Sunday, April 29, 2012

DIY First Communion Veil

Tomorrow is our big day.  First Communion and Confirmation.  The veil is the cherry on the top of the the First Communion ensemble.  It's also the easiest part to make.

I made my own bridal veil and it was important to me to make my daughter's First Communion veil.  They are not expensive to buy - you can get them anywhere you find First Communion dresses and even in bridal sections of craft stores.  But why buy when you can make your own?  (I should note that the following images are not mine, but come from various commercial sources.  You can find any of these images and corresponding vendors through a Google search of "communion veils," but I have also linked the pictures to the source website.)

First, you need to decide what the headpiece will be.  You can use a crown

A headband

Or a bow, barrette, cluster of flowers

They are all basically made the same way.  First thing is picking the right veil material.  You want sheer bridal fabric, not a coarse tulle.  The bridal tulle comes in wider widths than other fabrics and the wider the fabric, the fuller the veil can be.  You can also buy fabric that is already trimmed in lace or finished or do it yourself.  Finishing can be as simple as a rolled hem with a serger.  I didn't finish the ends of the veil, preferring to keep it simple.  Most store bought veils are finished.

After you determine the beginning width of the veil, decide how long you want the veil.  My daughter wanted a veil that went over her shoulder near her elbows.  That's about 24".  After you cut the tulle to your desired length you can cut the edges in curves.  We didn't do that, creating a more horizontal feel.

Using a clear monofilament thread (fishing line), create tiny gathers and use a hand needle or machine stitch to gather the veil.  If you use a hand sewing method, use a machine zig-zag stitch to fasten the gathers.  Make the gathers as full or loose as you choose.  

Now it's time to attach the gathered veil to the headband.  In our case we had a headpiece we purchased. My daughter wanted it to be more like a headband, so we cut it.

If you leave the round headpiece intact, you can sew the veil at the gathers directly onto the headpiece.  If you stretch it around the ring, you will have a veil that is loose on top of the head.  That's fine if it's the look you want.

Otherwise you can gather it more tightly.  Transparent combs are excellent for this and can be found in the bridal sections of most craft stores.  Hand sew the gathered veil onto the comb.  You can add beads, crystals, ribbons or flowers.  We just used it like it was part of the headpiece.

And there you have it - a veil that is very versatile in its look, but constructed in the same easy method.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chance Encounters

I ride the bus to work everyday.  I go to a park and ride to catch the bus.  There is a security guard there who is well into his 70s.  Everyday he comes out of the little guard house and stands on the platform with the commuters as we wait for the bus.  Then he does something that makes my day. As we each board the bus he looks us each in the eye and tells us to have a good day.  It's like having a warm granddad sending you off to school in the morning.  Rain or shine (or more likely searing heat) he's there. On Fridays it's "Have a good weekend."

Don't we all want someone to send us on our way as we begin our day?  Isn't it wonderful to have another person looks us in the eye and speak kindly and directly to us?  I'd like to "pay that forward" to a stranger I see today.  After all, aren't strangers just friends we haven't met yet?

I hope you have a great day!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

DIY Fabric Shelf Storage

I'm almost done with my craft room.  I don't want to show the whole reveal because I'm still thinking of ways to decorate it.  However, it's almost completely functional.  One of the things that really shocked me was just how much fabric I have!

Yikes!  What a mess!  I don't buy too much of any fabric (usually not enough by the time I get to a project), but I am a sucker for the remnant bin at JoAnns.  It's a great place for fleece and flannel.  Anyway, I digress.  I am lucky to have these wonderful built-in shelves in the closet:

No problem, I thought.  I'll just neatly fold and organize the fabric on the shelves.

I was able to organize the fabric by type and fold the smaller fabrics into fat quarters and arrange them by color.  But there was still too much fabric!   The flannel I have was especially difficult.  I don't have a lot of any particular pattern, but I do have lots of different patterns.  Flannel takes up a great deal of space when you fold it.

I love reusing stuff and I came up with this great idea to use old DVD cases to wind flannel for storage.  Your know, like this:

By creating little "books" of flannel, I was able to use this discarded bookshelf.

Hey, I can see the floor!  I also love looking at my fabric stash.  I just wish I could make all the things I am imagining.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Happy Earth Day!

It's Earth Day!  Get out and enjoy the day!  Check this post from Girl Scout Thinking Day for practical tips you can do with your kids to be more "green" and sustainable, especially with my favorite media - water!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Black Slip Dress

I'm trying to make some dresses for Mackenzie and here was my first for the spring/summer:

It was very easy - just two pieces with a facing.  A-line dresses are very flattering for most figures.

