I'm Janimal, happily gainfully employed Momma to a sweet girl. Livin' it up in Atlanta with a great husband and a good job. Sometimes I make stuff and here's my spot to show it off! Life is good, so I'm sharing....

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Shorts for Delilah

When dressing Delilah the other day, I realized I needed to weed through her clothes (again!) and pack up the stuff she doesn't wear anymore. She's growing like mad and it seems like she needs a different size every 5 minutes!

As I went through her clothes, I picked out lots of her pants -- way too thick for the southern heat. And I realized she didn't have that many pairs of shorts that fit.

Momma to the rescue! Here are 4 of the 5 pairs of shorts I made Delilah in the last few days.

Now, there are lots and lots of tutorials out there on how to make a simple one piece pattern out of shorts you already own. And it doesn't look that hard. But honestly, I just wasn't up for wasting any fabric or my time on trying to do this on my own and not getting it right. I don't have the energy to try and fail at fitting her properly.

So I bought a pattern. For $6. On Etsy. This one. From this shop. Worth every penny! For $6 all the guesswork was taken out. No sewing and ripping seams and measuring and redoing. For $6 I got one magical pattern piece that is so easy to put together!

Here's the 5th pair I made. Action shot - I kind of like this impromptu pose.

I didn't follow the instructions completely. These are roomy roomy shorts. On Delilah at this length they kind of look like board shorts, which I think is kinda cool.

I can't share the pattern with you - you have to pay the nice australian lady on Etsy $6 for that, but I can tell you a little bit about how I made them.

First, after cutting out the pattern. (one pattern piece, cut 2 of them for one pair of shorts) I used an overlock stitch all around the two pattern pieces before I started. So all my seams would be finished. For the elastic casing at the waist, I didn't double fold. Since it was overlocked, I just folded it down and ran a straight stitch around.

If you don't have an overlock stitch or foot to go with it (or a serger, which would be ideal of course) -- oooh, get one, it's awesome, --- if not, you can instead sew a zigzag stitch close to the edges to help with fraying. You could also do french seams if you like.

For the bottom hem, I just left the overlock stitch. Didn't hem it! They would be a tad fancier with a pretty hem I suppose, but for play clothes I think the overlocked hem looks just fine.

This pattern could be used for bloomers, and includes instructions on adding a casing for elastic at the legs. Maybe I'll do that one of these days.

Let's see, that's 5 pairs of shorts from a $6 pattern. 3 of the fabrics I used were given to me free. So for those 3 pairs of shorts, I averaged $2 apiece. And I am going to make more! So you see, that $6 pattern was a bargain for me! Ooh, maybe I'll add some pockets to a pair. Or embroider some....or add some ruffles.......

There is so much value in the free patterns and tutorials available online. But sometimes, paying a little to gain the advantage of benefitting from someone's else's experience and know-how can make all the difference.

Later skaters,

make it wear itgiveaways

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Blog Award

Thank you, thank you SewAmbitious for sending me this award! SewAmbitious has a totally groovy blog. She says she has only been sewing a short time, which is amazing because her projects are crazy cool. Honestly, she's a natural!

The rules appear to be that I have to tell you 10 random things about me.

  1. I have never tasted iced tea.

  2. I love to sing, and I suck at it. I mean, honestly, my singing voice is terrible. (I'm going to keep singing anyway!)

  3. My biggest pet peeve is when people throw their cigarette butts out their car windows. The World is not an ashtray.

  4. Wait, that's my second pet peeve. My first is bigotry.

  5. I write most of my blog posts with! lots! of! exclamations! Then I end up editing most of them out. What can I say, I feel emphatic.

  6. Ice cream trucks skeeve me out

  7. My daughter is made of 100% WIN and is fortified with AWESOME

  8. I'm not comfortable with Team Edward or Team Jacob. The characters are teenagers. So I have decided to join Team Charlie -- but he really needs to lose that mustache.

  9. Despite having the most amazing little girl on the planet, I still *feel* infertile. The trials and tribulations of the journey to motherhood are still with me. And my heart aches for every other woman yearning to complete their family.

