Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Eleonore Jeans -- a matching set!

I made two pairs of Jalie 3461 Eleonore pull-on jeans yesterday and today. I used a stretchy denim or twill that was just perfect for this pattern. The instructions on the pattern were very clear and easy to follow, and the new Jalie patterns are printed in color so the lines are really easy to trace. However, I found a couple of mistakes in the letter labels on the lines, so be careful when you are tracing. 

I really like the end result, but I have a few notes on fit below.

This is size H on my very small 6 year old:
IMG_20150804_1925486 91 by jenn_carney, on Flickr

IMG_20150804_1925588 29 by jenn_carney, on Flickr 

Here is my 11 year old, in a mix between size N/P/R (haha -- like the radio -- I knew I was raising a liberal!):
IMG_20150804_1906153 01 by jenn_carney, on Flickr

IMG_20150804_1917225 56 by jenn_carney, on Flickr

So, about the fit. I love the way the legs fit my very slender girlies. These are the first pants that have looked good on my 11 year old in ages! She is super long legged, so her legs were 4 sizes above her hip size. It's a good thing I sew! 
The part I didn't like was the waist. On both girls, I chose the waist size according to their actual waist measurements, but when I sewed the pants, the waist was huge. Really huge. I ended up doing some seam ripping to take it in. The pattern has you cut elastic that is exactly the same measurement as the waist pieces, so you aren't stretching the elastic at all as you sew it down. This would work great to make a flat front elastic waist IF the waist pieces were just a tiny bit smaller than or even equal to your actual waist size. But these turned out much larger for my girls. Also, these didn't turn out as low rise as I expected them to be based on the description. So my suggestion is that you use a shorter piece of elastic and stretch the elastic as you sew it into the waistband.

For length, I chose the length based on their inseam measurement. This worked out perfect for my 11 year old (who is 5'3"). I might lengthen them even a little bit more for her so she has has growing room, but it was perfect the way it is. But for my 6 year old, I cut off about 3 inches before I hemmed them. They were WAY too long as drafted. Not a big deal, though, as that is an easy fix. 

Also, the back waist piece is shorter than the front waist. So the side seam is farther back than I would expect. It seems like an odd choice that they made when drafting this pattern. It is not bad -- just not what I would have expected.

Overall, though, the end result is so good for my 11 year old that I will definitely sew some more of these.

And now we quilt!

My 11 year old and I made our very first quilt this summer. It is a small one -- only crib sized. But she and I were both involved in every single step, so she learned all the basic skills needed for quilting. (There are a million pictures of the simplest quilt, I know. Can you tell that I am excited? )

She picked the fabric and we picked the pattern together (Sunset Ridge quilt from Moda bakeshop blog).
I taught her to rotary cut:
IMG_20150619_1509207 28 by jenn_carney, on Flickr

She did at least a third of the piecing (I am quicker than her), and hers was usually straighter than mine! She worked side by side with me on a second machine. 
IMG_20150623_0938014 25 byjenn_carney, on Flickr

She was proud when the quilt top was done:
IMG_20150627_1201194 16 by jenn_carney, on Flickr

After many failed practice attempts at free motion quilting, we decided to go with straight line quilting. Hannah chose for it to be diagonal (which was not what I was rooting for), and she was absolutely right -- it looks great on the finished quilt. I found a walking foot I didn't even know I had and learned to use that.
No one told me that this part of the process takes FOREVER! I couldn't believe how long it took to sew all those parallel lines:
IMG_20150701_1103150 75 by jenn_carney, on Flickr

Then we had to learn to do binding. It came out ok -- kind of uneven sometimes. I am sure we will get better at it. I actually really enjoyed hand sewing the binding to the back, but Hannah did not enjoy the handsewing so much.
IMG_20150802_214508 by jenn_carney, on Flickr

Here is the finished quilt front:
IMG_20150803_1909054 02_HDR by jenn_carney, on Flickr

And back -- again the fabric choice was Hannah's. All the kids love this fabric. It would not personally have been my choice, but eh.
IMG_20150803_1909284 44_HDR by jenn_carney, on Flickr

Close up of our quilting. Since it took forever, it deserves a second photo.
IMG_20150803_1910048 25_HDR by jenn_carney, on Flickr

IMG_20150803_1909461 73_HDR by jenn_carney, on Flickr

IMG_20150803_183142 by jenn_carney, on Flickr

If you read all this, you a patient and kind person.  Thanks for bearing with me with this novel!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Creative highlights from the last year

So, since I took a hiatus from bloggin, I have so many things I haven't posted!  Here are some of my favorite pictures of things I have made over the last year and a half or so.  If you want details on patterns, materials, sizes, etc, please comment and I will get back to you.

