Monday, November 30, 2009

Recycled Sweater Hats and Etsy shop

My brother BJ and Maddy
Wearing her looks much better in person!

And it definitely looks better when its NOT being displayed on the bottom of an empty juice pitcher! But Maddy is a tempermental model, so i did the best I could.

I know what you're thinking, haven't I had enough of that hideous black and silver sweater yet?! Well, no...there was still some left. Waste not want not and all. So I decided to give hatmaking another try, since the first one was a little rough.

I had already had the idea of making hats from sweaters before this tutorial from Disney at Ruffles and Stuff started making its rounds through the craft blogs. I do my hats a little different, so I'm not copying her exactly, but I just thought if you wanted to know how to make a hat like this you could give her tutorial a try.

I finished the black hat on Thanksgiving morning. Even the ribbon on it is recycled (more ribbon from the wrappings of our wedding presents). It is a little bit loose on Maddy, not too bad unless you pull it all the way down over her ears. I debated sewing some elastic in the band, but I decided it fit Maddy fine without it.

Kyle kept going on about how great it turned out and suggested that I try selling it online. I cant bear to part with this black one, mainly because this is the first hat that Maddy actually likes wearing. But I got to thinking about it, and decided to go with my mom and open an Etsy shop. She's been wanting to sell her hooded baby towels for ages but was overwhelmed by the tech-y part of Etsy, so I signed up and set up a Paypal and all that jazz. We've had her towels listed for a few days now, no one has bought them yet, but we'll see. They really are adorable.

So I went to Value Village on Black Friday (probably the only store that does NOT have any special sales on Black Friday) and found a whole bunch of sweaters. I think I got 8 for just over 20 dollars. I also went through my closet and dug out some cardigans that I kept hoping I could squeeze into again, but who am I kidding, it aint gonna happen!

Anyways, this fuschia hat below is the first one I'm going to list on Etsy. I just finished it this afternoon. I need to write up a description, but the kids arent letting me get to that right now.

I'm considering sewing a big black button in the middle of the bow
I think having the face really adds a little something extra...good thing the marker rubs off easily!
I took 20-30 shots of Maddy wearing this hat, and these are the only two decent ones. As you can see I need a better model, a better camera, and a good photography lesson.

There was a small problem that I didn't anticipate; Maddy suddenly decided she likes wearing hats, and this one in particular is now her favorite. She threw a real fit when I took it off and wouldnt give it back.
I guess if no one on Etsy likes my creations, at least I know my daughter will always look chic.
Here's the address for our shop:
Check it out, even if you dont buy'll add to the number of views we get!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Beam me up, Scottie!

I made this sweater dress for Madeline back on Tuesday. I had bought the sweater on Monday for $1.75 at Goodwill with the intention of using it for another craft, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that it wasn't going to work. On Monday night I made those Toddler Legs out of the sweater I had used for the Owl Hat. And I had this really shiny sweater now with no purpose, and I figured what little girl wouldnt LOVE to shimmer like that?

My first thought was to just make Toddler Legs out of the sleeves, and stash the rest away for a rainy day. But I just couldnt stop with just the Toddler Legs! I had to make a matching hat (which didn't turn out quite how I wanted, so I may go back and fix it up a bit) and then since there was so much sweater left I thought I could turn it into a matching sweater dress for Maddy. But because I'd already salvaged so much for the other projects, I had to do the dress in a very roundabout way. It turned out alright...I really am wishing I had a serger though! The one thing I liked about doing a sweater dress is that because its so stretchy, I didn't have to do anything like zippers or buttons or snaps to fasten it. Its one solid piece!

