From dinosaur to…

…possibly the cutest “up-cycle” project I’ve ever completed.

Over a year ago, I was trying to help my mom sell an entertainment center via craigslist and Facebook. It didn’t fit her new television, so it had been moved to her garage. Well, we couldn’t sell it, we couldn’t even give it away — literally — our local salvage/resale shops won’t take them. So, it became a dinosaur taking up space in my mom’s garage.

But then I saw this, the piece in the before pic is almost an EXACT version of my mom’s dinosaur, shown here:

EntertainmentCenterI sent the pin to my sister and a plan was hatched.

Just before Christmas, we moved the entertainment center from mom’s garage to my garage, and we started painting and remaking it as a surprise for my niece.  We had a lot of fun brainstorming ideas… the sink is a cheap plastic mixing bowl, the faucet is the top of an m&m candy cane that we spray painted, the oven “rack” is a shelf organizer, the burners and stove and faucet knobs are all from the unfinished wood aisle at Hobby Lobby. We used leftover paint from other projects, and  bought kitchen cabinet knobs to use as handles. The inside of the fridge is painted all white, and the shelves are repurposed as refrigerator shelves. The investment in this project in terms of dollars was pretty small.

CollageForBlogWe cut a piece of MDF for the “wall” of the kitchen, my sister didn’t want a cut out (like the Pinterest piece had) in it since it would sit up against the wall in their play area, so I painted an outdoor scene, blue sky with fluffy clouds, flowers and a bunny in the yard, framed it out with 1/2″ trim board for window “mullions”. I also painted a grocery list on the “fridge” door, and a kitty and puppy magnet. (Her grocery list reads milk, juice, candy, bacon — likely a list Zoe would come up with if you asked her what we should buy at the grocery store!)

ZoeKitchen3I made a valance for her “window” out of this yellow Sunkissed fabric by Sweetwater, and trimmed the wash clothes my sister bought for “towels” in the same. The “towel ring” is a plastic scarf ring from Target that I made a little leather holder for. We added cup rings to the opposite wall to hold her utensils.

ZoeKitchen2

ZoeKitchen1We moved it fro my garage, over to my sister’s basement play area on New Year’s weekend, while Zoe was napping. When we had it moved it, I went into her room to wake her up, and I carried her downstairs to see her surprise and she woke up in a BIG hurry when she saw it! (Her brothers were just as excited) A few weeks later, I finished the little apron I made her to match–once she tried it on, she wore it the rest of the day!

ZoeApronCollageShe loves her kitchen, our mom loves that it’s not sitting in her garage anymore, and I love that we didn’t have to send it to the landfill. Win-win.

Happy creating,

Doris

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Cheetahs, and Bears, and Owls — oh my!

A year ago in December, I showed you this Baby Cheetah Onesie that I made as a shower gift for a friend’s baby. I also showed you my process for making these in that post.

Baby Cheetah Onesie

This year, I can show you a photo of pretty Olivia wearing her onesie:

Olivia wearing Onesie

Her mommy asked if I’d make her a 1st birthday onesie to wear with a purple tutu on her special day. So, I made her two!

Olivia's Onesies

The quilt that Olivia is sitting in front of in the photo above is from Pottery Barn Kids and has appliqued owls on it, which I used to model my owl on. And the cupcake onesie was just for fun–

Another friend asked me to make this for a new granddaughter, born mid-November (her Daddy is a major Chicago Bears fan), she wanted a Bears logo but with a “cute, baby bear” instead:

Chicago Bears Onesie & Logo

I hope I achieved that; she seemed to be happy with it. It started out like this, a light pencil sketch on the onesie… and then a apply fabric paint before any applique pieces:

Bears Onesie_Start

A detail of the finished “baby logo”:

Chicago Bears Onesie Detail

Disclaimer: This was a custom design request by an individual; I am not mass-producing these items for sale or marketing. The Chicago Bears logo is an NFL officially licensed design.

For the love of handmade gifts

In June 2009, I posted about a Maid of Honor dress I made into a toddler dress and matching doll dress for my best friend’s daughter (it’s roughly a size 2T). I wore the original dress in her parents’ May 2000 wedding.

Well, my little friend will turn six on June 5th. Last month, I received a text message with this photo (the one on the left) and the message “it still fits!”
Brdiesmaid Dress Remake Collage1Skinny-minny is growing like a weed, but she hasn’t gotten any bigger around in almost four years!  The pics on the right are the original photos I took before gifting it to her in 2009.

That text message made my MONTH.

December Drumroll…

I have to share my last few finishes of 2012, including a big one… but, it wouldn’t be as fun if I gave it away right up front, right? So a quick December recap first:

Every year, my girlfriend’s an I have a favorites party, you know, like Oprah’s “My Favorites” giveaway episodes? Only on a smaller scale, but same idea. We give the exact same gift to each of the women at the party, something that we consider a “favorite” from the year. None of these five friends are quilters, so no sewing themed gifties. 😉  We started the “My favorites” party tradition last year, and I think it’s going to stick!

