Please pardon my mess I am doing a little blog makeover.
In one of my other lives when I am not crafting or working on my Ebay Store, I am a waitress. It is not glamorous but it helps pay the bills and allows me the time to pursue my other interests. Most days it is a perfectly pleasant way to earn a living but inevitably there are those times when folks are rude or unkind and I do dream of a time when I will no longer need the income from this endeavor.
For now I accept that it is part of my portfolio, to put a ridiculously fancy name on what I do. :-) But the real truth is that without this humble career choice this weeks project would never have come about.
You see I found myself with some of my clean but completely stained white work shirts. They were yellowed from too many bleach washes and there were other stains that the bleach just couldn't remove. If you know anything about my crafting you know I like a challenge and the more trashy an item is the more rewarding it is if you can actually make something out of it. Well these are heavy weight oxford shirts so the fabric itself is still in good condition and since I still had the dye bath from last weeks project sitting in a pot I set out to re-fashion my unsightly old work shirts.
I started by cutting off the collar and sleeves.
Then I marked and cut off the bottom at a slightly dropped waist length.
Since I was planning to leave a lot of the raw edges I decided to add some more by slitting the front edge.
To make the pattern for the skirt I took the bottom measurement from the shirt and doubled it. I was planning on having 16 skirt piece so I took the doubled number and divided that by 16 and then added the seam allowance on both sides which gave me the top measurement for my pattern piece. I decided to make the length 17 inches and then I added 2 inches for the bottom measurement.
Then I started cutting up my second shirt.
But I knew I wasn't going to have enough fabric so I also cut pieces from these pants that also had a small stain on them.
This is the general layout. In the end I only had enough fabric for 14 pieces of skirt which worked out fine.
I sewed all the skirt piece together and finished the seams.
At this point I decided to test out the dye bath before I wasted anymore time sewing. There was some dipping and knot tying and rubber banding and rinsing.
When the pieces were dry they looked like this. I was satisfied that the stains were well disguised but the whole effect was a little too pink for my taste.
So I tried this.
I threw some old coffee grounds on my creation, which believe it or not, is not the craziest thing I have ever done to a project.
I once put crisco on my shoes. Sadly and similarly to the crisco experiment the coffee did not really work. It washed right out and left me with the same very pink result I had before.
So then I tried this.
The result was still pretty pink but better so......
I gathered the skirt and sewed the pieces together added some belt-loops make from the sleeve cuffs and added another strip for some length.
Greetings from wet and soggy Colorado!
Really, it has been crazy wet here for the last several days and is going to continue on this way for several more, with possible snow tomorrow for Mother's Day! I shouldn't complain since any kind of precipitation is appreciated in our arid state but really I would like not to have it all at once.
It wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact that I decided, albeit, a little too late that I wanted to plant a small vegetable garden this year. The spot I selected was full of gravel (yes perhaps that was a questionable choice from the start.)
I worked diligently for a couple of days to remove the gravel it was rather labor intensive work but I did eventually devise a system that worked pretty well.
I have one little section left and if it ever stops raining I may be able to complete the rock removal and plant a vegetable or two.
All this moisture and forced indoor time has at least lead to a new upcycled sewing project.
One that will also need warmer dryer weather but I trust it is on the way.
I started with this pair of shorts.
They fit pretty well. But they were kind of short and out of style. So I set out to make them longer. I had some denim pieces left over from this denim skirt project.
Adding same strips of denim for length.
Stitching side seams.
Adding rubber bands for tie dye effect.
RIT Red Dye Bath
I removed the top part of the shorts from the dye bath to have a less consistent color result.
The first rubber band comes off.
I liked how the dye turnout but never liked the waistband very much.
It was too plain and flat and didn't have any belt loops.
I had a waist band piece left in the denim scraps so I dyed that too.
And sewed it onto the shorts Frankenstein style.
The finished shorts.
For the last few years I have been going through this little ritual of making a bird feeder. Although last summer I surrendered to the squirrel population and just didn't feed the birds. My first two projects looked like this B.S.