(Made using the Enchanted Tree tutorial for bendy dolls!)

A Loony Tune Halloween!

Thanks for looking!  This summer I am going to try to start blogging regularly again! 
That's all folks!

A diaper bag!

So I guess I haven't blogged in two years... huh.  Time really gets away from you sometimes...

Nevertheless, I have been creating, mostly sewing, sewing, and more sewing!  Here's a recent project that I had a lot of fun with.

My friend Kelly is having another baby!  After a few kids, you start to feel like you need some new things -- for you and for the baby!  She found a diaper bag that she liked (shown on this blog: http://www.thesmallthingsblog.com/20...t-go-together/), but it was out of her price range, so I was trying to replicate that. 

This was such a fun project because I was challenging myself to make that diaper bag, but to do it in a way that I could afford! So I went to oodles of thrift stores until I found a (faux) leather purse in the right color for only $5 that I could cut apart as a source of the leather and a source of hardware (including the zipper) for the bag. But I needed more hardware, and it is so pricey! So I ended up buying another thrift store purse for $3.50 just for the magnetic snap (they are $6 a piece at JoAnns!), and I bought dog leashes at the dollar store for the spinny hook things on the ends of the strap. And I also got two dollar store dog collars that I sewed to the inside as stroller straps. My favorite diaper bag was one that had stroller straps. It makes everything so much easier! I bought a 2 pack of flexible thin plastic cutting boards at the dollar store, too, to cut up to reinforce the bottom of the bag. I did have to buy some interfacing and the outer striped fabric, but I think my grand total cost was about $22 for the materials. The yellow fabric inside is actually a fabric from my grandmother. It is probably at least 50 years old and has been hiding in my stash for years. It had all sorts of discoloration that I had to cut around, but I think it looks great.

This bag is made using the tutorial found here:

Front: (notice the handmade tag -- I miss Night Owl Menagerie!)
IMG_20150611_1650588 69 byjenn_carney, on Flickr

Back (the zipper and zipper pull were from the thrift store purse. I promise it isn't wonky, though it looks it in this picture)
IMG_20150611_1651413 09 byjenn_carney, on Flickr

Inside -- elastic pocket divided into three parts on one side and two parts on the other side. And you can see the stroller straps, too.
IMG_20150611_1652024 64 byjenn_carney, on Flickr

Straps -- the tabs with the rings are cut from the thrift store purse. And then the hook parts are from the dog leashes. I love how it looks. This is showing you the side of the bag. It has pockets on both sides. This bag has 10 pockets in total!

IMG_20150611_1653017 16_HDR by jenn_carney, on Flickr

Inside of front flap -- here you see the "creative design element." I was basically done sewing the whole bag, when I realized that the magnetic snap placement was wrong. It would only work if the bag was stuffed completely full, but if the bag was partially empty, the snaps wouldn't line up. So I needed to add a second magnetic snap (which necessitated more trips to thrift stores to find a cheap purse as a source of a magnetic snap). Since everything was already assembled and topstiched, I would have needed to seam rip at least 3 seams, maybe more to get access to add the snap. So instead, I cut a hole in the fabric to reach in and add the snap, and then I covered it with a patch. That patch is made from printable fabric that is heat-n-bonded to the bag. I made the graphic in Word and printed it right out onto the fabric. This is perfect because the tradition in our little group of friends is to each share a special scripture verse or two with the expectant mom at the baby shower, so now it will be printed right on the gift. This picture also shows the little spot on the edge where I melted the faux leather with my iron -- grrr. I am *not* showing you the other part that I messed up where the stripes are not straight on the front pocket -- but at least the flap covers that mistake.
IMG_20150611_1652391 02 by jenn_carney, on Flickr

I was so glad when Kelly opened the present and was so thrilled with the diaper bag!  I can't wait to meet her new little one -- maybe this week!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Football Stadium Birthday Cake

My older son turned 8!  This is unbelievable to me, that he could already be eight.  Eight.  I remember being eight.  I was in third grade, and I no longer felt little at all. 