  10. I have only told 2 real life friends about this blog. Not sure why -- I mean, I have nothing to hide. Nothing posted that I wouldn't be comfortable anyone reading or seeing. I suppose if my blog were attached to an Etsy store or I was trying to make money using AdSense or something, it would make sense for me to tell more people. I have no plans to sell any projects I make. No plans to try and make any income from this blog. But I like things as they are. I like that the people who have chosen to follow me, are following because they want to. Not to enter a giveaway or because I asked in some other way. That's cool!
Passing this award on to some other lovely bloggers....

1) Gotta give some local love to a fellow Georgia gal at Stress The Seams
2) If Haupi at Hauplight lived near me we would have to be friends. One of the few non-craft blogs I have recently fallen for.
3) Fellow Brit and hot tea drinker/addict at Filth Wizards -- I started bookmarking projects of hers to do and ended up pretty much bookmarking her whole blog!
4) Check out Kalleen At Second Street - 4 kids and still has the energy to make awesome awesome things!
5) Embellished Bayou is sharing the love down in Louisianna! She and I copied the same wreath and looks like we have some of the same fabrics in our stashes. Great minds think alike?!
6) Tot Tuesdays at Delicious Ambiguity rocks my world. But she's awesome all the other days too!
7) Lots of love to Let's Go Fly A Kite - isn't that a great name for a blog?!
8) What an eye for fabrics over at Little Lizard King - I seriously want to raid her sewing room.
9) If you don't know Sutton Grace, where ya been?! Go fall in love....
10) Last, but not least, oooooh the cakes at Texas Monkey!

That was fun! Pass it on ladies!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Embroidery Madness

Embroidery madness at Janimal's house!

Last weekend, I had some organizing and rearranging to do in my sewing/craft room. When I am in that room, I want to be creating -- not working! Thanks to my embroidery machine, I got to do both at once! It whirrs away stitching while I putter about.

First up -- I made a little tote bag for a little girl who is about to turn 3 years old. (This tote is actually about 11 inchs wide - small!)

Now I just have to figure out what to put inside the bag for her gift! This tote bag follows the construction of THIS TUTE on Sew Mama Sew, just with smaller dimensions and no pocket. I also didn't sew a seam at the bottom and instead folded the fabric at the bottom so the fold is in place of the seam. My dimensions for this was to cut the main piece 12' x 22', and the straps were 3' x 18'. Hope she likes it. BUT WHAT DO I PUT IN IT? I don't know what 3 year old girls like! Help me!

Next up are some cloth napkins.

Stars n Stripes and the Union Jack. The first pair of a set. (Embroidery design by Urban Threads)

I'm a Brit living in America. I love America. Love it dearly. But I'm still a Brit. I explain my love for my countries like this. Let's say you have a baby. You adore this baby. They are a part of you in every way. Then you get pregnant. It's hard to imagine that you will ever love another baby the way you loved that first one. But the second baby comes and you love that baby too. You adore the baby. Loving the new baby doesn't in any way affect your love of the 1st baby. You happily discover there is room in your heart to love them both.
That's how I feel about my countries. I love them both.

But I digress.....I like to call these embroidered kitchen towels my "Who burned dinner? Not me!" towels.

I added embroidered names to some towels and washcloths. Not fancy and I didn't photograph the boring towels to show you, but I did add this little guy to a washcloth that I think is cute.

What a friendly alien robot! (Design from Urban Threads)
In other news we took Delilah to her first swim lesson on Sunday. (Her name on her towel, of course!) I consider it a success because she didn't cry nor poop in the pool. And I didn't either!
Later skaters,
I really do need suggestions about what to put in the bag as a 3 year old girl's birthday gift. Help please!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Doll Post

Greetings friends.

I'd like you to meet some dolly friends. Both made from FREE (well written, easy to follow) downloadable patterns found on the web.

Meet Dotty and Audrey.

Dotty is a very simple version of the Black Apple Doll, from a pattern featured on Martha Stewart. I made Dotty some time ago, before I ever thought about having a blog myself. Honestly, I forgot about her. Hadn't seen her in a while. Then I discovered she had taken a mini vacation in the space between our washer and dryer in the laundry room. Naughty girl had gotten a little dusty. She looks well rested from her holiday.

Dotty was mostly sewn using my machine, and I chose to embroider her face rather than paint or draw on. The Black Apple pattern is pretty easy to follow, and can be done by hand also. I personally have a tendency to overstuff the doll parts. Learn from my mistake!