I spent a lot of time on these first two feeders and the squirrels didn't waste any time chewing them and smashing them. So after my last two heartbreaking experiences, this year I have made a much simpler more plan vanilla version. I am pretty sure the birds don't care what it looks like even if I do. :-)
It isn't as decorative as the other two but hopefully it will be a little more durable.
Start with an empty creamer bottle.
And the lid from a coffee can.
Remove label. Measure and mark hole placement.
Use a heated cutting tool (I have a stencil cutter) to cut holes.
Use E6000 glue to glue bottle to coffee lid.
Make decorative braid out of plastic bag "yarn" (plarn)
Use E6000 glue to secure braid to bottle.
I hope you have a lovely weekend and....
Hello and Welcome.
I am posting a day early this week as I am off on a little extended weekend getaway shortly.
If you are a frequent visitor you may already know a little bit about how my brain works. You may even be a little bit like me. The other day I stumble across this tutorial for 10 minute milk and honey soap. I have never made my own soap before but I have enjoyed making my own lip balm and some other beauty DIY's. So I thought I would give it a try. I promptly went out and bought some Goats Milk Soap from Hobby Lobby $10.99 for two pounds plus the 40% off coupon made it about $6.60 plus tax.
I looked at the soap molds and they are reasonably priced, but this is where you either appreciate my..........let's call it creative spirit, or you simply think I am a little crazy.
I like to find uses for useless stuff. So I pondered how I could make my own soap molds. If you have ever wondered if you can make a soap mold from cracker and cereal boxes, (these are actually the type of questions that keep me up at night) The short answer is yes you can. But as with many of my experiments there is a cautionary side to this tale.
It all started innocently enough. I cut up some boxes in different shapes and sizes and made some designs to decorate the soaps.
On one of the "molds" I used Elmer's Glue and on the others I used rubber cement to hold my design layers together. To hold the edges onto the molds I used blue painters tape.
Working with the Goat's Milk Soap was very easy. It is soft to cut and melts quickly.
They say you can melt it in the microwave but I prefer the double boiler method using an old tin can, bent a to make a pour spout.
I added a little bit of food coloring and some essentials oils for fragrance.
The soap is made to suspend the additives so you can get lovely color swirl patterns by partially mixing in the colorants.
The soap needs to harden for about 40 minutes after you pour it into the molds.
So far. So Good.
And now the moment of truth.
The blue painters tape works quite well. It holds well while you need it to and comes off easily when you are ready to remove the soap.
The coating on the printed side of the box makes the sides easy to remove from the soap.
This is the mold that was glued with the Elmer's glue. It held the center design the best but the mold looked like this after the soap came out.
I was hoping to make a reusable mold so all the loose glue film was a bit disappointing.
Another unanticipated outcome.
Depending on your point of view the print transfer from the box to the soap could be viewed as good or bad. :-)
On my other molds glued with rubber cement, the sides and bottoms came off easily but the center design stayed in the soap. It had to be pried out which does mess up the design a little or a lot depending on how patient you are feeling.
If I had it to do all over again. I would make the outsides of the molds from the box material as it is easy to cut and to shape. For the center design I would use plastic from a sour cream lid or the like and I would glue it with E-6000 glue. Perhaps there will be further soap mold experiments or I may be on to something completely different next week.
As usual I am running behind today. I see a lot of other bloggers writing about time saving tips and ways to de-clutter and simplify life and I know I am not alone in this feeling of too much to do and too little time to do it.
Recently I have spent some time cleaning out cupboards and closets and it does feel good to clear out some things. But I have been thinking a lot lately about my digital clutter and how to get a handle on it. I spent this morning unsubscribing to several sites and I am hopeful that this will kick start a plan to take more control over my tech life.
All too often I sit down at my computer to do A and hours later find that I haven't even started working on it? It's not as if I am completely wasting my time but it is sometimes an out of control spiral of link following craziness.
Anyway I haven't made any specific plan as of yet but I will be contemplating how to de-clutter my digital life and may write about it if I have any revelations. If you have any tips or suggestions for me I would love to hear about them in the comments.