So, you may be wondering about the title...I finished the whole project Tuesday night, which also happens to be the day that the new Star Trek movie came out on DVD. Kyle and I never got out to see it in the theaters, so he put it at the top of our Netflix queue forever ago...and we got it on Tuesday! We were so excited to watch it...I grew up watching Next Generation with my dad after dinner, mmmm William Riker....anyways, while maybe not full-out-costume-wearing Trekkies, Kyle and I both LOVED the new Star Trek! They did such a good job! But I was finishing up the dress and forced Maddy into as we were reminiscing about the old Star Treks and I realized that in the sweater dress Maddy looked like she could be aboard the Starship Enterprise. Maybe its the shiny late-80s-early-90s-ness of the sweater, or the way that the sleeves and back are (see picture below - Maddy wasnt a cooperative model AGAIN so thats the best I can show you).
(above) This is the top part, see what I mean about the sleeves and stand-up collar looking Trek-y?
So, I was worried about the skirt part of the sweater dress being too narrow and tight on Maddy's thighs, so I decided to throw in this pink sparkly fabric (leftover from aprons made for some of my nieces) to add color and width. It was supposd to be in the front of the dress but thanks to two screaming kids who woke up early from their naps I got mixed up and it ended up being in the back. I thought I might like it that way anyways, but I really don't. But I'm not sure I want to unstitch it and turn it around either, thats a lot more work and Maddy doesnt really care either way!

The best shot I could get of the Toddler Legs and Sweater Dress. I had the pink leggings already, and they matched so nicely! I'm not sure how I did the flower on the dress, but I dont think I like it. The edges are unfinished anyways so if I were to leave it on and wash it, it would unravel. So it'll be coming off and I'll do something else. Maybe a bow, but probably another - better - flower.

She was distracted drinking her milk cup and watching Super Why.

She does really like to look in and play with this mirror...its over the door that goes into the storage room, in my craft area, so shes not usually allowed near it. This is the best shot I got of her hat. It was a fight to get the hat on her, but after it was on she enjoyed it for a few minutes. I had to throw a flower on there because one side ended up flatter than the other...dont ask me how! I was worried about making the hat too big, so instead it ended up being too small almost. Oh well, live and learn and keep crafting anyways, right?!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Toddler Legs

I've been busy the last two days, but since I'm feeling sick today and my mom was so nice and took the kids to let me rest, I might as well take the time to put these projects on this blog.

The first one I did I like to call Toddler Legs. You may have heard of Baby Legs. Before I had Maddy, I was told by multiple people that I HAD to get some because they were so much better than tights and everything...but I never got any.

Now my baby is a Toddler, and she has larger-than-normal thighs and cankles. (Totally from her father, in case you were wondering. No, really, its a plague that a large number of the Anglesey family seems to have inherited.) She also has WIDE feet (again, from her daddy) so she doesn't like to wear shoes or socks or actually pants most of the time either. Lately she's been fighting me if I put anything but stretchy leggings or dresses on her.

On Sunday I saw that my mom had pulled out her old Leg Warmers, vintage of course. She said she's seen in the Sunday ads how "in" they are so she dug through her stuff until she found the ones she'd had on her mission in France. They still look pretty good I must say. I'm not a big fan of the leg warmer look, but it got me thinking...I had the rest of the mustard-yellow sweater I made John's owl hat out of. The sleeves were intact, that would be just right...

Here's the general how-to of how I made Maddy's Toddler Legs:

Cut the sleeves to the desired length (I left a lot of extra for seam allowance, since I don't have a serger and this stuff unravels really easy). Then I trimmed off the side portion there so it was more of a rectangular shape.
I turned right sides together and stitched it up.

For the top ribbing, I cut out the collar from the sweater. I'll show you why in the next pic. (PS I should have left more fabric underneath for seam allowance. Just FYI.)

This is the collar part; as you can see it is hollow inside. A ready made elastic casing! One step saved, how many more to go?!
With right side together, I pinned and sewed the collar/elastic casing to the leg warmer. Maddy was sleeping at the time so I didn't get to measure her legs...a mistake! I underestimated the size of her thighs. I threaded some thin elastic through and when she woke up tried it on her and found at first it didn't need elastic to stay up. (She wore the Toddler Legs all day yesterday, however, and they started falling down more and becoming more like leg warmers so I'm going to go back and put elastic in anyways.)

Finished product, back view (I was considering this a practice run for a better project, which I will show you all later, so thats why I didn't bother to make the stripes match up very nicely. Next time I'll try harder.)
Finished product, front view. The cuff of the sleeve is now the bottom of the Toddler Leg.

Blurry beyond belief, but gives you the idea of how my daughter felt about wearing them the first night. She LOVED them the next day, but it was a little discouraging to finally finish only to have her scream and cry when I tried to put them on.

John was a much more willing model. Poor kid, just wait til you see what else I put on him to take pictures (if you look at my other blog you'll get a glimpse). From now on I think I'll just make clothes for him.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Owl Hat

I don't know how I had time to do this craft. I didn't have time, really, I just neglected a number of other things. Which I do everyday pretty much.

