Thursday, August 30, 2007

Living in the Land of Lincoln

As I mentioned in a previous post, the theme for July/August at the Tie One On blog is "local pride". I live in Illinois, the "Land of Lincoln", which always makes me think of log cabins and copper pennies with Abraham's well-known profile on them, so they were my inspiration for this apron.

Here's the front and back of the skirt I used to make the apron:

And here is the finished apron, with a close-up of one of the pockets (the fabric used along the bottom edge and for the ties is a woodgrain fabric I had in my stash, and the pennies on the pockets were done with a QuickFuse fabric sheet):

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Yes, another one ...

These dishtowel aprons are just too easy!! Yes, yes, I made another one this morning. A little bit more involved than the last one because this time I used two towels ... but still, very easy. These I got as a pack of 5 on sale for $3.88, so now I have an apron with 3 matching towels ... love it! When I bought them a few weeks ago, I sort of had an inkling of an idea how I was going to use them, but it wasn't until a new friend on the Sewing Aprons Yahoo group (yes, of course, there's a group for this!!) posted a link to this cutie yesterday that the ideas started to come together.

So this morning, I read through the pattern a couple of times, then did it the opposite way. Why? Because the pattern on these towels is directional. If you hold the towel up to yourself, the print is upside down at the top and right side up at the bottom. I wanted the bib of the apron to have the print going right side up, so I had to be creative. I just used the basic concept of the pattern but cut the bib towel instead of the skirt towel ... and then I used the leftover half of the bib towel to make a pocket. I really like how it turned out! I still want to try making the pattern the right way someday, so will look for a towel that doesn't have a directional problem (still thinking about that red "salt and pepper" one I saw at Target ... better get over there before they're gone LOL!)

Hmmm ... I'm amassing a bit of a collection here ... I'm going to have to start thinking about where I can hang these so they're accessible ....

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Need a quick birthday present?

What do you do when a friend invites you to a last-minute celebration that evening for her daughter's 10th birthday? Well, if you're me, you make the birthday girl an apron! This young lady loves all things prairie and so I knew she would love this apron that turns into a bonnet. No problem, right? Free pattern, enough fabric in the stash ... let's get to work. Oops, wait ... the pattern pieces need to be enlarged ... I can't do that here. And I don't have any bias tape that matches the fabric. So, now what? A trip to the nearest toy store? No way! There's a Kinko's down the street and a Hobby Lobby right around the corner ... two trips and I've got what I need ... now I can get busy.

Once I had everything I needed, this apron went together relatively quickly. Only one word of caution ... make sure you get all the layers into the bias tape (trust me!) Here is the finished apron:Happy birthday, Maggie! Hope you like it!

Easiest apron ever!

Last night, after the kids were finally asleep, I looked through my little stack of apron wannabe's, trying to decide what to work on. I was a little tired myself, so decided to pick an easy one ... a dishtowel that I bought at Target last week. Simply lop off the top two corners, stitch on some bias binding and voila! A cute little apron ... love it! Now, of course, if you know me at all, you know I didn't just "lop off" those corners willy nilly ... I measured first LOL! But it really only took a few minutes to hold it up to me and decide how wide I wanted the top to be (8") and then where the waist should be (even with the bottom of the stem of the center flower). Then I was able to quickly lop off those corners, add the bias tape and have an apron ready to wear ... I didn't check the clock when I started, but I don't think it took me more than 45 minutes tops (and it wouldn't have taken me nearly as long as that if I hadn't had such trouble with the thread ... changed the needle 3 or 4 times before the thread finally stopped breaking!)

So, armed with a $3.99 dishtowel, a $1.59 package of bias tape, and an hour to spare, I now have a cute apron ... easy! Hmmm .... they had a red towel with "salt and pepper" written all over it ... just might have to get it ....

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Paint scraping technique

Have you seen this tutorial before? I had, but didn't do anything about it ... just added it to my "list of things to try someday" (do you have one of these lists, too?!) Then the other day I saw this, and was reminded again of this neat paint scraping technique. I even commented on that post that I really wanted to try this and would definitely try it soon. And, what do you know? I actually did! That same day, in fact LOL! While my girls were outside playing Thursday afternoon, I realized this was as good a time as any to just do it. So I did. I did 6 spreads in my art journal (wax paper is my friend!) and learned a few things along the way. First, it really does only take a swipe or two before the colors can become muddy, especially if you're using complementary colors, so be sure to keep a paper towel or wet wipe handy to keep the credit card clean. Second, I found I really love working in layers ... for the third layout I did, I tried a layer with 3 or 4 shades of one color, then let it dry for about 30 seconds or so before doing another layer with 2 or 3 shades of another color. Doing it this way is especially nice when working with those complementary colors because you can avoid the mud problem. And, third, I really like adding a final layer of white or light gray when it's getting to dark. All in all, this was a fun project that I will definitely be doing more often! I really like that you get the look of texture, but the layers are so smooth that it'll be nice to write on. Go on, try it!!