For today's project I have mostly just pictures and a link you must check out if you like to do your own art journals. I am totally addicted to this woman's video's. Her name is Vicky Papaioannou. I used a lot of her techniques on my art journal page. Of course since I am all about upcycling and using what you have on hand I didn't use any fancy stamps or distress paints or pre-cut shapes or even actual gel medium or for that matter an actual sketch book. :-)
Here is my supply list.
One of my alcohol ink prints from last weeks post
And a few other little decorative kabobbles.
I used all those items
To make this......
Happy Spring Everyone! We have snow on the ground here today but it isn't spring in Colorado without a good snow storm or two.
Before we get to today's project I have to share a little accomplishment that I am quite excited about. I actually found out about it a few weeks ago but it kind of got lost with all the Head Shaving Hoopla.
So here it is......
I have had my first project published. :-)
I made these paper cuff bracelets several months ago.
They were recently published in the Spring 2015 issue of Green Craft Magazine.
But let's get on with this weeks project.
This project started mostly as an experiment. There were successes and failures along the way. First a disclaimer, or maybe it is a confession. but the truth is I have never worked with alcohol ink before. Because of this I don't know how my homemade versions stack up to real alcohol ink like Tim Holtz Ranger Ink. Still I am pretty pleased with most of the results I got.
Several years ago when I bought my printer it came with this big stack of photo paper which I have rarely used. Do people still print photos? Anyway I thought this paper would be a good surface to try out same alcohol ink techniques.
If you have looked into making your own alcohol inks, you already know that two of the most common methods use old permanent markers and Rit fabric dye mixed with rubbing alcohol. I tried both of these methods with good results. The markers are a little messy to get apart and need to soak in the alcohol for a little while to release the full color. With the Rit dye you can pretty much just mix a go.
In all my researching I also came across these suggestions to use as colorants. Food coloring, Easter egg dye and even un-sweetened kool aid packets. I did not try any of these but they all seem to have promise.
In an effort to keep this project as Fru-green as possible I needed to search my house for other color candidates. I found a ball point pen disassembled it, cut up the ink tube and dropped it into the alcohol. This picture was taken right after adding the color. It got much darker after sitting for awhile.
My other most happy experiment was with curry. I love curry but I don't cook with it as much as I would like since the hubby is not really a fan. This also may not be the most cost effective way to make yellow alcohol ink if you buy expensive spices. I purchased a large bottle of curry at Big Lots a while back for a dollar and since it was still in my cupboard I decided to give it a try.
At first I didn't think that I had made anything but a hot mess as the curry does not dissolve and the mixture is quite dark and lumpy looking. But after the curry sediment is filtered out (I used a piece of paper towel to strain the mixture) you are left with a nice gold color.
I had read that working with alcohol ink is quite messy. (The rumors are true -) So I worked on a tray to keep everything contained.
My work space.
A few techniques.
Cotton Ball Dabber.
Empty computer ink cartridge dabber.
Dripping Dropping and letting the ink run.
A few of my favorites.
This one I actually sprinkled salt on while the ink was still wet which gave it the more textured look. I liked it so much I named it Galaxy. (Cuz I am weird that way)
So far I am quite pleased with myself. I have achieved all these lovely colors with my first five color tries.
I really like the vivid vibrant colors that I got on the photo paper. I also tested theses colors on some aluminium and glass with some success.
So, I guess I was getting too big for my britches (is my age showing with that last phrase or what?) Anyway I broke my first cardinal rule of living fru-greenly and I bought these.
It was the beginning of several failed attempts at making more beautiful alcohol ink colors. Here are some other items that do not work very well. Eye shadow, Paprika and Cocoa Powder. :-)
What about you? Have you made your own alcohol ink? What did you use?
One last tip. Check your medicine cabinet for expired eye or ear drops. These bottles work well for applying the ink.
Ever since I had my head shaved (see before and after photos here and the reason behind my decision here) I have been a little obsessed with the idea of shedding, not only my many excess personal belongings, which is, of course the theme for Spring, but also shedding ideas that do not suit me, fears that hold me back and beliefs that limit who I might become. This is easier said than done and I have not fully figured out what I even mean.
