May 28, 2011

sidewalk paint

While wasting time looking for inspiration on the internet this past week, I saw this post at Stampin' and Craftin' for making liquid sidewalk chalk. I bookmarked it for a fun summer activity to do with my son. I decided today (when it finally stopped raining) was the perfect time to try it out. You just need water, corn starch and food coloring, so it is cheap and easy and ended up being a lot of fun. Just mix equal parts of water and cornstarch then add the desired food coloring.

Our paint palette. . .

Getting started. . .

The colors start off kind of watery and light, but once it dries it looks pretty neat. . .

A polka dot dinosaur by yours truly. (I had no idea I was so artistic.)

Our favorite was the "abstract" art. . .

The prettiest driveway in the neighborhood!

SMS giveaway winners!

Thanks for everybody who participated in my Sew, Mama, Sew! giveaway.  I was able to complete two additional morsbags so there are three lucky winners!

Bag #1 winner is comment #107--Keriann!

Bag #2 winner is comment #43--Becky!

and Bag #3 winner is comment #102--Alli!

Congratulations to the winners!

May 25, 2011

other fabric sources

If you are looking for my Sew, Mama, Sew! giveaway, it is here.

Fabric is expensive and from what I've read online, it's going to get more expensive. I'm always on the lookout for inexpensive sources of fabric, and my most common sources are thrifted sheets from Goodwill (which I know makes some people squeamish) and clearance shower curtains and tablecloths from Target. For $2 or $3 you can get a massive amount of fabric. I like using thrifted fabric because in addition to being inexpensive, I also feel like I'm doing my part to reuse items that might otherwise be discarded. But sometimes my love of clearance bargains overtakes my consciousness for the environment and I end up with this. . .

Do you know how long it's going to take me to use 4 shower curtain's worth of fabric? But they were only $2.48 each so I couldn't resist.

My favorite thing to make from my fabric finds is morsbags. (I know I blog about morsbags all the time, but I really, really like them.) The great thing about using shower curtains or tablecloths fabric is it makes for a really durable shopping bag. I don't have any concerns about using my shopping bags and getting them dirty because the bags are washable unlike some of the reusable bags you buy in the store. And when you find a really cute, fun shower curtain for $3.48 at Target, you can make a bunch of really cute, fun morsbags like this--

And then you can share the love and give them away!

If you're interested in making your own morsbag, there is a free pattern on the morsbags website.

May 22, 2011

it's giveaway day again!

It's that time again--Sew, Mama, Sew! giveaway day! I'm giving away the same thing I always give away--morsbags! More specifically, I'm giving away this morsbag--

Morsbags are reusable fabric grocery bags. I usually make them from thrifted sheets, but this one is made from a brand new (clearance) fabric shower curtain from Target. I love the fun, summery stripes. It would also make a great beach or pool bag in addition to hauling groceries. There will be at least one winner, but I will hopefully be giving away three bags to three winners if I can finish the other two this week. (Colors/pattern placement on any additional bags will be different--I'll post additional pictures as they're completed.)

To be entered to win, just leave a comment on this post (one comment per person and US residents only) about something you do (or would like to do) that is environmentally friendly. I will use to choose the winner(s) from all comments left by 12 midnight CST on Friday, May 27, 2011. I will ship the item(s) by Tuesday, May 31(since Monday is a holiday). Be sure to leave an e-mail address if I can't contact you through your comment. Thanks for participating!

May 15, 2011

baby blocks and rings

Have you visited Make It and Love It? Ashley makes really cute stuff and shares some wonderful tutorials. I used her cloth baby blocks tutorial to make these:
The cute striped fabric was a remnant I picked up at Hobby Lobby  and the blue and brown fabrics were from my stash. I cut blocks in three different sizes (5&1/2", 5", and 4&1/2" to end up with blocks approximately 5", 4&1/2", and 4"). I thought it would be cute if baby could stack the blocks in a tower. Except cloth blocks can be a little hard to stack.

I really liked the instructions for attaching the top and bottom panels to the blocks by clipping out the corners before sewing. The corners turned out perfectly. I also used the cloth ring tutorial to make these--

Cute, cute, cute! I kind of wanted to keep them for myself, but they were part of a gift basket for a baby shower I attended yesterday. Thanks for stopping by!

(I spent $3.15 on the striped fabric remnant, but only had to use about 1/4 yard ($1.05).  The blue and brown fabric were from my stash.  If you're buying fabric you'll need about 1/4 yard each of three different fabrics.  Polyfil is about $2.50/bag, but you'll only use part of the bag.)