We were working on a little modeling of the dress until her foot was scratched.  The photo shoot abruptly ended.

I did have one problem with this dress, but I'm proud of the save.  I made a mistake on the shoulders and ended up sewing each of the four straps closed.  I decided to sew them closed and put decorative buttons on them.

I originally intended to use this fabric for myself, but I like it better in this little slip dress.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

If Our Mothers Had the Internet . . .

Every time I go to a linky party I see some amazing things.  It's mind boggling.  I'm speechless when I see all the creativity and talent from bloggers and on Etsy.  You can use the internet to find anything and learn to do anything.  It makes me wonder what our mothers could have done if the internet existed in the 70's and 80's.  I suspect there would have been less valium prescribed.

We could have linky parties featuring macrame plant holders and owl swings.

Just imagine what we could do with Jello!

Ponchos, legwarmers and tie dye, O MY!

Somehow Brats dolls don't translate as well to cakes

Don't forget those latch hooked rugs!

If our mothers had the internet they could have been more crafty, thrifty, and fashionable, even with mod podge, felt and egg cartons

Wait - I think I saw that last week in a linky party!


Monday, April 16, 2012

My First Quilt

I'm a wimp about quilting.  It's very intimidating to me.  I love rag quilts, probably because no one in my family made them, so I couldn't be too intimidated.  My grandmother made many quilts, even years after a major stroke, and all by hand.  My sister made her first quilt less than 7 years ago, but as usual she started big - I mean really big.  She made these huge colorful banners for her church.  Yeah, that big thing with the ribbons.

This one too:

So you can see why I might be a bit intimidated.  I finally overcame my fear, bought a pattern and some bundled fat quarters and made my first quilt:

I love the colors.  The blocks are multiple sizes and didn't line up perfectly, but you have to look close to see it.

I can't remember the pattern, but I do remember I purchased it at JoAnns.  I followed the directions for the binding and I'm pretty proud of it.

I was a weenie with the actual quilting.  I "stitched in the ditch".  That means I followed the seams of the blocks on the quilt top to sew through the quilt sandwich (quilt top, batting and quilt back).

I must say I'm pretty proud of it.  I made it a while back and today when I look at it I'm surprised I made it all by myself.  I pretended to be my sister and jumped in boldly - go big or go home.  (O.K., my quilt isn't big, but it's a metaphor for doing something you've never done before.)  Next time I'm going to try "real" quilting and stay out of the ditch.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Scrapbook Sunday - Summer Splash

Here's a summer page to get you feeling warm.  I'm not sure why I didn't get a picture of the entire page when I photographed this a couple of weeks ago, but you can get an idea of the layout.  I'm not thrilled with the pictures with Christian and Kent because of the shade.  However, I wanted that interaction in the layout.

The background paper is a blue and green dot vellum over a green patterned paper.  I like the pictures to have some progression in a layout because it seems to tell a better story.  Here, Christian was giggling about getting into the water, but eventually did and even trusted his dad to float on his back.  I loved using the "tape" on the pictures - great product!  The letters are stenciled and cut (when I had time to do that type of thing!).  They are outlined and layered over blue gingham ribbon so they pop a little more.  My favorite part of this layout is Christian's expression.  I miss that baby - he is 11 tomorrow (Monday).

Happy birthday baby boy.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Chocolate Pistachio Rag Quilt

I took a break for Easter, but I made it back.  Here is my newest rag quilt.  I call it Chocolate Pistachio.

It's a square baby blanket - about 36" square.  I love the colors in green and brown with a little blue mixed in.  The fabric is flannel with a brown minky on the reverse side.  For the X on the squares I used a leaf decorative stitch, which looks really good on the minky.  I tried to use a contrasting color, but it just doesn't show up on the dark minky.  For the combination of minky and flannel I don't use a middle fabric layer, but if you want the blanket extra warm, you should.

I've struggled a little with keeping the squares lined up using a straight stitch.  On this quilt I changed to a zigzag to sew the squares together.  Much better!

I've been working on a number of projects I will be showing soon.  Stay tuned!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Hippity Hoppity

I can't claim credit for this, but I did see it down the street and I think it's adorable:

Yes, those are bunny ears on headbands!  It is such a great idea.  There are also fake flowers (cheap plastic ones are very appropriate for this open air display).  Finally, the bows are also plastic.  This would be great on a fence or iron door.  Heck, it would be cute on a wreath.  Anywhere you can hide the headband part - it looks just like bunnies sticking their ears up.

Hippity, hoppity, Easter's on its way!