Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Despite my earlier setback, a small success...

Even though this little project didn't work out as I first envisioned, I was able to pull off the accessory for it.

A headband! From a shirt collar. From a men's shirt that cost $1 in a consignment shop.

If you find yourself refashioning/upcycling a shirt with a collar, it's really easy to make one of these babies. Plus instead of throwing out the collar, you can eek out one more usable item and prevent even more fabric from getting into a landfill. The result is a nice, sturdy, thick band that really works for crazy out of control hair (those thin tiny headbands simply laugh at me when I try to wear them).

Just cut the collar from the shirt, then cut the part of the collar that would rest against your neck away from the pointy-end piece. The pointy-end piece can be reserved for something else creative you might make. I haven't decided what mine will be yet but you can bet I will save it 'til I come up with that something else. When I cut the pieces apart, I made sure I did not cut through any of the outer stitches so I didn't even have to finish the edges, they were quite secure on their own. You could take off the button on one side, or leave it like I did for charm (or as an emergency secret button for some day when you find a button has escaped from some sort of clothing).

Next, grab a little scrap of elastic you have swimming around in your sewing box from some other project (baby yoga pants, represent). Sew it to the inside of one end. I sewed mine by hand but you could also do it with your machine.

Pin the elastic to the inside of the other end, try on your headband and adjust the pin as needed to ensure a snug but not headache-inducing fit. Stitch this end in place too.

Voila! Wear it like the awesome green crafty one you are! Show it off to your cat who witnessed said transformation and looks really impressed! And good luck on your shirt repurposing....

Added to Upcycled Awesome--go see what other people have made this week!!!

Added to Tea Rose--other crafty fun here too!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Yet another obituary...

PINK DRESS-SHIRT DRESS, born July 19, 2010, died on July 20, 2010 after a surgical procedure to install a zipper. Pink Dress-Shirt Dress was the child of Ms. Knitsburgh's imagination and a men's Van Heusen dress shirt bought at the Avalon Exchange for $1.00. Such a short life; you will forever be missed and revered.

So the above ran in the Knitsburgh Times today. I so wanted to be showing you pics of me and this dress, happy together. Alas, it was not meant to be, another fate awaits her. That's right, I'm talking reincarnation here!

I used a lovely little frock that I quite like and is linen as my pattern. Problem was I did not take into consideration there is a zipper in my pattern-frock to help with the fitting of the waist over one's bosom when putting it on. Without the zipper I could get it over but I swear, it felt like a mammogram and I knew I would not wear the evil torture device as it were. I cut and installed a zipper no less than twice (I admit to you and only you I installed the zipper on the bodice portion only first and then when I went to try it on, same problem, waist strangling my chest). The second time I tried it on and --damn!!! Having to hem the seam allowances for the zipper made it too tight across the heiney and stomach, two areas I definitely want some flowing fabric to cover. A bummer for sure but I will live.

Wee One even offered to help fix it and got out his helpful, my Wee One!

In other events today, we got rear-ended on our way to dinner at Moe's! No one was injured but this sort of thing makes me feel really weird. I'm kind of glad I was driving and drove us to Ikea and then home too, one of those get-right-back-in-the-saddle things.

I also want to say this; I love to go to Ikea but we never buy any furniture there because our house is really not the "Ikea style." Meaning, our home is not very modern or Swedish or whatever you call that style. I do wish we could call our furniture things like "Skoog" and "Bjork" and "Flurgan."

Before you feel all bad for me because I don't have interesting names for my furniture or because we got rear-ended, know this: I still found some things to buy! Knitsburgh now has even more animal shaped cookie cutters; even more Wee One cups; even more fabric and yes, a glass jar to make some sun tea in along with a set of funnels for funneling. How did we ever get by before today?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Bias Tape?

Upcycled Clothespin Bag!

I admit it; when I started this little project I was starting to take the wimpy safe road. You see, I have been keeping my clothespins in the plastic bag they came in originally which was really not working out well for many reasons. For months I have been including a clothespin bag on my list of things I should sew soon.

I found this pattern here and sat down to do it yesterday. I made the pattern out of newspaper in the afternoon, then cut out the fabric and sewed in the evening, both when Wee One was sleeping. It was getting late and I was saying things like this:

"I don't HAVE to make bias tape; I'm making it out of denim which is cool when it frays so I will just sew around the opening and let the edges fray."

Then I grew a sewing spine. I had bought a bias tape thingy you use with your iron months ago and still had to try it. If I messed up sewing the bias tape on, I thought, who cares, it's a silly clothespin bag. I really needed to step up and do it and this was the perfect trial run situation.

Can I just say it took a lot longer than it probably should but it was awesome! First, the tool, way easier than folding your own tape and burning your fingers. I pinned it onto the bag like crazy so the sewing was very slow but honestly, I feel it was all in all a success.


The body of the bag is made from a pair of maternity jean overalls. I bought them in a thrift store but they were really really big so I never wore them, prego or otherwise. I don't think I could alter them well to fit so they have been in my "to be transformed" pile of stuff. The bias tape is made from a striped button down shirt that I don't think or hope to ever wear again (and certainly won't be now) which was also a thrift store find when I was working outside the home.

I also made another origami wrap from a maternity dress from Old Navy. I cut off the bottom and cut up one side to make the fabric piece for the wrap. The remaining piece might just become a little something to sleep (ahem!) in. Or maybe if I can figure out a way to reduce the cleavage factor, a shirt...

Any ideas on how to make it wearable?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

TA-DAAAHHH: Housecoat to....

So onward I forge on the journey to clear out my closet and upcycle anything I do not/cannot wear these days.