May 14, 2011

quick change trousers & baby bibs

I've been doing lots of baby sewing for a friend's baby shower. I did buy some stuff including these wonderful heathered bodysuits at Carter's.

(Where were these bodysuits 4 years ago when I had my son? My choices included pastel green and blue with little ducks printed on them.) Using leftover fabrics from the baby blanket, I made a coordinating pair of quick change trousers with a pattern from Anna Maria Horner's book Handmade Beginnings.

I also made a few more bibs--complete with snaps using my new KAM pliers.

May 11, 2011

blanket for a baby boy

My friend is expecting a baby boy in June.  Her baby shower is this Saturday and I am so looking forward to it.  (I love baby showers.)  When I found out she was expecting back in January, I started sewing all sorts of handmade goodies including this blanket--

All of the blocks in the border were from fabric scraps.  I had a pile of scraps sitting on my sewing table after various projects when I realized how nice they all looked together.  The center piece and binding are from a remnant of quilting fabric I got super cheap at Hancock's.

The black backing fabric is from my stash, and I think it's chambray, maybe?  I quilted it in a diagonal pattern with gray thread.  I'm really happy with how it turned out, and I hope mom and baby enjoy it, too.  Thanks for stopping by!

May 4, 2011

polymer clay herb markers

I've been wanting some fabulous herb/garden markers.  (Any of these on Etsy would be lovely.)  I tried making some of the stamped silverware markers last year but it was a flop.  I ended up making stamped terra cotta pots instead.  They fared pretty well over the winter but the ink has faded some.  Since I was in need of a Mother's Day gift for my mom I figured I'd try to make some markers from polymer clay.  If it was successful, maybe I'd get around to making some for myself someday.  So last weekend my 4-year-old son and I ventured to Michaels.  I bought a pack of moss Sculpey III polymer clay for $2.49.  My husband then took our son to Cabela's and I had a very rare few hours to myself.  Since I have never used polymer clay, I found inspiration at this post and made these. . .

The "chives" marker in action.  (I realize this plant is not chives.  It's my green pepper plant, but it's the only prop I had.)

I did not take any pictures of the process since that usually ensures the project will be a disaster.  I'll include step-by-step instructions (minus pics) of what I did which may or may not be helpful.
  1. Separate the polymer clay into the four premarked pieces.  Knead each piece until soft then roll it out into a long strip that is approximately 5 inches long, 1-1/2 inches wide and 1/4 inch thick.  (You can also use a pasta machine which I have since purchased since polymer clay may be my new addiction.)  I was able to make five markers from my pack of clay--one marker from each section and an additional marker from the scraps plus I still have some leftover.
  2. Using a knife, I cut my marker shapes freehand.  The finished sizes ranges from 4-1/4 to 5 inches long and 1 to 1-1/4 inches wide.  I made my markers wider at the top and tapered them down at the bottom.
  3. I took a piece of 100 grit sand paper and gently rolled in on top of each marker for added texture.  (I didn't think this did much until I added the paint in step 7).
  4. Using a small alphabet rubber stamp set, stamp the desired name on each marker.  I made oregano, basil, cilantro, rosemary and chives.  Hopefully this is what my mom is planting this year.  (I purchased my stamp set for $1 at Michaels a few years ago.  I'm not sure if they still sell those?) 
  5. I also used some other decorative rubber stamps to make the swirls around the edges of the markers.
  6. Carefully place the markers on a foil-covered cookie sheet and bake according to the manufacturer's directions on the polymer clay package.  I used Sculpey III and baked my markers at 275 degrees F for 20 minutes.  (Even after cooling completely, they are still pretty flexible but I think they'll be okay.  For my set, I purchased some clearance Sculpey Premo so we'll see if it hardens more.)
  7. After they have cooled completely, use a stiff-bristled brush to apply acrylic paint to the markers then wipe off the excess with a paper towel.  This will make the letters and stamping stand out as well as the texture from the sandpaper.  I used Folk Art Metallic Champagne.
  8. After the paint dried, I used a cotton ball to add a little Tim Holtz Walnut Distress Ink.  Because distress ink makes everything better.  Really.
  9. After the ink is dry, add a coat of clear acrylic spray.  I used Valspar American Tradition ultra clear satin since it's the first can I pulled out of the closet.