-being of one’s companion. Any man who will make his wife’s comfort his first concern will stay in love with her throughout their lives and through the eternity yet to come”
-Gordon B. Hinckley
Here, another pattern I bought a LONG time ago, but never made. Finally, I had a need! With so many people in our family, we pick names for Christmas. I was so excited that I got a little girl! My niece who is almost two. So, I put that great pattern to use. Thanks to Pinterest, I made the applique piece based off of an item that her Mommy pinned. Here’s backpack number one.And for the back…Being the non-tv family that we’ve been for seven years now, Netflix has really compromised the rules in our home. It’s been pretty bad. My youngest has become obsessed with Dora the Explorer. I hate to admit it, but if it wasn’t for Dora and Netflix, I wouldn’t have finished most of my projects this past Christmas.
With the exception of the gift from Santa, I decided to go hand-made on my gifts to the kids this year. Partly for fun and partly to save money. It was lots of fun. I think it will be a tradition.
Since we now have a Dora obsession in our home, it was almost too perfect that Dora’s main accessory is, “Backpack! Backpack!” So, My youngest got “Backpack!” for Christmas. Thankfully, she loves it at least as much as I’d hoped. She takes it everywhere and even woke up two mornings shouting, “Where’s Backpack?!” Here’s Backpack! (You have to use “!” because my sister-in-law pointed out to me that Dora “yells at you.” I can’t listen to Dora anymore without feeling like she’s yelling at me.)I have to say, it was maybe the most fun project that I did. And since it was my second run on this pattern in a week, it went really quickly. Thank goodness because I finished it at about 3am on 12/25! (Later I’ll post what I was doing from 3am to 4am). I found the best face for Backpack that I could off of an image search and just used my light table to create the applique pieces.Did I mention that I absolutely loved this pattern? It was the first time I’ve ever used piping and now I want to put it on everything!! I purchased this pattern from Made-by-Rae. Click HERE for a link to her pattern. She also created the free pattern to the purse I talked about in this post.
***Note about the pattern: It calls for canvas or a sturdy home decor fabric. I ended up using cotton, so I actually lined everything because I wanted it to be sturdy. I had a layer of fusible fleece and fusible webbing on the back of the fleece to attach the front and back piece. I do NOT recommend doing it this way if you can help it. It’s a LOT more work. But, if you have to make a purple backpack, sometimes you have to go standard cotton!