Aug 142013

Waaaay back when Glowbug was just born and I wasn’t too fond of sitting, I found this adorable littleoddforest seat cusion that I totally wanted… except $40 is an awful lot for something that’s so easy to make. The genius is in the design! But still, easy to copy. So Cheapie Yazoo struck again!
tree cushion

I bought a round cushion from the hardware store and some super cheap corduroy from Fabric Mart, then used a stash zipper and ribbon. This was right after making my brother-in-law’s pillowcase, so I still knew how to make a neato zipper flap (I’ve forgotten already by now!) to hide that pink zipper. The ribbons are there so you can tie the cushion to a stool’s legs.
tree cushion zipper

It takes all kinds of people to make the world go ’round, yeah? I’m a little mosquito in the crafty world, buzzing around to bite your creative ideas. Don’t worry too much, though — I’m much too lazy to make more than one copy of a thing. ;)
tree cushion

Aug 092013

Last year, when Kitschy Digitals had their sale, I got all excited and bought a couple of cross-stitch patterns, one of which was a Wee Little Stitches pattern. I finally finished it!
You Wash I'll Dry towel

Right after I got the pattern, I couldn’t wait to start, so I bought the first blank towel I found, and that was a flimsy muslin thing from my local craft store. About halfway through stitching, I bonked myself on the head for not using a more absorbent towel, but I was too lazy to start over. Because cross-stitching takes forever!

I used waste canvas again, and I still love it. Maybe one day I’ll forget how long this little thing took me, and I’ll redo it on a properly absorbent towel. Hah!
You Wash I'll Dry, from a very blue picture oops

Aug 072013

Oops! I wanted my goal for this month to be Mr. Yazoo’s birthday present, but I haven’t even pulled fabric for it yet, so I have nothing to take a picture of. Instead, my goal will be to finish Cosmo’s book quilt in time for the beginning of preschool. He’s so excited about being in the 4s class this year!
books for baby quilt top

Jul 292013

I’m starting to realize that part of the reason I’m such a slow sewerer is that my brain doesn’t work too well when I’m sleep deprived. (See? Prime example of my brain not working — why did it take me so long to realize this?)

Last night, I cut out my fabric for the Star Surround quilt-along, and I used a yard each of blue, green, and yellow for my background pieces. I really would have preferred the background to be all light gray, but I didn’t have any in my stash, and I thought I should use what I already have. I was thinking that I’d randomly sprinkle the three background colors throughout, but now that I’m (slightly) more awake, I’m wondering if I made yet another bad sleepyhead decision. Feel free to tell me if you think my brain wasn’t working!
star surround fabric, annotated

I am pretty happy with my main fabric choices, though — at least, I’m proud that I finally took value into account. I took an ipod picture and desaturated it and everything to check!

P.S. When I was cutting sashing strips for my Books for Baby quilt top, I needed 24 10″ x 1.5″ strips, so I thought, “okay, ten inches means I can get four per wof, so 24 divided by 4 is six strips.” Then while I was cutting, I thought, “wait! 4 times 6 is sixteen! I need eight strips!” O_o And finally, after I finished cutting all eight strips into ten-inch chunks, I realized I was right the first time. See? Sleepy brain no worky!

P.P.S. I discovered that my rotary pinking blade works much better with more layers! I had a lot fewer uncut threads when I layered my fabric four to six times. (I didn’t try eight.)

Jul 282013

I’ve been looking forward to making the Books for Baby quilt, but I wasn’t paying attention and didn’t realize it was this week’s project til it was announced! So I jammed and made it in a week. Blammo! (It’s fast for me…)
books for baby quilt top

I made about four books a night from Monday through Thursday, then Friday and Saturday were for the final assembly, and here we are: one baby quilt top, done!
owl block

I made the book blocks using all scrap bin fabric, so it looks a little crazy because I didn’t have many low-volume scraps to use for backgrounds. And I didn’t realize the peachy border fabric would have such a strong effect on the quilt — I kind of wish I’d used more of the yellow for borders. Oops!
ladybugs block

Since I knew I was going to be handling the quilt blocks a lot (I took them to work for the removing paper part), I used a pinking blade in my rotary cutter. The back of the quilt looks super tidy, but all of the little confetti fabric bits made a huge mess on the floor!
books for baby, back of the quilt

Even though the quilt came out kind of peachy-colored, I’m still really excited about it. Cosmo and Sunshine have fun pointing things out in our I Spy picnic quilt, so I’m hoping they’ll do the same with this one. I’m planning to finish it up in time for Cosmo to use it for naps when preschool starts up again!