Anyways, a big THANK YOU to Megan for finding this tutorial after I spent forever searching for it and not locating it. It was pretty easy to do, I just didn't have EXACTLY everything I needed so I compromised some things so mine doesn't look as good.

Here's the tutorial from Ruffles and Stuff. And here's my version.
I used this sweater, bought at Value Village for $1.50. Its not as cool as the sweater vest originally used, and the fabric was a real pain to use (stretched really easy while sewing! And edges could easily unravel) but it was cheap and easily accessible.
So as per the tutorial I cut out two pieces using a beanie as a pattern. That left a hole in the sweater, which Maddy tried to put her beanie in it to fill the hole (the purple thing behind her). And then she brought a whole bunch of foam letters and toys and carefully placed them all over the sweater...she had a very specific idea of where everything went, but it didnt make any sense to me.

And here is the finished product:

(John was already screaming when I put it on him, its not that he doesn't like that hat. I hope.)
A few things to point out about this project:
-Because it would unravel easily, I used a zigzag stitch since I don't have a serger. I should have made the hat bigger (figured in a bigger seam allowance) because it is almost too small for Maddy (who I intended to make it for) and just a bit big on John.
-The tutorial said to hand sew the eyes and nose on. I say HECK NO. Thats why God invented the sewing machine! It worked pretty good, especially considering how horrible of a hand-stitcher I am.
-I didn't use felt for the ears as instructed because I didn't have a color of felt that would look good. I cut pieces from the sweater and used those, which was okay, but I would have like felt better I think.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I am so mad.
Somewhere in the last month or so I stumbled across a tutorial for turning an old thrift store sweater into the coolest owl stocking hat and scarf. It really was adorable, and I'm not all that into the Owl stuff that is so in. But I never get out, never go to thrift stores anymore (which makes me very sad...I love finding a good steal!) so I didn't think to bookmark it because I figured I never would be able to do it.
We went to Value Village yesterday. It was 50% off all clothing.
I now know what Heaven feels like.
Of course I think I have a small glimpse of what Hell feels like too because it was so CHAOTIC. Apparently EVERYONE likes a good Value Village sale.
We were looking for some shirts for Kyle and onesies for John and a few other random things. We found what we wanted and more, and all for great prices. (I know some would look down their noses at wearing thrift store clothes but here's what I think: John is just gonna puke and poop and pee all over, so no way am I paying full price. And thrift store clothes are newer and in better shape than all the clothes that Kyle owns (he still has a number of shirts from before his mission. And he's almost 34. Sad, I know.) Kyle and I also don't agree entirely on his style of clothing so at Value Village we can each choose something out that we like for him to wear, and we'll still be spending less than if we went to Walmart even for one shirt. And sometimes you can find really nice brand name clothes for really cheap!
But back to why I'm mad. We found all the stuff we wanted and were going to check out when we pass a rack of assorted sweaters. I found a pretty one that I like and will probably wear (Kyle told me AFTER we bought it that he thinks its ugly...what does he know?!) for $2.50 (after the 50% off).
And then...
I found THE PERFECT sweater for the owl hat/scarf project. It cost $1.50! You can't buy a good hat and scarf for that price!
But here's my problem...I CANT REMEMBER WHERE I SAW THE TUTORIAL!!!! I have wasted way too much time surfing all the craft blogs, and now I'm gonna pay for it. I've already spent a good 45 minutes looking through the usual blogs I look at; I have a bad habit of clicking the blog links to a different craft blog and looking around, then click another link there, and another and before you know it I have no idea where I am and how I got there.
So, I guess this is my plea....if there is ANYONE out there who reads this and has seen or knows about the owl hat craft that I'm talking about, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS CHOCOLATE POINT ME IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION!!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Saturday Night sewing

Of the oh maybe two or three people out there who read this, do any of you remember the joy that is the American Girls Doll collection? I read ALL the books back in the day, and signed up for the catalog (which I get randomly every once in a while, sent to Cassie Elliott of course and to my parents address) and I would spend FOREVER drooling over all the cool stuff, but most particularly over her:

Meet Kirsten. MY American Girl. I don't know why she became my favorite, I mean she's blonde. I usually detested anything blonde, since I am brunette and my seemingly perfect younger sister is blonde. Oh well, for whatever reason Kirsten captured my attention and it has been love ever since.