I always make the kids a fairly complicated cake of their choosing.  This year he asked for a Pokémon card.  I stalled, redirected, stalled some more.  This was for two reasons.  First, do you know how complicated a Pokémon card is????  Second, I am SO bored with Pokémon.  I am sick of looking at Pokémon cards, playing Pokémon, listening to 15 minute lectures on the merits of various Pokémon, etc.  So I made a counter proposal of a football stadium cake, and he agreed!  Thank goodness!

This cake was actually very simple.  I made a chocolate sheet cake and frosted it green.  Then I baked a lemon pound cake recipe in two loaf pans.  I cut the loaves in half and placed the cut side down.  I shaved a thin slice off the top to make them angle down towards the field.  Then I iced them in white lemon buttercream frosting, which I also used to pipe in the lines on the field.  The tops of the pound cakes are covered with multicolored sprinkles to look like crowds of people.

The goal posts were the only part I couldn't figure out.  I put out a desperate call for ideas on Facebook, and a friend suggested bendy straws, which worked pretty well.  One post is clearly crooked in this picture, but it looked pretty good up until this point. 

So, compared to cakes from previous years, this was simple!  Only two cakes and only two colors of frosting.  And Joseph was happy.

On a side note, I love the way this picture turned out.  This is what happens when I turn my expensive camera to automatic (candlelight mode), rather than trying to be a better photographer than I really am. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I have discovered a new love...

And it's peg dolls.

(You're surprised, right?  You were probably expecting me to say chocolate.  Or salted caramels.  Or chevrons.  Those are all true, too.)

The great part about peg dolls is that they really open up imaginative play.
Sarah, who is four, will play for an hour with her peg dolls, doing all the dialogue for all the dolls in a little unintelligible sing-song voice that she uses just while playing. 
(This totally gratifies the Waldorf-loving mommy in me.)
Can you see what she is playing with? 
It's a set of 12 little girls in two straight lines!  Oh, how we love Madeline in our house!
Actually, Miss Clavel is my favorite.
Peg dolls are basically a blank canvas.  I bought a bag of girl shapes and a bag of boy shapes from an Etsy seller, and then I just used acrylic paints to decorate them.  I finished them by rubbing them with beeswax. 
You can be really creative and make up your own designs.
Or you can be like me, and copy the things you like on Pinterest. 
(I might sometimes only do the easy parts or simplify hugely.  For instance, the ties on the Madeline girls are just red blobs in my version, unlike the originals I was emulating.  Turns out Sarah doesn't care.)
What?  You don't follow Pinterest boards of peg dolls? 
You should!  They are cute!
Check out this one by my friend Crys.
It's kind of addicting.  I just made a couple more sets last week to swap with a friend.  I forgot to take pictures, but I made pirates this time.  I love them. 
The possibilities are endless.  I was thinking of making a set of Monsters, Inc. ones next.  Or maybe some minions.  I do love minions...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Shrinkydink Teacher Gift!

The end of the school year is next week for us in this area. Although three of my kids are homeschooled, one is in public school in kindergarten this year. His teacher has been wonderful, and she is retiring at the end of this school year. Everyone is contributing to a group gift, but I wanted something a little more personal for her. 

So, I broke out the shrinky dink plastic, and copied the school mascot to make a necklace for her.
Now, if you have been following this blog at all, you would know that I cannot draw like that on my own!  Luckily, my son had a school t-shirt with the mascot (a tiger, or maybe a leopard??, named Jaz) on the back.  I dropped the t-shirt onto a copier, and reduced the image size to 2" x 3".  Then I traced the image onto the shrinky dink plastic and followed the directions on the package to shrink it. 
Am I the only one who is completely fascinated by watching shrinky dinks do their magical shrinking?  It amazes me when they curl up and then flatten out again, all in seconds. 
I rummaged around in my bins of junk until I found some beads and some waxed cord to string it on.  And then I hit the jackpot and found some necklace closures, too.  You never know what you will find when you search through my bins of goodies. 
Then I decided it was just tons of fun and I wanted to keep playing with shrinky dinks, so I made a keychain, too.
I know that this is just the type of gift that the teacher will love, as she is always sentimental, and even more so as retirement approaches.  I hope that this will help her keep her school days in her mind and heart, even as she goes on to new exciting adventures.
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