Jul 252013

Just in time for his first birthday this weekend, I finished the quilt meant for my nephew’s actual birth! It was my July ALYoF goal and also one of my strategies for stretching my crafting money (finishing wips to stave off starting quite so many new projects).
monsterz fussy fairytales

It’s made using Kate Conklin’s Fussy Fairytales pattern. I remember that I was amazed at the neat way she has you cut fabric, but now I can’t actually remember anything about it. Hah! Since this was supposed to be a special event quilt (and also because I was more spendy then), I bought a fat quarter bundle of Monsterz just for it, and I just love the funny little ghosty guys!
monsterz fussy fairytales parachute block

I’ve been wanting to baste differently in order to save on buying spray baste (plus, the last time I spray basted, I got a blister on my finger. How ridiculous is that!), and Blair Stocker at wise craft happened to have recently posted about how she bastes with regular pins and craft foam as stoppers. It’s so awesome!
pin basting

I basted my quilt on the dining table without using clamps (I read someone else saying that the weight of the quilt hanging off the edges is enough to keep things taut; plus, I’m lazy) and it was so easy! I normally haaate basting, but this time I actually enjoyed myself. The bent sewing pins went in much, much more easily than basting safety pins, so there was no struggling with dull points, jabbing holes into the table, and ending up with great big holes in the quilt top. I also felt quite thrifty because I pulled my old, bent pins out and used those first. After those were used up, it was fun but weird to bend perfectly good straight pins!
haha bent pin

It only took half a sheet of the 6mm craft foam to stop all the pins, so that was nice and cheap, too. I never got jabbed while I was quilting the quilt, even though a couple of foam squares fell off their pins because I’d stuck them in off-center. I had fun making a temporary pincushion for my basting pins and foam bits — it looks even crazier than a normal pin cushion since the pins are bending every which way!
new basting pincushion

I finally got to try out a fancy (for me) straight-line quilting pattern! This is the pattern I wanted to use for the Full Swing quilt, but wasn’t able to mark off properly. This quilt’s small, so I was able to use my hera marker and the dining table to mark the lines. Yay! I made the lines a non-fancy inch apart so the quilt would stay squishy.
fussy fairytales back

I machine bound the quilt, and you can really see in the unevenness that I don’t like to pin in advance. Oops!fussy fairytales binding

It is now the portion of the post where I shamelessly put up pictures of my kids because there happens to be a quilt under them. Oh, oh! My excuse is that I haven’t yet figured out how to take good pictures at my parents’ house (direct sun is too bright, shade from the house is too dark, and I haven’t figured out where there’s diffused light), but I seem to have an easier time fixing pictures with a person in them. Babies are better than blank paper for white balancing?
monsterz fussy fairytales glowbug

monsterz fussy fairytales sunshine

monsterz fussy fairytales come on now

Jul 222013

At the beginning of the year, I made Cosmo that car backpack with the not-quite-right straps that I was too lazy to fix.
backs of backpacks

After being Mean Mom on a couple of field trips — forcing him to carry his own backpack even though: 1) Daddy carries all the backpacks when he goes on field trips and 2) the straps kept falling off Cosmo’s shoulders — I finally fixed them. There’s no way I was going to let that expensive Kokka fabric go to waste!

I had quite a bit of Soft and Stable lying around, and it seemed to be perfect for the job since it holds its shape while also being really light. I also wanted to use corduroy since it kind of clings to other fabric (I was really trying to get that backpack to stay on Cosmo’s shoulders!), but that meant I was not at all looking forward to turning a tube of corduroy + Soft and Stable right side out. But then I had an idea! (Which I’m sure has been done before, but it never hurts to have ideas in many places.) So here’s how I made backpack straps out of two bulky, stick-to-each-other materials:

  1. Sewed the corduroy tubes closed at one end.
    sew strap - step 1
  2. Sewed the Soft and Stable just to the short, closed end of the inside-out strap.
    sew strap - step 2
  3. Turned the corduroy right side out around itself and then up along the Soft and Stable. Easy!
    sew strap - step 3

Then I just whapped off the old straps at the upper back seam, sewed them on top of the new straps, picked apart the top seam, and sewed it back together with the new strap in. I didn’t realize this until I was done, but because the top hanging loop was basted to the back of the backpack, it ended up underneath the new straps, but I was once again much too lazy to go back and fix it. Will I ever learn? Probably not!
fixt backpack straps

The new straps work much better than the old, but to be honest, the kids with the store-bought backpacks have a much easier time than poor Cosmo. Too bad! I’m still gonna make Cosmo use it. muhahaha.

Speaking of field trips, I’m just going to whisper here — in my limited experience with three-year-olds, it seems like it’s better for parents to either come to all of the field trip (and then take their kid home afterwards) or not come at all. Mr. Yazoo and I have been on a few field trips lately where a well-meaning parent goes to work first, attends the field trip portion of the day, and then goes back to work… but after that parent leaves, his’er kid criiiiiiies all during the bus ride back to school. However, the kids whose parents don’t come to the field trip are perfectly happy with their schoolmate partner and whichever adult chaperone was assigned to them. Just wanted to mention…!

