Friday, March 6, 2009

From the craft room...

This week I cleared the clutter from my craft room long enough to get some sewing accomplished. These were just two of many projects in my head that I've been longing to do.

The first was a cloth fabric ball filled with jingle bells for my son. Since he chews on everything, I would feel better if he slobbered on something I made myself: thereby knowing where it's been, what it's made of, and who's handled it. Squishable wool and cotton seemed just about right.

Now, I've never been what one would call detail-oriented when it comes to crafting. I almost never pin, measure, or follow directions (unless I'm attempting a technique/style/etc. that's brand new to me). Normally, I know I'm at point A and I have a rough idea of what I want point B to resemble. I plunge into a project and hope for the best. Am I the only one who thinks sewing pattern instructions are completely foreign, written by someone who has never even looked at a sewing machine, let alone sewn anything?!?
I find I'm much more successful if I make it up as I go, or ask an experienced sewer (why does that look like I am talking about a drainage pipe that carries away waste? I mean the other kind: one who sews, a seamstress). As a result of making up my own directions, my seam-ripper has gotten quite the workout over the years and my husband's tag-line every time I start a project is: "I'm predicting tears" {As in crying--boy, conveying intent is really difficult in writing, isn't it? First it was sewer vs. sewer, now it's tears (sobbing) vs. tears (as in rip apart)}. Anyway, I usually end up huffing, sighing in exasperation, muttering about how I will never sew again, and, yes, sometimes crying when something doesn't turn out as I envisioned.

Well, how hard could it be to make a ball? I looked at a couple online tutorials, saw their templates, and forged ahead. I wasn't sure if there was some sort of mathematical component to the template, so I just drew a "petal" shape and made six of them. I wasn't at all sure if the ball would turn out round or more like a football. I got this:

Which definitely resembles the round variety, so I am pleased. :)

I also got to work on sewing a slipcover for a hideous pillow that came with our couch when we bought it. With our son toddling all over the house, we need to cover the fireplace hearth (which is tiled) with something soft to break the inevitable falls soon to come. If there's one thing I've learned about kids, it's that they naturally gravitate toward all things dangerous, inappropriate, or something you've neglected to childproof. When our daughter was in that just-starting-to-walk stage, we covered the hearth with an ugly, albeit functional, egg-crate/foam mattress pad thingy. We taped it down on the hearth with clear packing tape. Hair and dust would collect in the tiny little egg carton "holes." Oh yeah. It was a beautiful sight, my friends. Beautiful. Martha Stewart would have been proud of that decorative display of form meets function.

So this time around, I decided to go with large throw pillows. The first cover is finished, except I still need to stitch around all the appliques (which I adhered with Heat'n'Bond lite) with the sewing machine. This will give it staying power when I wash it and also help it withstand the picking/rubbing/tracing of little fingers. I have a kind of tree, twig, natural, outdoorsy theme going on the main level of our home. I love owls and birds (which I understand are "hot" right now). But, I've always had a thing for them. Honestly, I think it's an inherited trait from my Grandma C. She had a forest right behind her house in New Jersey. Her feeders nourished countless birds, squirrels, chipmunks...most of them "regulars" with names and unique personalities. I was always amazed at her ability to tell them apart, because to me they were always "those brown birds" or "that pretty black and yellow one." But, I've come a long way since then and even have my eye on this book to help me learn more.

But, back to sewing! Here is the newest slipcovered pillow:

I have a couple other ideas for the remaining pillows I'd like to cover. We'll see what snippets of time I can steal in the coming weeks to get those finished. Hey, at least it's not a foam, egg-crate mattress pad full of hair and dust, right??

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