Friday, April 16, 2010

Crafting with Kids

Let me just say right from the start, this is not one of those feel good "Mom of the Year" type posts about all the wonderful creative things that can be done with empty yogurt cups and glitter. This is a post about what happens when you work really really hard on a project and one of your beloved, wonderful children decides to "improve" upon your work and you see the results and you want to walk right out the front door and hop the next flight to Tahiti.

I can laugh about this now... a little. OK, no, I still can't laugh about it, but I can think about it without my face turning purple. That's an improvement, right?

I made these buttons for the swap over at Feeling Stitchy. My partner was SunnySidey and she sent me the cutest package of buttons with Australian animals embroidered on them. You can see much better pictures than I could take of all the goodies she sent on her blog. The little button pouch is the cutest thing ever, and the candy was YUMMO!

She said she likes Japanese Zakka style, so I tried to do some designs I thought you might find on Zakka fabric. I browsed through her Flickr account and found a few pictures of her cute kitties, so I stitched them too. I learned that she is a fan of Kaffe Fassett so I picked up a couple of fat quarters of his fabric, some locally hand dyed embroidery thread, and sewed up a Buttercup Bag made with Ikea fabric.

I was right up to the deadline to get them in the mail, I had them all laid out ready to pack up, I just needed to buy some candy and off they would go, on their way Down Under. And just as I went to pack them in the box, I saw it. Purple marker scribbles, all over every single button. Lovely swirling squiggles, over through and around each design. I had never before understood the saying, "I saw red." But I did. I think I might have blacked out for a minute. Did I mention that I had already had to layout all the fabric and trace all the designs twice because Allison, my five year old, saw me drawing on the fabric and decided to "help" when I wasn't looking. I was calm and reasonable that time, because how was she to know that she couldn't draw on the fabric when she'd seen me doing it? So I explained that she could never ever do that, gave her some fabric scraps of her own to draw on, and I got the lightbox back out and traced all the designs over again and started stitching.

So anyway- it was disappearing ink, and it did finally eventually all fade away-- You can see the ghosts of some of the squiggles in the picture above. So the package went out late, Sam was very sweet and patient, and the box has now arrived safely at its destination!

But I still can't look at that purple marker without shuddering.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Pair of Diaper Bags

Yes, it's been over a month since my last post- Spring has sprung and my children want to be outside all. the. time. All that sunshine and pollen makes me a sleepy Mama and while I have been sewing, the step of taking pictures and posting them just seems insurmountable by the end of the day! But I'm finally adjusting and I've got a few projects to share over the next few days.

Remember those burp cloths I made for my friend Julie and her twins? We decided she needed a nice big diaper bag for carrying all those baby necessities times two. So we browsed patterns and fabrics for days and days- I don't think she knew what she was in for when she asked me to help her choose fabric!

At last, after I showed her WAY too many options, she chose the Modern Diaper Bag from Amy Butler's Little Stitches book and the Melly & Me Flower Garden bag, which I've made before.

For the Modern Diaper Bag, Julie chose Amy Butler fabrics. This bag is HUGE. I mean HUGE. There were some challenges, but overall it was a lot of fun to make. The inside has lots of pockets, and I thought they would be difficult but that part was actually pretty simple, and I can see myself adapting the pocket style in smaller bags.

See what I mean? Huge. This is my five year old sitting inside the bag.

The interior pockets, with a crayon for size reference.

And here it is hanging with the Flower Garden Bag:

The Flower Garden bag is one of my favorite patterns. It's a really great size, the pockets are nice and big, and it's so cute! I altered the pattern a bit and did the exterior pocket panel on both sides- Plenty of room for double the diapers and wipes in the beginning, and for sippy cups and snacks later on! I love the little covered button, too. I still get such a kick out of making them!

Here's the interior- I was so excited about this idea my sewing class buddies and I came up with. I wanted a nice light fabric for most of the lining, so that things don't get lost in the depths. But I didn't want the different fabric to clash with the exterior fabrics, since there's already a lot going on there. I pieced some of the pocket fabric to the top of the lining when I cut it out, so the top few inches of the lining match the exterior, but the rest is nice and neutral! Plus, it adds some structure to the top of the bag so it stays open while you're holding two babies and hunting for that elusive pacifier! Yet another one of those little tricks that is probably common sense to most of the sewing world, but seemed like a huge revelation to me!

And last but not least, I made a couple of dipes & wipes pouches to match the bags. Just the right size for one of those little hard plastic wipes cases (or a Ziploc baggie of wipes!) and a couple of diapers.
That's all for now!