Jul 192013

Since I sew while everyone’s sleeping, I close the bedroom door most of the way so the noise and light doesn’t disturb my family, but still leave it a little cracked open so I can hear when Glowbug wakes up. On breezy nights, this was a problem because the door would bang open and shut, obviously defeating the purpose of the whole thing. Solution? A rock door stop!
door stop rock happy

I thought that was so funny — it’s a rock! Rocks make great doorstops! But I made a rock for a doorstop instead of just picking one up from outside! hehehe.

Anyway, I embroidered faces on the other two sides as well (please pardon the weird colors — I don’t know what the heck I’m doing in gimp).
door stop rock squinty

Since we moved, I packed up my less-frequently-used craft supplies in boxes that are currently under the house, and that’s where my would-have-been-perfect-for-this bag of crushed walnut shells is. Doh! Then I remembered our jar full of change that never gets spent, so I weighted the rock with a bag of pennies. Nice and heavy!
door stop rock sleepy

The next morning, eagle-eyed Cosmo noticed our new rock right away, and claimed he loved it and that it was his best friend. He carried it around the house, kept tossing it (to go THUNK on the hard floors), and got into some scuffles with Sunshine over whose rock it was, so the next night I made some rock brothers for the kids to play with.
rock bros
Of course, the boys mainly ignored the new rocks. Such is my life!

Linking up to Amanda’s Finish It Up Friday. Maybe someone else will think these are funny, too! :D

Jul 172013

My parents babysat for us in the evening recently, and I asked my mom to think about what she would like for payment. (They take care of our kids while we’re at work and we’re living with them right now, so they definitely deserve something when they do extra babysitting.) She came up with a fee I really liked — she asked me to sew some thank you presents for my two aunties and uncle who were treating my parents to a fancy dinner. Yay for some fun small projects!

Mom asked just for three stay put towels (which I forgot to take pictures of), but that seemed like not enough, so I also made some market totes. Using stashed home dec fabric meant that I could skip interfacing the outside, which was fantastic because I’m such a slow sewerer that it somehow took me six hours (from midnight to the morning) to make these three bags. I was falling asleep during the endless top stitching! The two Outside Oslo ones were for my aunties, and it was so nice that my two very generously cut half yards of Flea Market Fancy coordinated perfectly.
Outside Oslo market bags

I left the bags out for my mom to find when I went to have a little nap before the kids woke up, and my mom could tell that the Puti de Pome bag was for her — she likes quirky prints. Those grouchy kids are funny!
Puti de Pome market bag

I didn’t make a bag for my uncle — I mentioned to Mr. Yazoo that I was trying to think of ways to quickly stencil a plane on fabric (my uncle likes to build model planes) so I could make him a tote, too, but he said that my uncle wouldn’t care about not having one. It’s good to run things by him for the boy perspective!

Later on, I met up with my former Japanese teacher to say good-bye because she was moving back to Japan. Since totes were on my mind, I made her one with a version of her business logo on it for a bye bye present. Her real logo has too many small bits for lazy me to replicate exactly:

… and this is my simplified version:
nacos bag closeup

A long time ago, I bought some twill tape labels that I only just noticed have the design printed on iron-on transfer stuff. I usually use them for quilts, but this time I used them for these bags, and when I pressed the side seams to set the stitches, the iron-on stuff melted a little and stuck to the fabric. Oops! It wasn’t too bad for the Outside Oslo and Puti de Pome bags, but it left noticeable schmutz on the gray canvas. Doh!
nacos bag label schmutz

At some point, I want to make a market tote for me — they’re perfect for going to the library, because they hold a ton. My mom lent me an old one of hers, and it just about perfectly fits around twelve kiddie picture books and few grown-up hardcovers. In case you were in the market for a practical library bag. :)

Jul 122013

Yes, I am inflicting yet another gadget case on you! My uncle just got himself a new Nook, and he was carrying it around in a plastic grocery bag. My mom offered him one of her Le Sportsac bags, which he shockingly declined, saying it was too girly. Soon after that, he invited everyone out to dim sum (YAY), so I attempted to make him a less girly gadget case as a thank you present. It is so manly, in fact, that I had Sunshine help model it to try to prevent you from falling right to sleep.
manly gadget case haha

It’s made of linen (being gray ups the testosterone points), canvas duck (practically from Lowe’s), and a Parson Gray print (manly fabric designed by a man). You can see that my top stitching is nothing to rave about, but (to make myself feel better,) I read someone’s opinion that top stitching twill is to be avoided. I did notice that the top stitching on the linen side came out much nicer.
gadget case inside

I had to take it apart and adjust things because it was initially a little too small, but lucky for me, I had practice doing that from the last time my dad asked me to adjust his gadget case. Sunshine approves of me getting over myself.
gadget case and Sunshine

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts’ Finish It Up Friday!