Thursday, May 31, 2012

Made It - Relaxation Eye Bag

Hello! A relative from my husband's side of the family had surgery recently. Her husband said she's recovering well, but of course needs a lot of rest during the healing process. To that end, I decided to make a relaxation eye bag to send to her.

It's a very easy project; I was able to select the fabric, cut it out and do the machine sewing part while I was waiting for a pot of coffee to brew. Really! Here's how it turned out:

It's filled with a mixture of flaxseed and dried lavender; I also added a few drops of lavender essential oil just to boost the scent a little. 

If you'd like to make your own eye bag, you can find the directions HERE

I made a get-well card to go along with the eye bag:

Very simple - I just glued some vintage crocheted flowers to some card stock, added some felt leaves, glued vintage buttons to the flower centers, then stamped "get well". Of course, it helped that I happened to have such nice vintage items on hand. 

Hmmm...I am in need of a nap - maybe I should make myself a relaxation eye bag!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Made It - Lazy Person's Garland

Hello! A few weeks back I found some red, white and blue striped  heavy twill at a thrift store. It was priced at a dollar for  1 1/2yards, so I snapped it up. I immediately knew I could use it to fashion a fabric garland to add some patriotic flair to our yard. 

Looked online first to learn how to make a fabric garland - I knew how to do the sewing, but wanted to see how the hanging cord should be attached. I saw various directions that called for the use of grommets, zipper foots, bias tape and so on. I wanted something simpler, so I came up with my own solution, which I'll reveal shortly. 

To begin, I made a triangle template of about 6" at the top and with sides of 9". I cut triangles out of the striped fabric and out of white fabric I already had on hand. After pinning the two pieces together, I sewed across the top of each triangle, then stopped. I started my seam again about 1/2" down from the top seam, then sewed around the sides of the triangle, stopping again about 1/2" from the top of the other side of the triangle. This created a channel for me to thread garden twine through. I happened to have a sewing tool called a ballpoint bodkin that was perfect for threading the twine through the channel. 

My finished garland is about 10' long, and in honor of Memorial Day, I hung it up:

Above, you see an overview of the garland, and below, a close-up:

As I'd said, it's a lazy person's garland, but I like the cheerfulness of those red, white and blue stripes. Anything to help dress up our old garage is a good thing too!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Thrifty Acres - "New" Planters

Hello! I'm always on the hunt for vintage items to use as planters, so this year the following trio make their debut in our yard:

I paid four dollars for this graniteware bowl at a thrift store last fall. 

For one dollar, the vintage Spry shortening can was mine; from an estate sale last fall. eBay research indicated that this can dates from the 1940's. 

And last but not least, I bought the vintage pail for a dollar at a garage sale last week. I had to fashion wire hangers to attach the pail's handle to the hanging chain and to hang the chain from the shepherd's hook. Hope the whole thing holds up! (filled with potting soil, the pail is rather heavy) Guess I'll find out the first bad storm we have!

Now, while at a local nursery yesterday, I did spy some great new planters for sale - instead of the usual boring clay, they were in bright solid colors. I was tempted - but then figured I could wait to see if any of these pots show up at a thrift store!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Scenes From The Tulip Festival

Well, I guess this post falls under the category of "better late than never", as my town's annual tulip festival ended this past weekend. I took several pictures from two of the parades and from the Dutch dancing routines. Although there weren't as many tulips in bloom as everyone would have liked, the show went on!

Above are some employees from the locally-based Hudsonville Dairy, famous for ice cream. The gentlemen put on a quite an entertaining drill!

A drill of a different sort:

Employees of the local library in formation with their book carts!

Dutch dancers twirling around.

You don't have to be Dutch to do Dutch dancing! The couple above are foreign exchange students at our daughter's high school - he is from Turkey and she is from Serbia. Considerable time and expense is involved for learning the dance moves and for obtaining an official costume, so I admired these two for wanting to participate. I hope that they'll fondly remember this experience when they reflect back on their stay in the US.