This year I gave them each an Aveda gift bag containing Aveda Foot Relief and Hand Relief Lotions:Aveda-Hand-Relief-Gift-Set

My favorite Aveda product, period.  Especially for Winter dry hands, it’s a Godsend.  From my five friends I received:

FavoritesParty

From Michelle: her favorite car freshener and a Jason’s Deli giftcard

From Kelly: her favorite Gold Canyon candle, Vanilla Rum

From Carisa: her favorite Tea and a statement “Hope” bracelet

From Tonya: an Angel ornament, Lindor Truffles, and an Orange Leaf giftcard

and from Carrie: her favorite Bath & Bodyworks Candle, MERRY MISTLETOE and Pretzel m&m’s

I didn’t have much of a chance to create gifts this year, aside from the Baby Cheetah onesie for Carrie’s baby:

Baby Cheetah Applique Onesie and sweaterI made Frank a photo frame that I painted a pale pink and embellished with type stamps to read “Grandpa’s Girl”, since his first grand-baby was due to arrive on Christmas Eve.  She arrived promptly on her due date, so I let him open that present right away — She was framed and on his end-table before she turned 4 hours old:

Gemma Frame Grandpa's Girl

If you’ve been reading this blog for a little while, you know we spent much of 2012 first moving my Mother from her house 100 miles away (selling the home, cleaning out, packing, garage selling extra stuff, etc.), to a very nice retirement cottage community only 19 miles from us, and THEN, helping my MIL clean out her house (of 58 years!) to move into an Independent Living apartment at a new retirement community.  That was a huge task, and it is still ongoing (she is moved into her new home, but the old house is not completely empty, yet – a saga in itself, but I’ll spare you the details).

We have made three, 3-day trips to the St. Paul, MN (about a 4.5 hour drive one-way) since Thanksgiving.  Sweetie even made one day trip in between without me along.  That is A. LOT. OF. DRIVE. TIME. my friends, or riding time for me, as my sweetie does about 65-75% of the driving on these trips.

But, do you know what that means?  You all know what I do when a passenger on a road trip, right…?  Hand-piecing.

HexieSewinginCar

And y’all know what I have been hand-piecing forever, right…?  (or at least since July 4th, 2010)…

Candied Hexagons in Nov 2012

Candied Hexagons!  These are a few I made on the Thanksgiving Weekend trip… and those I made in med-December….

Candied Hexagons Dec 2012

and on Christmas Eve, I sewed the last blocks up while relaxing at home watching Downton Abbey Season 2 on DVD (possibly the only blocks I made outside of a vehicle!).  I finished the final one up just before the ball dropped at Midnight, and now have all 104 full blocks and 12 have blocks pieced!

Ta-Da!!! (insert drumroll, here):

Candied Hexagon blocks

Here they are unceremoniously laid out on my studio floor.  I have them all organized to start sewing into rows… My sweetie came in while I was arranging these on the floor and he said “wow, I wasn’t sure I’d ever see the day when you had these all made.”  I had doubts myself…

I’m considering alternatives for the border, debating whether I want to stick with the original border design or create my own. Decisions, decisions….  but I think I have a day or two before I have to decide. 😉

Happy sewing,

Doris

Cheetah Girl

A friend of mine is expecting her firstborn any day now… for her baby shower a few weeks ago, I wanted to create a unique onesie to match these sweet Cheetah print legwarmers from her Target gift registry:

Onesie Leg Warmers

My idea was to create a cheetah cub similar to this lion I created for the onesies I made for my Etsy shop a few made months ago:

Lion Onesie

So I sketched a cub/kitten…

Kitty Sketch

Transferred it to the onesie by tracing it with a fine tip Micron pen…

Transferring Design onto Onesie

Painted it with glitter fabric paint, and adding some details with a black paint marker and blending/mixing paint:

Painted Cheetah Cat On Onesie

All of my one-of-a-kind onesies have an element of applique to them; since she is expecting a little girl, I selected some pink fabric from my scrap bin, ironed a piece of stabilizer to the back of my painted cheetah cub (inside the onesie)…

Prepping Onesie for Applique

and gave the little girl cub a bow around her neck (the pink fabric is fused with Heat n’ Bond Featherlite, and satin stitched over the raw edges):

Applique Done

Her is the ensemble, complete with a wee cardigan sweater to match:

Applique w/ Sweater and Cheetah legwarmers

I also purchased some bedtime lotions, etc. from her gift registry, so I bought a basket to gift them in, pulled out a lavender fat quarter from my stash (her nursery decor is primarily lavender) and sewed up a quick and easy basket liner.  I’m hoping she can use this to hold supplies near the changing table:

Basket Collage

Her is the gift, ready to give (I wrapped it up in a lavender polka dot swaddling blanket that can be reused as well:

Basket1

Looking forward to meeting this little lady soon!

I have a major finish (my final 2012 finish!) to share with you soon — when I have pics to show! Until then, a very Happy New Year to you and yours!

Hello, Kitty!

A sweet little friend of mine turned four last weekend.  She asked months ago for a Hello Kitty birthday party (there she is with Kitty on the cake). Her Mom is my friend Tonya, the friend that helped me create my own 3-tier wedding cake.  You might recall the Princess Cake we created for her birthday in 2010… 

For her gift this year, I made her a Hello Kitty Princess outfit.  Started with a plain white tee from Target…some scraps of Lakehouse Fabric, white flannel, a little Heat N’ Bond Lite…

Lots of satin-stitching with the walking foot…

 

Lots of “stops” and “starts” with the Janome Horizon…

Lots of pushing the tee shirt fabric out of the way of the needle….

And a lavender tutu skirt added to the bottom…and we have a birthday outfit fit for a princess!

The tagless tees always show the printing through the shirt a tad, so I added one of “Kitty”‘s bows to the back of the neck to cover it up…

The finished shirt along with the cute party invite her Mom created:

I was glad I thought to use white flannel for Kitty’s head, because not only did it add great texture to the shirt, but I didn’t have to worry about the lavender stripes showing through white cotton!

We’ve had some unseasonably warm weather already this month–nearly 100 degrees last week.  That is far too hot for the actual kitties around our house; they didn’t have the energy to care that the other was laying a mere three feet away, or to even bother chasing each other around the house. 

I don’t like the heat, but it did make it rather peaceful on the homefront.  This week, the temps are down and they are back to their usual antics.