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Monday, May 27, 2013

Barney DIY Epic Fail

I love cows and Barney!!!

One of my favorite professors in grad school used to say, "We learn from our mistakes!" I tell my students that if you are not making mistakes (and correcting them) you are not truly learning. Think about it: if you already know something, you are not learning something new.  Anyway, I learned that not all DIY tutorials are trustworthy.  My little Bubba aka Jackie (pictured above) LOVES Barney!  Yes, he still loves The Wiggles but Barney is now #1. So that means I am now on a mission to find my precious nephew Barney stuff. NOT EASY.  It's just not out there anymore.  I did order a Barney doll on Ebay which should be here from China soon.  Other than that, I've been coming up empty.  So I decided to try to make Jackie some Barney stuff on my sewing machine.  I found some "How to Transfer Photos to Fabric" on Pinterest.  I bought some freeze paper, white cotton cloth, and set up my iron.
I found the freezer paper at my local grocery store. I hate it when I want to do a project but can't find the key ingredient.  (Right now I cannot find Super Washing all.) 
I took a standard piece of 9" by 11" copy paper and trimmed the cotton to that size.
I ironed on the cotton to the shiny side of the freezer paper.  I think I had it on the cotton setting.  I then set it down on a flat surface.
I made three sheets. I had to trim the paper/cloth again. The last thing I wanted was for this to get stuck in my printer.  I have a wireless HP Photosmart 5510. I really like it as the wireless actually works 100% of the time.
I found a quick picture of the famous pink dino.  I copied and pasted it into Microsoft Word. Then, I printed this. I stuck in my cotton paper. (Before printing, I had to test the sides that it actually printed on. I'm glad I did because it was the opposite than what I though!) I copied the image onto the cotton.  Yes, it looked great.  I was going to quilt this onto a little blankie or bag...I RE-IRONED this to set the colors.
Now, the moment of truth...The water test. Would Barney stand up?
NO...The color didn't set:( All that work for nothing, right?  No, I can still try this on the two other HP printers I have. You never know if the ink will work.  It depends on the ink. Also, you can buy a product that will set the ink called Bubble Jet Set 2000. I plan to get some of this the next time I order from Dharma Trading.  Doing further research, I did see MANY tutorial stating that some printers will not have the correct ink for this project.  However, the one I used did not state this.  Lesson learned: Just like a research paper, use multiple sources!
I ended up turning Epic Fail Barney into a dog toy for Eddie. He tore it apart in two seconds.  I ended up breaking my first needle. This ended up causing my to take apart my machine for cleaning.
Tutorial Links:

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Coaster Diaster

"Easy" Coaster Project

As someone who participates in the Bing Rewards program daily for Amazon $5 gift cards (I have $15 already!), I have been doing a lot of searching online.  My main searches have been easy or beginner level sewing projects. For most of them it always seems that I don't have the correct supplies. Or I have the supplies but don't exactly know how to use them. So I was happy to realize that I had everything to make simple square coasters.  I had cotton fabric and some batting from an old mattress cover that my mom gave me.

This is one of the first fabrics I bought from Joanne's.  In my sticker shock about how pricey new fabric was I only bought two yards.  (I think this was $7 or $8 a yard.)  I've been hoarding it because it didn't seem like a good match for an apron or burp cloth!
I made a quick template for a 4 inch square coaster. I included the seem allowance.  I also cut the batting a little smaller so I wouldn't have to sew over it. However, as you will see below, this didn't work out. I turned the fabric inside out and sewed three sides.  Then, I tried to sew using a simple straight stitch.
I was sewing but something was VERY wrong. I kept having the bobbin thread bunch up in these hideous stitches. What was wrong? Did I put the bobbin thing in wrong when I cleaned my machine?  Was it the 30 year old thread that I was using from my mom's sewing stuff?  Maybe a combination of all three?  Also, I was using a regular sewing needle that maybe wasn't as sharp as it needed to be.
I switched to another old thread in a contrasting dark brown color. I switched to the zig zag stitch.  I realized after some web research that my tension might have been wrong. I turned it to 4. That helped. Despite trying not to sew over the batting, it was too wide and I was catching it at least on one side. I again had that sewing realization: I have no idea what I am doing! However, I want to figure it out.  Is there a greater challenge than "sewing pretty"? (Maybe like losing weight but this is more fun.)
So I continue to make a set of four coasters.  I had my first experience with the thread ripper. I really had to rip and cut.  It got ugly but at least one side of these coasters look okay.  They are very rustic looking but thick and functional.  I wonder if I can gift these to someone.  Possible tied with a ribbon they will find a home.  For now, they are in the pile with the other "Not-As-Easy-As-They-Look" projects.
What I Learned:
*Sewing through thicker fabric can be difficult
*Use a sharp needle when sewing through layers
*Use newer (not 30 year old) thread
*Change the tension to 4 (I don't completely get this yet but it worked)
*Maybe switch to a quilting or denim needle?
*Cut away excess fabric to avoid too many layers
*Don't give up!  I have a lot to learn but everyone has to start somewhere.
Other Coaster Projects:
Coaster using cork

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tarn (T-Shirt Yarn)-Upcycling is Easy

