Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Dressing It Up

The creative log jam has finally broken and I'm sewing again!  I love making little girl dresses.  Unfortunately, my little girl isn't that little anymore, so my Etsy store, Pretty Pretty Cindy, was born as an outlet for the "little girl" sewing (and crochet and whatever else I want to make).  I'm especially tickled about "upcycling," or using existing items to make new ones.  Without further ado, I'm excited to show you what I've been doing:

This is a pretty little cotton A-line I made in a size 4.  I added a little hot pink tulle at the hem.  I love these little A-line dresses.  I know I've mentioned it before, but Wendy Gratz has an adorable book "Absolutely A-Line" that will open your mind to lots of new ways to improve on a simple A-line pattern.

Although I do love the A-lines, I did try a couple of new things:

This is a pretty peachy cotton long dress in a size 5.  I will probably end up shortening this for someone because it's pretty long - the lace ruffle added a little too much length except for those tall girls.  I love the Peter Pan collar, but I can't say I liked making it!

Continuing my quest to do something new, I tried out a twirl tiered dress.  A friend of mine said it reminded her of Provence in France because it's so sunny and bright.  I think if I did another, I would make the straps knotted so they are a little more adjustable.  This one is a size 6.

I felt pretty clever with this little A-line dress.  This dress is made from two pillowcases.  The clever part is that when I cut the dress initially, I accidentally left a pillowcase seam right down the middle of the front of the dress.  That resulted in the pattern pieces being pushed aside for a long time.  When I finally found them again a couple weeks ago, I decided to give the dress a faux front closure with little buttons.  Staying with the closure theme, I devised something a little different for the back closure:

I created the largest button holes my machine would make and then threaded a sash through them for this cute tie.  This little dress is a size 3 and definitely one of a kind.

If you want to see any of these dresses as specific listings on Etsy, click the small pictures on the right -->

When the creative streak gets started, it's hard to know when it will stop, so I'm still working on more dresses.  Watch for them on Pinterest on my "Things I've Made" board or on the right Etsy column here.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Easy Homemade Father's Day

It's the Monday before Father's Day and you still don't have anything?  Well join the club!  I'm still thinking about what we're going to do this year, but I do have a couple of easy ideas to share with you that are great for your younger kids.  My husband always complained that he didn't get the cool personalized gifts I get because Mother's Day is during the school year.  We did some of these to address that and now that the kids are 11 and 13, I don't think he minds as much that the gifts aren't as personalized.

Here's an easy one you can do with a couple of markers and a small stretched canvas you can find at Michael's, Hobby Lobby or any local craft store.

I used alternating colored markers on the stretch canvas.  I outlined the letters for DAD and then had the kids come up with words to describe their dad.  Then I wrote the words to make the shape.  I made sure the kids wrote their own names and put the occasion and date on the bottom.  (I hate when you find things made by kids, but don't know what year it was.)

Another gift dad really loves are the homemade coasters.

So easy!  You use plain absorbent stone coasters, some phones printed on paper and modge podge.  We didn't try photos printed on photopaper because I'm not sure how well the modge podge works on that type of paper.  The one mistake difficulty we had was getting the head shot close enough and still being able to cut a complete circle to fit the coaster.  You can see that my kids didn't succeed in that task, but I still love how they turned out.  The modge podge mades them nice and smooth and completely water resistant.

Last year we did a barbecue theme (we aren't terribly original around here).  To add to the implements, spices and apron, we made a tray to carry items to and from the barbecue grill.

You can get a plain unfinished wood tray at Michael's or Hobby Lobby.  Using scrapbook paper and modge podge, we decorated the inside of the tray and then painted the rest.  I made sure to put a clear epoxy or shellac coat over everything to make it water resistant.  This project was a little more tricky for my 10 year old and we did struggle with the seam on the paper (you can see it above).  However, the fact that homemade things aren't "perfect" makes them the most precious gifts because it shows how much the kids worked at it.

The last one we wanted to make last year (and might this year) is a valet tray made from varying sizes of small boxes.  We found a set last year at the Container Store.  You can again use scrapbook paper to cover the boxes and then glue them together to make this configuration.  As a sharp touch you can use the "file markers" to identify the various compartments.  You can find the metal frames for those in any scrapbook section of a craft store.

Good luck with your homemade treasures and Happy Father's Day!


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Father's Day - Etsy Style

There's still time to shop for unique Father's Day items on Etsy.  If you don't know what Etsy is (really, is there anyone who hasn't heard of Etsy?), it is a marketplace for artisans.  You can find the coolest stuff you won't find in department stores.  Here's some items I found for Father's Day:

Here's a cool 15" laptop/messenger bag made from upcycled clothing.  That's a one of a kind for dad for only $145.00.

Here's a nice personalized message on a metal alloy card, perfect for dad's wallet.  Your kids can create their own personal messages for $22.00.

I think I need a set of these!  Here are some natural stone coasters with different theme/designs.  I can see my husband kicking back to watch a game with his beer on these coasters.  You can get the game going for $18.00.

Isn't this the sweetest keychain?  Completely personalized with the most important facts front and center.  Dad can carry this stylish personalized item for $34.00.

O.K., maybe not every day would appreciate this Breaking Bad inspired custom engraved cutting board, but my husband would get a kick out of it. This is especially great from kids that aren't quite so young anymore.  Heisenberg can come to your home for only $29.00.

Finally, for the newer dad, here's an upcycled Dr. Seuss favorite repurposed into a beautiful journal. Wouldn't that be the best place to keep all those little memories of your preschooler from a dad's perspective?  This unique gift is only $22.00.

Okay, I'm hardly scratching the surface at Etsy.  You haven't seen all the funny cards, personalized items, clothing, wallets, sports memorabilia and anything else you might want for dad.  There are two other items I really love, but you will have to order these:

This is an heirloom quilt made from upcycled men's ties.  What a great way to remember the men in your life - husband, dad and granddad.  

Here is another quilt made from 16 t-shirts of your choosing.  If your husband is like mine, he's collected t-shirts that are meaningful to him but can't make it into the current t-shirt rotation or take the frequent washes.

Don't see anything that catches your fancy or do you already have a gift for Father's Day?  Keep Etsy in mind for all of your gift needs (or when you need/want something just for you).  If you're looking for some pretty items for little girls or babies, you can check out my store, Pretty Pretty Cindy.