I give you this mu mu housecoat in plaid:

She was purchased in May of last year as a "birthing outfit." Back when I wanted something discreet and easy to get on or off and nurse the baby with. I bought not one but TWO of these beauties (one in plain purple, thank you). Let's just say they were not worn in any way during the birth of Wee One. Let's just say even though everyone says modesty goes flying out the window when you are in labor and you believe you will of course be the exception to this rule, you were way wrong.

While we are here, smack on the topic of "Birthing Outfits," let me tell you this one. We had a little class through the birthing center where Wee One was born which prepared us for natural childbirth. It was not Lamaze, it was not all breathing-centered, it was awesome. It was also awesome because one of the expectant mamas, on the first day of this weekly class, stated she already had her "Birthing Outfit" picked out and she described it as "rhinestone encrusted."

Let me also say this; if one plans to have a baby, don't worry about a "Birthing Outfit." Go get a giant t-shirt if you must but no more. You won't want to wear anything nice for about two weeks after you have your baby anyways due to the lochia.

So I have two birthing mu mus I bought in Kmart while I was uber-prego to wear and never really did. Surely there must be something they could become...


Some decent modest jammies to wear when you have company in the house and don't want to wear your ratty sweat-shorts and t-shirt.

First I cut the top and bottom apart after trying it one and pinning where I wanted the bottom of the top to fall. I then cut one inch below this line to allow for hemming under.

Next, I used some jammy pants as a template and cut out four pieces of fabric from the bottom, two for the front of the shorts and two for the back. It was tricky because I wanted to keep the pockets as they were and have them be usable. I also had to make sure I had some extra fabric at the top to make the drawstring channel (extra 1.5 inches).

I pinned the shorts right sides together and sewed. I sewed the outer seams first, then the crotch, then the inseam. I folded down the top of the shorts to sew a channel for a drawstring.

Finally, I took the top in about 1.5 inches on each side, then hemmed. Super-easy and perfect for warm weather sleeping.

The shorts came out a bit longer than I intended due to wanting to keep the bottom ruffle and also include the pockets. If I make another pair from the remaining purple mu mu I might try and make them a little shorter. I would also try and make the top a bit longer and forget about the pockets; I mean, what would I need pockets for while I'm sleeping anyway?

EDIT: ADDED THIS POST TO THE LINK PARTY AT TEA ROSE--go there now to check out all the sweet stuff everyone else made recently!

ALSO added here-thanks Robin!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Knitsburgh is an Amusement Park?!?! What the...

This week has had some ups and some downs. Quite roller-coastery. As evidence, I give you...

1. Dropped pint of blueberries in the driveway and half of them rolled down the steep grade while I stood there helpless and watched; made some yummy vegan blueberry muffins with the 1 and 1/2 remaining pints plus some neighborhood birds are quite full!

2. Departed for a hike to a waterfall only to find the directions were wrong (thanks so much Fall 2009 issue of Pennsylvania Pursuits) and the waterfall was not really what it was made out to be; on the way home stopped at a state park with a lake and had a lovely swim with Wee One!

3. Weeded, hoed, and watered the garden and everyone who lives there looks much happier; discovered someone got some new mulch and decided to throw their old mulch behind our garage in the alleyway and probably killed the transplanted daylillies not to mention poisoned our yard and garden with pesticides and lawn chemical-ly runoff.

4. Sat on my butt hardly moving for four afternoons and still sweated like crazy cause it was pretty hot; made some jammies out of a housecoat one afternoon because it was too hot to clean!

5. Went grocery shopping, ran errands, did laundry and cleaned the house top to bottom on Friday; went grocery shopping, ran errands, did laundry and cleaned the house top to bottom on Friday! Plus I sweated but it was because I DID SOMETHING! Hooray!

6. Saturday we went car shopping; Saturday we went car shopping. You can decide which is high and which is low...

7. We got a new digital camera from Best Buy that appeared to meet our criteria; we came home and discovered the girl who helped us and told us the underwater housing case from Sony for the camera runs about $20-$30 was full of it or lied or is maybe not too bright and has trouble with decimal placement because it is actually $229.99 which is somehow more than our new camera even cost. Still waiting for an email back from customer service...

I'm kind of excited for tomorrow I think. Another week to start fresh and hopefully have things tip more towards the high side. Hope your week goes up and up too!

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Wee One just had his first birthday a bit ago and I am just getting around to sharing some fun now. We didn't have a big shindig like some folks do; we had a fun BBQ with both sets of grandparents.

I made a Big Cake for the adults and a Little Cake for the Wee. Here is a shot of the Wee Cake (both vegan of course) before-

And after!

He pulled the top layer off the bottom layer and onto his chest and took giant bites from it.

I also made him a little pennant out of newspapers and hemp twine to hang out back. The comics were used for the letters. I don't like to share his name online so the section with his name is not shown.

I didn't get all Martha-Stewart-y on it. No theme, no elaborate invites, just kept it pretty simple. I was kind of sad as the cakes didn't look as pretty as I wanted them to; I messed up on the icing the day before as I was talking to Nature Boy's folks while making it and forgot to add the soymilk. I then added it to the icing which was already whipped, whipped it up some more and it never recovered. I had planned to pipe some simple decorations on but there was no way that icing could be piped! So it was spread and was quite gooey but somehow it did not run off the cakes completely. It tasted fine, thank goodness! The adult cake did not reach it's 4 layer potential so I have another layer in the freezer for another day. With the runny icing, the 4th layer was just sliding off the top, oh my!

How did this year go so very fast? Such a great ride already and this journey is only beginning; I only hope I am able to truly live in each moment and appreciate all the sweet things there are.

Happy Birthday to my big boy!