Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lunchbag Tutorial on Martha's Craft Blog

Click over to the Martha Stewart Crafts Dept. blog today to check out my tutorial for making your own lunchbag!

Did you notice that my lunchbag matches the sandwich wrap I made a few weeks ago? Heh heh.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Craft Supply Organizing

I've been drowning in a living room full of fabric and thread for too long! Over the weekend, I pulled myself together and organized my mess.

My last apartment didn't have any closets (ahhh, NYC), so my genius mom built free-standing closet doors for me. One side had shelves, and the other side had corkboard, a whiteboard, and hooks for things like hats and bags.

Now I find myself in a new space with (gasp!) three closets!! Nevermind that none of those closets are in the bedroom. I still have the free-standing closet doors, so I used one of them to organize my in-progress crafts. (And eesh, there are a lot of them. Like the blue hat. And the teal dress. Oh and the cotton lawn dress. And the lunchbag.)

Previously the thread was piled into a Ziploc freezer bag. Seriously. I was too embarrassed to even take a before picture. I organized my threads with two of these handy thread racks from Joann's. You can hang them or use them free-standing.

I used a magazine pouch to organize things like rulers, patterns, and other random items. I stuffed the in-progress projects on the shelves on the other side. As these collections grow, I'll probably have to think of another storage idea. For now, it works!

I'd be very curious to hear how you organize your in-progress crafts. (Please don't tell me I'm the only one who stacks them all on a table.)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Anthropologie-Inspired Blooms

I love fresh flowers, but they are expensive and they die way too quickly.

Many weeks ago, I had intentions on making these Anthropologie-Inspired Blooms made from Q-tips. So I made them.

But then the artificial flower stems I bought were too flimsy. I was going to buy a wooden dowel and use that instead. How long did it take me to scoot myself over to Home Depot and buy said dowel? Oh, about two months. If this were Twitter, I'd use my #lazy hashtag.

I ran out of regular Q-tips halfway through the first "flower," so I went to the drugstore and saw these awesome ones with purple stems.

The cool thing about the purple is that it lets you do a two-tone bloom, plus the plastic Q-tips are much easier to break apart than the other ones. However, after I dipped them in the food coloring, I liked how the plain white Q-tip absorbed the food color.

Dip, baby, dip!

What I liked about this project:
You can make it while watching TV. Also, it didn't take much time.

What I didn't like about this project:
Sometimes the Q-tips didn't stay in the styrofoam, so every time I moved the bloom Q-tips would fall out of it. I found that the purple plastic Q-tips fell out more easily than the other ones.

What I listened to while I made this project: Chimney Choir -- an awesome Colorado band I heard at my favorite Brooklyn venue Jalopy. I loved them so much that I even bought their CD. Can you imagine? A CD! That's how much I loved them.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Reusable Sandwich Wrap

Last summer, I won this awesome book called Lunchbags! from a Sew, Mama Sew! giveaway. I loaned it to a friend, and now that it's in my hands again, it's time to make some stuff!

The first project I chose was the Reusable Sandwich Wrap. I'm not much on Ziploc bags. They leak into my purse sometimes, and I feel incredibly guilty and wasteful when I use them. Enter this environmentally-friendly wrap.

Choosing a fabric for this was not easy. I only had one oilcloth print for the inside (good old polka dot!), but I had a billion fabrics to choose from for the outside. I eventually chose a purple and white polyester gingham. Gingham is a favorite print of mine and because it's polyester, I don't see myself making any clothing out of it. I'm way too sweaty for that. (And if you read this and said, "Polyester and oilcloth? That's disastrous!" then you are correct.)

I made this with:
One square of oilcloth and one square of polyester gingham, with 4" snipped off the corners
One button
One hair elastic

The purple gingham actually came from the fabric stash my great aunt gave me, so it should be no surprise that it smelled of mothballs. As soon as I ironed the interfacing onto the polyester, my entire apartment started smelling like mothballs. Two days later, my apartment still smelled like mothballs. As I write this, mothballs hang in the air.

The first thing I did was sew a small rectangle of interfacing on the back of the gingham where the button was going. Then I sewed the button.

Pinning the two evil fabrics together:

One thing that hung me up for a bit was the placement of the elastic. If you make one of these, tuck the elastic between the fabrics after you baste it, that way the elastic will be hanging right out of the seam.

I sewed around the wrap, leaving a 4" opening. Then I turned it inside-out.

Top stitching was by far the biggest pain. I broke a needle, then my bobbin tension was off. There was much swearing and quitting and "I'm never working on this again"s.

The guinea sandwich: peanut butter with cream cheese and Granny Smith apples. Yummers.

A few notes about working with oilcloth:
Don't iron the oilcloth. It will melt and ruin your iron -- possibly even ruin your life.

Don't fold the oilcloth to store it; roll it up instead. Otherwise, you'll get really big creases like mine. They don't want to go away very easily.

What I liked about this project:
I used materials that I already had at home. No spending! (Hey, even the book was free from a giveaway!)

What I didn't like about this project:
Sewing slippery oilcloth to anything is a pain. This project was no exception. I punished myself further by combining oilcloth with polyester. D'oh.

What I listened to while I made this project: Avett Brothers (handsome AND talented)