I was always going to save up to buy a Kirsten doll. But anyone that knows me knows that I am NOT a patient person. I was worse as a child. And $100 (plus tax and shipping & handling!) is a LOT of money for a little girl who doesnt get an allowance. I did have a paper route with my dad for awhile, but that money seemed to disappear real fast.

I never did get my Kirsten. I compromised at one point and ordered a Megan doll from the JC Penneys catalog, one of the Magic Attic Club girls or something like that. American Girl wannabes! I saved a whopping $25 by getting that imposter, but to be fair I did really like Megan. She's a brunette. I still have her, and she's nice, but just no Kirsten.

Now, my littlest sister Hannah has fallen in love with the American Girl Dolls (via one of those random catalogs addressed to me that showed up at their house some time back). Hannah's much smarter than me. She made a deal with Mom & Dad that if she came up with half the amount for a Julie doll (she's a Flower Child one, she wasn't around back in my day) she would get the doll as a birthday present. The kids now get an allowance (I've already expounded to my parents how unfair that is, to no avail) and my mom had a paper route during the summer that the three youngest kids took turns helping with and got some money from.

And Hannah stuck to it! She saved half the amount, and so yesterday was her birthday so she got her Julie doll! She was SO EXCITED...Mom had told her earlier in the week that she needed to have a clean room so that she had somewhere nice to put the doll. That bedroom was spotless within 2 days, and has STAYED spotless. (It was a disaster beforehand.)

So, I decided as a birthday present for her I would try my hand at sewing some doll clothes. I discovered I like sewing doll clothes...I don't have to chase the doll around and force her into the outfit to see how its fitting. Megan doesn't move, what a nice change from Maddy!!! I didnt get to this project until Saturday night, and spent a good 3 hours doing it so that it would be done for Hannah's birthday yesterday. I did run into a few problems, but I'll explain later along with the pics because this post is getting long enough as it is!

First, I was going to make a tutu. I didn't use elastic, like the tutu I made for Maddy, because my doll has a hard plastic body and American Girl dolls have cloth bodies, so I didn't feel like risking it. The gold tulle is from my wedding (kinda...the first wedding planned my colors were gold and a deep red, so my mom bought 10 yards of gold tulle; about two weeks later we called the wedding off. In the end we got married in May, and the colors looked too wintery to me so we used a light pink instead of gold. So now there's 10 yards+ of gold tulle to get used.) The ribbon around the top was more ribbon that was used to wrap some of our wedding presents.

It looks really cute on the dolls, but I was too lazy to put it on, plus I haven't made a leotard yet.

This is Megan, wearing the dress I made FROM SCRATCH WITHOUT A PATTERN. Well, let me rephrase that...without a bought, tried-and-true pattern. Megan came with a pretty long sleeved dress and I used that to make a pattern for this one. The problems came when I realized that the fabric I used was not stretchy like the dress I patterned it after; and when I sewed it in the order you would sew a full size dress: I sewed up the sides of the dress before I sewed on the sleeves. OOPS!!! It was REALLY hard to sew those sleeves on then because they were so tiny!

Back view, the green ribbon is from our wedding as well...I'm so glad I'm finally getting to use some of it!!

Despite the issues, I was so thrilled with how this dress turned out. I have pictures that I'll post in another blog of some of my teenage attempts at sewing doll is really humorous, even I can laugh at myself for it now!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Halloween Costumes - a week later!

I finally got the pics off my mom's camera of the kids' Halloween costumes. They're not as good of pics as I remember them being a week ago, which is kinda sad since I cant get Maddy to even wear her tutu anymore, let alone the whole costume!!!

Here's my hubby Kyle with John:
(Kyle was a Lumberjack - he put suspenders on later - because his hair was too short to be Wolverine like I wanted him to be. He wanted to be Sabertooth but I told him no that's too creepy.)
Maddy, without the gold sash. Apparently there are no pictures of her with the sash, because it really just completes the outfit. It was just a strip of gold tulle but it made the green tunic sit nicely overtop the tutu. Oh well, I'll keep the outfit and make my next girl wear it sometime.