As for Audrey -- I think she looks much more complicated to make than she actually is. As I was putting her together I was surprised at how smoothly things went. I like working with wool felt. It's cool not to have to think about fraying. And even wonky stitching can be disguised well as the right color floss practically makes the stitches disappear. (A tip, choose floss slightly darker than the felt rather than lighter, it blends better). The toughest part was attaching the arms and honestly, it wasn't that hard. The second hardest part was picking the colors to use!

Audrey is handstitched from wool felt, from a pattern by the incredibly talented Mimi Kirchner, featured on the magnificent Purl Bee website. You can see the tutorial and download the pattern here.

I think I should have embroidered the nose differently. I think the floss I used was too light, making it hard to see. But other than that I'm really quite pleased with her.

Know what else is cool about Audrey? Her legs are attached with buttons which makes her poseable so she can sit up on her own.

Even if you aren't up for making the whole doll, the dress is a great simple pattern and could be used to make an outfit for Barbie!

You can check out more versions of the Purl doll on Flickr here. Versions of the Black Apple doll are all over blogland.

If you have ever thought about making a doll - do it! Honestly it is so satisfying! And probably much easier than you think it's going to be!
Later skaters,

Decor Mamma

PonyTails and FishScales


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Why I Love To Sew For Delilah

When I was a little girl, I often had to wear hand me down clothing. Which was fine, except that they were hand me downs from my brother. NOT so girly. My Mum was a single working Mother in a working class neighborhood in Manchester, England, and money was a bit tight.

Sometimes, she would handsew me clothes. Yes, HAND sew. She didn't have a machine. She made me pretty skirts and dresses, sometimes with little matching bags. All very girly - I suppose to counteract the supply of scuffed pants and blue shirts I was getting from big brother. She worked all day, had a hot meal on the dinner table each night, kept our home immaculately clean and then managed to handsew clothing for me. How did she do it?!

I LOVED THESE GARMENTS. I recall so fondly now how I used to twirl and swirl in the sweet clothes my Mother had labored over. They were my favorite things. There was a sweet red fabric with tiny white flowers she made into a dress with a little matching laced trimmed pouch to carry. And a cream colored skirt with navy and yellow flowers with a blue detailing at the hem and a drawstring waist that was a great twirler.

Something else my Mother did, as I got older, was draw out patterns so I could sew clothes for my dolls. She drew simple patterns, gave me some fabric scraps with a needle and thread, and walked me through their construction. After some experience under my belt, I would sneak some of my brother's clothing to cut up to make Barbie sized dresses and skirts.

So here I am, decades later, recalling those days of handmade twirl skirts and red frilly dresses. Although I have access to stores full of affordable readymade clothing that my Mother never did, there is a special joy I take from sewing clothing for Delilah myself. The idea that she will twirl in a skirt I make for her, just as I twirled happily for my Mother so many years ago, is just wonderful.

Sewing for my daughter connects me to my Mother. And in turn, to my Grandmother who was a professional seamstress and sewed to support her family. Is it in the blood perhaps?

If you read through all that, thanks for sharing my trip down memory lane.

If you sew, what do you get out of it? What do you like about sewing - why do you do it?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Toddler Smocktop


Here to show you another toddler smocktop. (Tutorial HERE)

Sorry I have been a bit MIA. I haven't had much time lately to create new things or to blog about the few things I have managed to create.

Yesterday, one of the women I met through the local chapter of the ASG (American Sewing Guild) invited some of us over to help thin her fabric stash a bit. It was wonderful! Fabric shopping, with no cash register. I actually felt a little embarassed when I saw the HUGE pile I had picked out. But the hostess of the destash was so gracious, and simply asked me to send her pictures of items I made from her gift. There was some gorgeous printed seersucker, just perfect for a sweet toddler girl. So last night, after bedtime, I whipped up a cute little top for Delilah.

She looks pretty happy, right?

Not so happy in this next one:

We like to call this next look "Blue Steel"

Haha. Here is a shot of the back criss-cross of the shirt:

Now, this little criss-cross smocktop takes about 20 minutes total to make. That includes cutting time! And did I mention it's reversible? I used two different coordinating seersucker prints for the top.

My tutorial for the top is HERE, along with a link to original pattern by MayFly.

If you are so inclined, check into your local sewing groups! I have met wonderful women through joining my local group -- and what a bonus to get all this gorgeous fabric!
Later skater,

make it wear it

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I Love Picnik.com!