What do you do with old t-shirts? I used to just dump them off at Good Will. Now that I am sewing and fiending for more fabric, I want to hang on to every thread.
I have a ton of old t-shirts.  I guess everyone does. I wanted to go through all the old ones from my travels and trips and cut them up. However, I couldn't. I love all my old t-shirts. So I dug through garbage bags of my old clothes and found some stained shirts to use.  It was pretty easy to make t-shirt yarn or TARN.
1.  Cut the shirt off at the arm pits. The bigger, the more fabric you will have. I believe this t-shirt is 2 XL.  From my days of oil painting, I often kept a lot of clothes just to paint in. I kept the top of the shirt. For what? No clue yet. 
2.  Measure your cuts.
Thin t-shirt: 1 and a half inches
 Medium thickness: an inch
Thin: 3/4 of an inch
I ended up just making my cuts on the inch mark.  I started out cutting with scissors but switched to a rotary cutter with a metal ruler.  Don't worry if the edges are ragged and uneven.  You cut to the edge of the "other side" and then STOP. You want to leave a connect strip so you can have a continuous roll of tarn.
I didn't worry if I had stains and text on the shirt.  At this point I was just experimenting so I wasn't too worried about the final result.
2. Don't do this.  Somehow, I got my tarn bunched up. You basically want to take an end and cut diagonally so you have a straight strand of thread.  Keep going. Then, PULL and tug on the fabric so it curves. I did this as I wound my tarn into a ball.
(Confused? Try
tarn ball

Now, I need to figure out what to do with my balls of tarn.  I have more to make. The main thing that I wanted to make is a rug. However, I can't yet crochet.  My sister suggested that I watch some You Tube videos to learn. The weird thing is that I just found a crochet hook and stashed it somewhere. Now, I don't know where! I am searching for that crafty needle in the haystack. When I find it, I will figure out how to crochet. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Tie Dye Bibs for Baby

I love dye tie. I've been doing it since high school. I was never really that good at it but it is messy, random, and colorful so I like it. I have a cousin who loves hippie stuff and tie dye.  She is also pregnant! This translates into a tie dye themed shower basket.  I am thinking of tie dye burp cloths, bibs, and maybe a tie dye quilt if I can figure that one out.  Time permitting I will like to include a tie dye binky clip and maybe some tie dye baby clothes.  It is a baby boy so maybe even a little tie dyed hat.
I've been looking for cheap damaged white cotton at Joanne's.  I found some Swiss dot stained material that was pretty cheap.  I dyed all of it with leftover dye.  This left a lot of white but that was fine. I also dyed some white flannel shirt scraps from an old sheet.  I ordered another tie dye kit with my order of white scarves at Dharma Trading.
This bib is made from a pattern. 

I was really excited to use my Kam snaps that I got off of Ebay.  I got the awl, tool, and size 20 snaps in various colors. The company was very helpful and I plan to order more. They are SO easy to use.

I used cheap blue broadcloth on the reverse side. These bibs are reversible!

I've been pinning where I need to leave the opening as I sew most things inside out.  I think the side is the easier place to leave open.
I also like to use the zig zag around the bib.  The flannel sheet is really soft and absorbent. I realized that these bibs are pretty big. I found another smaller pattern that I am going to make for a smaller baby.  I also want to find some sparky bias tape and make the project below:

Okay, he's not wearing a bib but my nephew is SO DARN CUTE!  He loves to be outside roaming around the woods.  I've made him a bunch of bibs but none seem big enough to protect his clothes.  It must run in the family. I've considered making myself a bib!  If I wasn't a good stain remover, I would have no unstained clothes.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Burp Cloth Mania

How many burp cloths does one need?  Probably not as many as I am making! 
The truth is that I cannot stop making burp cloths.  There are so many different patterns out there.  I just made a crescent moon shaped one a few minutes ago out of a Goodwill flannel nightgown.  (Pictures will be forthcoming!)  The burp cloth pictured above is made from a fleece remnant that I got at Joanne Fabrics.
I saw an idea online to sew on a ribbon for a binky clip (need to make some of those  or rattles that baby can use.  I experimented by sewing the ribbon on in various places.  Since I don't have a serger, I sew everything inside out. It feels strange to place the ribbon inside out but it is a must.
This scarf-shaped burp cloth is made from a paisley flannel.  I attached a handle at the top to cover a mishap with some decorative stiches.  I usually sew around the edges using the zigzag. 
I made a number of these. The backing is from an old cream colored flannel sheet that my mom gave me. 
This is another new smaller burp cloth pattern I found online.  I had a lot of trouble sewing around the curves on this one. I had some bunching up.  I guess at this point I should mention that I am not pinning, prewashing, or ironing these burp cloths. (ECK! Am I cheating?) I am planning on keeping them here for my new niece.  I do need to start sewing slower and more carefully around curves.  My cousin is pregnant (It's a boy!) so I plan to give her a big stack of these at her shower.
What's Next?
*I plan to continue with the curved crescent moon shaped cloths which I think will be great for a newborn.
*I will also continue to use this pattern: 
I think that I like this pattern the most. I printed it, cut it, and then laminated it with contact paper. Leave the opening on the side and it looks great.