In part it is about making life simpler with less clutter and I have been doing a lot of closet and cupboard cleaning and donating. Some things have been easy to part with but most things cause a little pang of emotion and a moment or two of distress before they find their way into the goodwill box Once they are gone they are most likely never thought of again but some times the journey to "the box" can feel like a million miles.
Why do I have an emotional attachment to XY or Z thing that I haven't used in years? It's not a family heirloom or even something with any sentimental value. It is just a thing. A thing that in my mind I have defined as mine and therefore have allowed to become some strange extension of myself. I am me and I have a Z. Who will I be if I don't have a Z? I fret. What if I need my Z tomorrow? I would like to shed this fear of letting things go. I am working on it. I have managed to clean out most of my kitchen cabinets and I feel a lightness each time I see the emptier more organized shelves. There are tougher projects to come like my book shelves and crafting drawers, cupboards, closets, and room. I know I am not the only one who struggles to let go of things and I accept that I am unlikely to master this art but still I can hone my skill and try to cultivate a less is more philosophy.
The process of clearing out and letting go of things is exhausting but the results have been liberating.
Recently we replaced our foam mattress and the craft hoarder / waste watcher in me just could not bear to throw the old mattress away. Even though I am in this new place of purging. I am ashamed to admit that it languished away in our living room for over a week while I contemplated its uncertain fate. I immediately thought of making dog beds but I couldn't think of a suitable material to us as a cover . I have spent hours on previous projects making removable fabric covers. Which aside from all the time to make them had other bigger draw backs.
If you like cleaning and are very diligent about it you may not have these problems but I am not good or diligent about cleaning and since our two dogs and two cats have mastered the art of "shedding" in the most literal sense of the word, cleaning is a mostly losing battle in my house. The fabric covers that I made for previous dog beds were difficult to remove and replace on the foam, they collected hair like a magnet and even when they were clean they were really just cleanish. A while back I switched to old second hand comforters in an effort to at least ride myself of the battle to remove and apply the bed covers. As you can see this was a rather unsightly mess but it did simplify the washing process.
My dog doesn't like having her picture taken. Can you tell? :-)
Anyway back to the "elephant" in the room. For a week I lived with my unresolved conflict eclipsing the couch.
All the while knowing that the time was approaching when I would have to end the duplicity of hanging on and letting go. I pondered what else I could use for a cover feeling guilty about leaving the unsightly behemoth in my living room but feeling worse when I imagined its fate if left out on the curb. To ease my guilt of hanging on I worked on getting rid of other things and so it is, that as I sorted and cleaned, I came across a solution in the linen closet.
I have several rectangular table clothes including this plastic one.
Did I mention that my dinning room table is square? So none of my table clothes even fit the table. Those were some of the easier things to let go.
Anyway the process to make this dog bed with very simple. For the first step I had a little help from the hubby. We marked the mattress with a sharpie and a T square and then cut it into four equal pieces with a hand saw.
There are three foam layers which separated very easily.
I selected one of the layers and wrapped it like a gift box with the table cloth.
I used some straight sewing pins to hold the folds temporarily and then taped it up with some duct tape.
I don't know how well it will wear but it looks a lot better, it will stay so much cleaner. and if I need to, it will be easy to recover.
Now I just need to figure out what to do with all the other mattress pieces :-)
Hello my dear virtual friends,
I have just a quick post today to say I did in fact shave my head on Friday March 13th. Our team raised over 6,000 dollars for the St Baldrick's Foundation. There are events all over the country but the event in Denver at Fado Irish Pub is one of the biggest. This event raised $466,229 and had almost 600 participants. It was a great experience and a fun day with laughing, hanging out with good friends, beer drinking and yep a little crying.
I must tell you, when this all started, I was the last female on our team to sign up and I would never have had the nerve if two of my dear friends weren't also involved in this semi-craziness.
I can't really speak for my friends but I am pretty sure that this was a one time thing for me and I thought that it would be nice to make something to commemorate the event. Being me. of course I had to make that something out of junk. :-)
I used some watch parts, leftover from my other bracelet project, old buttons and even some metal washers to string together these commemorative bracelets.