My blog today is about the magic of Picnik.com. (Online photo editing - easy to use and FREE!)

This post is also a fun way for me to show off some pictures of my adorable child. :-)

Picnik.com is a wonderful website to help non-technical non-Photoshop users like myself enhance their pictures. It's so easy to use, even I can use it! I am strictly a point-and-shoot uneducated camera wielder myself. Picnik saves my photos from awful to adequate. Imagine what a good photographer could do! Many of the features of Picnik are free. A reasonably priced membership provides many more features. All easy to do. (I LOVE MY SUBSCRIPTION!)

Simply upload a photo, and tools like blemish erasing, caption adding, teeth whitening, color correction, cropping, and other editing is easy peasy.

EVEN A poor photographer with NO skills to photoshop like me can take ordinary pictures and turn them into fun cards and photo gifts! You can too!

One of my favorite things to do with Picnik is to play with photographs and add captions so I can turn them into greeting cards on Shutterfly.com. We have a young family member who has been fighting cancer and our way to cheer him up was by sending silly greeting cards. Here are some of my favorite Picnik enhanced photos:

Ok, there's a backstory on that one. My BFF used to work for DisneyWorld. And she's one of those Disney obsessed people who goes crazy for Disney stuff. For YEARS she has been buying me Disney crap, er, I mean stuff and for years I have been protesting. She bought this little outfit for Delilah so I took a really cute picture of her wearing it to send as a thank-you. But this outtake photo was WAY more fun to turn into a card. Don't worry, she knows I was actually grateful for the gift and continues to send us Disney crap!
Another greeting card from Delilah
Don't call child protective services - I didn't really feed a 6 month old salt and vinegar potato chips.

Ahh, this was a greeting card too. The ball pit created many photo ops!

Here is my 2 week old baby in a milk-coma posing with her doggy for their first Halloween. What you can't tell in this pic is that our sweet doggy's eyes were a bright glossy blue in the original photo. The red-eye correctors in Shutterly and Snapfish don't correct pet eyes, but there is a handy easy tool in Picnik to do just that. (Note the matching bib and doggy kerchief, I made those!)

For the following Halloween, I used some premium Picnik features to make this next one into a card. You know some friends asked me if I actually put zombie make-up on my child>!>!
And since I had so much fun with the Halloween Picnik tools, I made one where she's a sparkly Twilight like bebe vampire. It's a bit creepy.

These photos were cropped, turned into a collage, and the colors boosted with just a few clicks for a Father's Day gift last year.

And last year, as I worked on a March of Dimes fundraising campaign, I turned Delilah into the spokesbaby. I started sending out emails featuring her cutie-patootyness asking for donations and participation via Picnik enhanced photos.

Here is this year's Valentine's Day card. The teddybear was added with just a click on Picnik. I cut a couple slits in the photo on her hands and slipped in a DumDum lollypop - so it kind of looked like she was holding the pop. Awwwwww.
So there you go - the magic of Picnik.com! Please note that I am simply a user of Picnik. I have to pay for my subscription like everyone else and am not compensated in any way for broadcasting my love. This post was fun for me to show you some pics I think are funny/cute, and let you know that you too can do some fun things with your photos without needing any mad skillz or expensive software to do it.
Later skaters!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Glam Up A Bag

I was inspired by this post on Sutton Grace to "glam up" a bag.

(Sutton Grace is one of my favorite blogs. The first blog of hers I first saw was THIS one of a homemade play kitchen from an entertainment center and I was hooked. Go check out her blog and wish, like me, that she was your next door neighbor so you could eat her food and copy her projects!)

Inspired by her blog, I decided to take a logo bag and make it more "me". So I took this bag that my husband brought home from work one day - it had been sitting in the back of a closet:

And turned it into this:

Here's a close-up of the patch:

MUCH BETTER! Not that there was anything wrong with the other logo, I just wanted something different. My bag redo is not as fancy as the inspiration bag. I didn't actually do that much. All I did was machine embroider a groovy camera design from Urban Threads onto some pink cotton, then sew the embroidered cotton onto the bag, kind of all haphazardly. I left the outside cut edges of the fabric to fray, because I think that might look cool. We'll see!

Thanks to Sutton Grace for the inspiration to cover logo bags!

Later skaters,