Friday, February 20, 2015

A new friend: a valuable lesson

Do you ever make something and wonder to yourself, "I can buy this at Walmart for ten dollars - why am I putting in so much effort to do this?" I must admit that those thoughts ran through my head during this project. A lot of seam ripping went into this project, which wasn't easy since I was sewing white chenille with white thread. But when I gave it to my little boy, my rumpled thoughts were soothed by his big smile, and the way he so readily reached for this little cotton tail and became fast friends.

Here is a toy I made with my hands. A toy that was created with things that we had on hand. A future lesson for my boy in giving handmades. A lesson for me about what it takes to craft a softie - the time and labor it takes. I won't ever buy a stuffed animal and take the craftsmanship for granted again.

In my New Years Goals post I posted about wanting to learn how to sew from patterns. This was my second attempt at making something with a pattern. Meet our little cotton tail! It's from Jill Hamor's book Storybook Toys. I was first introduced to this  book by Amy's blog over at NanaCompany. She made a chenille cotton tail bunny for her daughter. Well as the saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I hope it can be construed as flattery because I do so admire her work. And admiration often leads to imitation. So with that being said - I made my own sweet boy a chenille bunny friend.

"Most of the doll's clothes and the other toys in this book are made with such small amounts of fabric that you are likely to find the perfect fabric in your scrap bin." ~ Jill Hamor 

Oh how true that statement is! Three pieces of chenille in the scrap bucket, stuffing from pillows used at my wedding by my ring bearers, and a piece of fabric I had in my stash by Denyse Schmidt. This little friend took very little fabric to make. I think if I made another one too, it would sew up fast. Even with all my seam ripping, it took one of Liam's long nap sessions to sew together.

On a learner's note - I hand basted in a dark contrasting thread a lot during this project and I recommend it to all beginners sewing up a softie. By basting I was able to see how the parts were sewn together and whether or not I was doing it right. It was also easier to maneuver through the machine instead of having to worry about taking out the pins, especially in tight corners. I also did not embroider the eyes, but instead used plastic ones. I actually like the look a lot better!

I also did sew on the head at a bit of an angle as you can see. That wasn't a deliberate change in the pattern, but I kind of like the tilt of this little cotton tail's head. It's like he wants to whisper a secret.

When it is all said and done, and this little friend is snuggled up close to my son's soft face, I am happy that I made this project. I learned a lot through this process and I hope to make more toys and get better and better with each attempt.

On an aside, did you hear that Heidi from Fabric Mutt is hosting a Sew your Library link party? I believe three amazing ladies will be taking turns hosting the link up. This week is Martha from Weekend Doings.  I learned about Martha's blog from this link up party and I just have to say that she is one talented lady! Don't you just love the idea of a sew your library party? This is actually such an amazing idea! I have been trying to make a goal for myself to not buy any more crafting books until I create at least one project out of each book I have in my library. I think this party is just the ticket to work on that goal don't you think!

Happy Sewing friends!

Linking up to Sew the Library at Weekend Doings, TGIFF, Finish it Friday over at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Meet Harold - the newest toy in the basket

Why do I create? Do you ever ask yourself that question? I think the reason for that question changed when I had Liam. Before it was because it made me happy. Now - after having Liam - creating things - especially creating things for him - doesn't just make me happy... no it fills up my cup in such an amazing way. Being able to pour my love into a hand crafted item and then to see that item used and loved just makes me feel so blessed.

We have a small basket of toys for him - some are handmade by me, some by local craftsmen, and some store bought but given to us with much love. All different materials. Wood, plastic, rubber, and now - the newest addition: cotton.

Meet Harold. Our shy little monster and newest addition to the toy basket. He has a loose tooth that either needs to get pulled or sewed on better... but he's a happy little guy.

Currently Liam likes holding him and then dropping him while running around in his little walker. The pattern came from here  and it was actually really easy to follow! I made him during an hour nap session. It was my first time using a yarn needle and it actually wasn't as intimidating as I thought it was going to be. It makes me want to tackle more projects that need joining now! Have you seen all those amazing crochet granny square blankets? One for the list might need to be added. Well, what is really nice about this project is that the cotton yarn was left over from Liam's baby blanket. Oh how happy it makes me to be able to create something with things that we already have on hand!

Happy creating everyone! Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Midnight Sewing - Daytime Cruising

"What is so deeply important to my soul and the soul of my family is the act and the process of creating itself" ~ Amanda Soule from The Creative Family 

This pattern has been on my sewing table for weeks now. A goal of mine has been to start sewing with patterns this year - and this cute little bucket hat pattern was on the top of my list! So last night, I was trying to settle down by reading blogs (which I'm learning isn't a very good idea since it seems to do the opposite of settle me down), and I stumbled across Jessica's blog: a little gray  and she had actually put together an Oliver and S sew along in 2012! So, along with the clear instructions of the pattern, and the additional comments on Jessica's blog, I was determined to jump in! And what was I waiting for! Sewing with a pattern is so amazingly simple! Notches. Notches are AMAZING! They help everything line up!

So here it is! My first finish with a pattern. And it was easy! And it only took me about an hour. WOW! There are of course mistakes and the top stitching isn't perfect, but I don't care because this is my first project and practice can only make better right? And the best part of it is it's for my son. My beautiful sweet and precious boy. He finally has a bucket hat to protect his head, neck, and face from the sun when we start taking him to the beach and the park - or in this case, our farmer's market.

That's the best part of creating in my opinion. The creation of something that your family needs. And something about the act of creating, and clothing, or quilting for your loved ones, and seeing your handmades on them or being used by them creates a fullness of heart that is hard to beat.

Linking up to Finish It Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts. Aloha Everybody!