The back. I HAD planned to use velcro to fasten the back, but I cut the tunic too narrow apparently (she wouldn't hold still very well for me to check the sizing.) So I used some gold ribbon I had saved from my wedding (I have SO MUCH ribbon from our wedding; everyone and their dog wrapped the presents with ribbon it seems) and cut little holes and laced up the back. The tunic is made of felt, which was MARVELOUS because I didn't have to worry about making a hem or anything like that! While I created the tunic completely from scratch, I did get some help with the tutu. There are lots of tutorials online about making tutus but I followed this tutorial from Make It and Love It. (Ironically, Ashley from Make It and Love It had her daughter be Tinkerbelle and her son be Peter Pan for Halloween!)
I can't even remember what upset her this time. I just think its funny how many pictures I have of her throwing a fit. Sad, but funny.

Peter Pan!

I had plans to make a full costume for this little man, but I didn't. And I don't actually feel all that bad about it, because the hat totally makes up for it! (Plus he slobbers like crazy, as you can see on his green shirt. I might have been upset to see so much slobber ruin a costume I'd spent hours making.)

I can totally see why lots of people thought he was Robin Hood. The hats would be similar. Again, if I'd done the whole she-bang it would have been more obviously Peter Pan, but oh well.
I followed the tutorial again from Make It and Love It. I LOVE that blog! She has the best directions, and most of her clothing projects she has you use clothes you already own as a pattern. That way you know its gonna fit, as long as you don't mess up the sewing part!
I didn't dress up for Halloween this year, which is kinda unlike me. Last year I spent quite a bit of time covering and decorating a box to be and Oven (I was like 3 1/2 months pregnant with John so I had a Bun in the Oven...haha, I thought it was clever. Especially because my husband put on an apron and slapped a little flour on his face to be a Baker. My mother-in-law didnt pick up on the significance of that until about a month ago.)
We're already discussing what we'll dress up as next year. I'm thinking Family Themes, like Star Trek (John would be Spock), or Star Wars (John could be Yoda, Maddy could be an Ewok, I could be Leia and Kyle could be Darth Vader), or Goldilocks and the Three Bears, or...yeah, there's a lot to choose from. We'll just have to see I guess.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Before & After

Last week was a busy week. Lots of attempts at a clean house (it always seemed to fall apart right away), lots of cooking/baking, and of course lots of crafting. I dont have many pics of the crafting attempts because I misplaced my camera and just found it this morning.

I do have these pics to show my attempts at decorating our living room. I know I was not an interior decorator in a past (or present!) life, because doing just this little amount was ridiculously hard for me! Making such finite decisions such as where to hang the picture or how far apart to hang the shelves or whatever was borderline overwhelming. Sad, I know. But I got some basics done. I decided that the reason everyone kept giving me decorative stuff for Christmas/Birthday/Any occasion is because I never decorated anything at our apartment. I had plenty of stuff to choose from, I just didn't feel like putting out the effort to put it up.)Hopefully now I won't keep getting only decorative stuff...unless its more Willow Tree figures. I could never have too many of those!

Okay, this is the wall that you see as you walk in our front door.

Not the best pics, because we dont have very good lighting in there and our camera stinks in bad lighting. I wish I could say I put the shelves up myself, but the instructions were so confusing I called my dad to ask what they meant and he said, "I'll just come over and do it." And he did, with his awesome stud-finder-and-laser-level. It looks a little odd, like there should be something lower against the wall (a piano maybe? Oh I wish! Someday...) but Maddy's quite the climber so I put them higher so that even with a chair she can't reach most of them.

And this is the right adjoining wall to the one you just saw.

...and After!

Again, sorry about the lighting, but it gives you a general idea of what it looks like. I was quite proud of my mantelpiece deocrations. I had all that stuff stashed away from previous clearance sales and stuff. Maddy loved playing with the fake leaves and of course the pumpkin.
As I was decorating, I realized that we can hang our stockings by the fireplace this Christmas! I am ridiculously excited about that, as stupid as that may be. I guess I'm mostly just excited to really start making our own little family's traditions. Last year Maddy was too young to care, but I think this year will be much better. Most of my hubby's family is coming into town for Christmas, so we'll be spending a lot of the time at his parents with everyone and hopefully a little bit of time with my parents and siblings, but I'm also hoping to be able to do a few little things with just us four.