Another portion of the Dutch dance routine. Hundreds of dancers from local high schools dance at a time around the perimeter of a city park.

When you live close to the end of a parade route, as we do, this is what you see every year at the start of the Kinderparade:

A sea of school buses pull up to park on our block after dropping the kids off at the beginning of the parade route. However, this doesn't give the West Ottawa school district district the right to block our neighbors' driveway. They also blocked another neighbor's driveway, leaving her stuck as she tried to make her way back to her house after running an errand. Fortunately we were home, on our way to the parade, so we told her to go ahead and park in our driveway. In both cases, there was room for the bus in question to park without blocking a driveway. 

Oh well, at least the Kinderparade kids are always a hit:

Each local school that participates decides upon a theme related to some aspect of the "real" Holland, such as art, holidays and foods. Kids and teachers alike dress in Dutch costumes.

Various marching bands perform, although not in costume, of course. However, the marching band from the town's main high school has a distinctive look:

Yes, those are wooden shoes on their feet!

A certain local high school is too small to have a marching band, so instead they have an ultra-cool jazz band!

And thus another tulip festival has come and gone. Hopefully the tulips will cooperate better next year, but we learned that it's an enjoyable time even without many tulips in bloom.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Made It - Projects Big And Small

Hello! I tend to sew small projects - Christmas ornaments, baby toys, and the like. I really need to be motivated to sew something larger! But this week my motivation came in the form of our couch, which, while still functional, had badly-worn cushions and frayed arms. We thought it was a good brand, but it's almost 14 years old - maybe that's normal wear? 

I searched online for slipcovers, and they're affordable - unless you have a sleeper sofa, which we do; then the prices go up quite a bit, and I didn't care for the styles and limited color choices I saw either. 

Meanwhile, a thrift store had come through with a pattern for making slipcovers.  The pattern was $11.95 new, but I paid only 50c for it - can't beat those savings!

The fabric I purchased was quite affordable as well; it was a third of the price I would have paid for a sleeper sofa slipcover. The sewing wasn't hard, but as I had ten yards of fabric to deal with, there were some long seams and a even longer hem to sew. And my sewing machine pedal was acting up, so it was slower going than it should have been. I was not a happy camper by the end of the day. Sewing has a tendency to make me crabby - I'll admit it. 

Still, I kept at it, and finally added the finishing touch today, the ties. Here is how it turned out:

Not too bad for a first effort in slipcovering, I guess. Would I do it again? Maybe. At least I now know how to do it, and I did save a fair amount of money as well. The sofa no longer looks as if it is inhabited by hillbillies, and the bonus of being machine-washable is nice too!

Here is a close-up of the fabric pattern:

It's actually more a blue-gray than what it looks like here, and have a subtle leaf pattern.

Now, of course, at some point I'll have to cover the pillows that had come with the sofa - I think I'll wait a bit on that!

As if that wasn't enough sewing fun, before I made the slipcover I sewed a much smaller project:

I had found the sailboat print fabric at a thrift store and knew right away that it'd be fun to craft a sailboat ornament with it. I didn't have a sailboat pattern on hand, but kept my eyes open. Lo and behold, several weeks later, at the same thrift store, I found an older craft book of baby projects. A sailboat pattern was shown for appliquing onto  baby's shirt, and it was already sized perfectly for me to adapt to an ornament instead. 

Besides the fabrics, I used a bit of felt, a small red pom-pom, a dowel I'd painted white, and some gold cord for hanging. Needless to say, this went together MUCH quicker than the slipcover! 

A friend of mine and her family own a sailboat, so I gave the ornament to her today and she seemed to like it. As I told her, with its red, white and blue color scheme, it could even be used as a summertime decoration, so it wouldn't have to be just be used at Christmastime. I don't have a sailboat, but I'm thinking of making some for me to display this summer - if I can force myself back to my sewing machine!