To stamp the date I used a 5/32" letter stamp set like this one. I am not very good at using it but I did manage to get a legible date.
For those of you who are curious. Some before and after pics.
Me (kind of obvious)
Me with the "Hubby" (The man that got the rest of us involved)
Me and my two beautiful friends.
A hug for courage.
Thanks for stopping by.
My title isn't completely accurate as my hair will actually be gone later today but as I post this I still have a full head of hair. If you are inclined to donate to my fund razing efforts you can still do so on my St Baldrick Page here. I will be deeply grateful. But you will be getting all kinds of good karma for helping to fund research to cure childhood cancers. If you don't know what I am talking about start here.
Shamrock Top Refashion
This was a very simple project to complete.
It started with this green tunic top. The top had a couple of white stains on it that I wanted to disguise. So it was the perfect candidate for a bleach out project and since St Patrick's Day is just around the corner, I decided on the shamrock design.
Step 1 - Print your design shapes on a large sheet of label paper. Carefully cut out shapes.
Step 2 - Layout design and stick to shirt.
Step 3 - Place a piece of cardboard between the layers of the front and back before applying bleach. Use a spray bottle and some bleach to spray shirt. A little bleach goes a long way and will take a minute or two to show up.
Step 4 - Remove a small portion of the sticker design to check bleach effect. Apply more spray if desired try not to saturate the stickers.
Step 5 - Remove all stickers and rinse with soap and water.
Thanks for stopping by.
I will be back next week with a new project and no hair :-)
T minus 7 and counting.........
Yep just 7 days left of hair.
What's this craziness you might wonder, if you have not been here before. Get the back story here. Or you may be tired of hearing about it. Sorry but you will have to endure for a few more weeks as I am sure that I there will be some post shaved head yammering.
One thing I have confirmed about myself during this process is that I am not very good at fund raising. I am also, not surprisingly, very fond of it. But to not ask, would be to miss the point. And so I am asking once again for your help.
There are children fighting for their lives and parents living with the paralyzing fear of losing their child. A horror that I can not imagine. I don't have a heart wrenching personal story to tell you. Somehow, I have lived a life without the terrible intrusion of Cancer. The children in my life are all healthy and I am grateful, although not as mindful as I should be, for this good fortune.
In this context it feels shameful to admit that I am afraid. But honestly I am afraid even though in truth my hair is a small sacrifice.
I hope you will join me by making a small sacrifice of your own.
Alright let's get on with the upcycling.
You may remember a while back during my broken foot stage I made or should I say altered these jeans.
Now that I happily, no longer need a pair of jeans with a big zipper in the leg I have altered them again, with the help of this pair of Capri shorts that were too big and quite worn out in the seat.
Step 1 - Cut off the jeans at the crotch height.
Step 2 - Use some light weight fabric to cut a large rectangle. The dimensions should equal your hip measurement plus an inch or two of ease plus your seam allowance by the approximate length plus hem plus seam allowance.
Step 3 - Sew the rectangle of fabric into a tube and use a long basting stitch to gather it slightly to match the bottom edge of the jean piece. Pin and sew in place.
Step 4 - Cut up the leg portion of the jeans into short stripe of random length approximately 3/4" wide. Sew the pieces end to end into one long strip using both sides of the fabric to get more color contrast. You will need miles of this but you don't have to cut it all at once.
Step 5 - Starting at the top seam stitch down the center of the denim patchwork strip wrapping it around the skirt and over lapping the strips as you work down the skirt. Add more length to the strip as needed.
Step 6 - Continue working down the skirt until you achieve the desired length. I used the double stitched flat felled seam from my jeans for the final wrap around the bottom.
Step 7 - Hem the skirt. You may need to trim the light weight fabric at this point before you sew it up under the skirt.
Step 8 - To finish sew along the top edge of the stripes all the way down the skirt.
Step 9 - Optional add additional embellishments. I love lots of pockets and since the Capri's had a similar pocket style to the jeans I decided to add the two side pockets to my skirt. The Capri's also had some embroidery and rhinestone embellishment that I decided to use.
Thanks so much for stopping by.