Monday, March 18, 2013

The Perfect Little Clutch

After trying to find my sister the perfect clutch purse for her birthday, I was exhausted! I ended finding one that was good enough, but most of them were either too expensive or just not pretty. So, I decided that I was going to figure out how to make my own, so that in the future if I needed a clutch for a certain occasion, I could just whip one up! I ended up finding a great blog called The Elm Street Life with incredibly easy instructions on how to make a basic clutch, but a very pretty one. I did not actually take too many pictures when I was doing this project, so the pictures below are just an overview of the fabric and the way it turned out!

These are the materials that I used. I used black linen for the outside, and this beautiful floral cotton fabric for  the lining. Finally, the white is the 808 Pellon interfacing that the instructions call for. With my coupons for Joanns, the whole clutch cost me only $12 to make!

The end result!

One of my favorite parts - the awesome lining!

Like I said, Whitney's blog, The Elm Street Life has such great instructions for this bag! They are easy to follow for even the beginner sewer. My clutch only took me two nights to sew together. Check it out!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Refurbished Desk

This desk has been in my parents' house for as long as I can remember. It was built by my uncle and then given to my parents. My mom used it as her sewing desk before she replaced it with a newer version. So, for the past few years, it has sat in my parents' garage collecting dusk and spider webs. When Dan and I moved into our new house, I mentioned to my mom that I was looking to buy a cheap desk for my craft room. She suggested I use my uncle's desk which I wasn't exactly thrilled with, but decided to give it a try. I've always been interested in learning how to sand and paint furniture so this was the perfect piece to try it on!

The first thing I did was sand down the desk with a 60 grit sponge hand sander to get the stain sealer off. Then I went over the desk with my electric 80 grit sander to smooth it out.

Then I used Zinsser White Primer to prime the desk for the paint. I decided to do two thin coats of primer on the desk leaving a few hours in between each coat for it to dry. 
I then used Olympic Latex Satin White Paint to coat the desk with two coats of paint. I felt like I needed those two coats to even everything out. (As you can see, I took this picture after finishing the project ;) )
Finally, I used Minwax Polycrylic Sealer to seal in the paint. I just used one coat to seal in the paint and it works great!

As the final step, I picked out new hardware from Lowe's and assembled them on the desk. I love the finished project and feel like it is a completely new desk!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Reluctant Reviewer: Part 1

I've always loved to read. As a kid I read through the entire Bobbsey Twins series and quickly moved onto Nancy Drew by late 3rd grade. My mom didn't quite know what to make of my sister, an equally avid reader, and me. We had very strange rules such as: You may not read at the table during meals, and you may not get out more than ten books at a time from the library. Yes, we had restrictions on reading. To be fair, I know for a fact that reading interfered with doing chores, and I was known for losing books, so they were probably appropriate rules.

I still love to read. For the past five months, I think I've raced through approximately a book a week. However, as I've gotten older, I've noticed I don't remember things very well, and it's quite embarrassing and frustrating when I finally pick up the second book in a series after a two month lapse from the first book, and notice I have a hard time recalling characters and the overall plot.

My solution: write book reviews. I've started on by writing really brief reviews, but I'm always a bit worried I'm going to include a spoiler. So they generally go like this: Great book, incredible suspense, couldn't put it down. Yeah... that's really going to help me remember the storyline.

Ok, honestly, the part about worrying whether I'm going to spoil the book for someone else is really just an excuse. The truth is, I think I'm a terrible book reviewer. When I think about the last time I wrote something remotely academic, I cringe. It's been a pretty long time. Like five years long time. I don't think I'm going to do the books justice.

However, I'm fleeing my comfort zone, because I finished two books last month that were too fantastic not to share. They were recommended by my dear friend, Faith, who is not only an accomplished book reviewer, but also an aspiring author. Check out her blog for other great books and the first chapters of her own books here.

The first book I want to share is Code Name Verity written by Elizabeth Wein.

Recommended as young adult fiction, I, as a full blown adult, truly enjoyed this novel.Wein uses a wonderful combination of fact and imagination to craft two irresistible friends living during the nightmarish era of World War II.  In the midst of the horrors of war, these unlikely friends are drawn together by their unorthodox, but exciting jobs; pilot and spy for England. Filled with adventure, suspense,tough choices, and true friendship, this book left me awake almost the entire night even after I finished it at 1:30am. 

Ok, it's official, I'm really a terrible book reviewer. However, if I say any more at all, I'll probably ruin the entire book. So I guess you're just going to have to take my advice, check it out of the library, and prepare yourself for an entire day off because you won't be able to put it down.  

Second book review coming soon....

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Dr. Seuss Part 2

So, I was originally going to post these projects one-by-one in parts 2, 3, 4, etc. but as life would have it - I just didn't get around to it! So, here are all the Dr. Seuss projects that I had at my Dr. Seuss party yesterday! It was quite a success and all the children and their parents had a lot of fun!

1. One, Fish, Two Fish Toss Game

The first thing I did was find a picture of a fish online that I liked and would be easy to cut out. Then I pinned  it to a piece of felt and cut out two identical pieces.

 Then I sewed the two pieces together and left a small hole as an opening so that I could stuff it.

 I stuffed the fish with some "fluff" that I use for stuffing pillows. I then pinned it back together and sewed it closed.

The last step was adding a white felt eye for each of them and they were all finished! The kids really enjoyed taking turns tossing the fish in the basket!

2. Costume

For the party, my co-teacher and I decided to dress up as Thing 1 and Thing 2. I got two red t-shirts at JoAnns for $3.50 and decided to sew on the logos! I learned how to print on fabric from Pinterest (of course). You iron your fabric onto freezer paper and it makes it stiff enough to go through the printer!

I printed out a Thing 1 and Thing 2 logo on the fabric. 

I cut it out and decided to add a second layer of fabric under it to make it thicker and not so see-through.

I used a liquid stitch to keep it tight against the shirt. I then added a quick stitch around the outside for reinforcement.

I'm pretty happy with the way they turned out!

3. The kids' projects

This was a project that I came up with that day! It is the Lorax's Truffula Trees! I used yellow pipe cleaners and feathers on orange paper to really give it a Lorax-feel!

I also came up with this that day! We realized we didn't have enough crafts for the party so I cut the different pieces of the Lorax's body and had the kids glue them together!

This is a project off of Pinterest, so I can't claim creative rights to it ;). But I couldn't help post this because it came out so cute! We painted the bowtie and penne pasta red and white! We printed out the Cat in the Hat face and glue it onto a clothespin! To finish it we hot glued a magnet on the back so it could be a refrigerator magnet for the kids artwork!

4. Finished Cat in the Hat

I let the kids color him - I think they did a pretty good job! Then I laminated it and cut it out. He was a wonderful addition to our party!

5. The snack

The last thing we did was a Green Eggs snack. Unfortunately, I did not get any pictures of it, but it came out really cute! We dyed pudding green to make the green part and added a vanilla wafer in the middle to make the green eggs!

I'm sorry this post is sooooo long, but I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!