Just be careful ... see my last spread? I was trying to lift the right-hand page to separate it from the back cover and it suddenly flopped over on itself. When I tried to pull it back up, it tore off and this is what I ended up with. Of course, if you use a sturdy paper or cardstock, this probably won't happen to you, but I was doing this in my art journal, which is a composition notebook with flimsy paper. At first I was so upset because I was really happy with how the colors turned out, but the more I look at it, the more I realize that I kind of like it with the back cover showing like that. I'm thinking of painting that back cover and then gluing this page down to it, and then journaling about the end of this journal and the beginning of a new one ... though I think I'll wait until I'm closer to really being done with the journal. I still have quite a few pages to fill.

Let me know if you do try this ... it is really easy and lots of fun!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Apron Wannabe's

Today was such a great day! My girls and I went to a favorite thrift store with my mil and sil ... always fun! It's on the other side of town and kind of awkward to get to so we don't do it often, but when we do go, we always find something good. When my sil called yesterday and asked if we wanted to go, my first thought was "aprons"! Yes, I'm on an apron kick now. (Actually, I've always had a love of aprons, and it's been a little desire of mine to have a bunch of different ones to wear for different jobs and occasions. There's just something about wearing a cute little apron or a let's get cooking apron that puts one in a good mood ... know what I mean?)

So, anyway, I decided that this trip was, at least for me, going to be an apron hunt. I'd never searched for aprons there before, so first I checked all the aisles ... no apron section. Hmmm ... if I were an apron, where would I be? "Excuse me, worker lady, if you got any aprons in, where would you put them?" A murmur and some gesturing over to the back wall ... oh, by the tablecloths and window treatments ... alright, I'll check there next. Nothing. Well, I mean I couldn't find any ... every time I saw something that might have apron strings ... nope, it's crib bumper pads or a window topper with ties or some other strange household item I've never seen before. So, scratch the aprons. Darn, now what? Hey, maybe I should look around for clothes that I can turn into an apron ... YES! I want to make my own anyway, so that's what I really should be looking for, right? Of course, I never would have thought to turn an item of clothing into an apron if it weren't for the neatest blog called Tie One On. I love this blog! Every couple of months they post a theme and people make an apron to fit the theme ... love it!! And one of the themes had been to turn clothes into aprons.

First I looked at the skirts ... I figured that would be the easiest to turn into aprons. Just cut a slit up the back, add ties and it's done. Well, I struck gold right there in the skirt aisle ... I found 7 skirts that I think will work easily into half-aprons. I chose skirts that would normally be too small for me, figuring that once they are cut and ties are added, they'll be just the right distance around to look like a proper apron (fingers crossed here!) Then I checked the dress aisle to see what I could find. Not so easy ... I found many cute ones that would be darling aprons, but I wasn't sure how I would go about turning them into aprons without having to basically reconstruct them. But I did find one dress that had a halter-style top that I think will work well. So, 8 items to turn into aprons ... yay me! And what made it even better was that almost all of them were 1/2 price today (another fun thing about this store, each day they pick 2 or 3 colored tags to be 1/2 price ... today all the yellow, blue and green tags were the lucky ones ... gotta love that!)

And to top off the day, we stopped at Dairy Queen for lunch and a treat ... yummy! Bargains and ice cream ... what more could a girl ask for?!

Here are pics of 6 of the skirts and the one dress I found (the 7th skirt is a dark red so that's still in the dark laundry pile waiting to be washed ... I'll post a pic of that one later when I actually turn it into an apron, okay?):

I'm thinking of starting with the long denim skirt in the picture on the right ... I've got ideas for the current theme "local pride". Oh, and ignore the little spot ... must be something on the camera lens ... believe me, when I saw that in the pic, I raced back the studio to check LOL!

FYI, on the journal page at the top of the post, which I'm so glad I did on the same day that it happened! I used watercolor crayon for the background, rubbing it with a wet wipe. All the writing and scribbling was done with a no. 2 pencil. A simple page ... I like it!

Monday, August 13, 2007

A place for everything ...

and everything in it's place (yeah, right!) As you can see, I struggle with this concept big time. In fact, this fits the "confusion" theme (week #20) at Blissfully_Art_Journaling (formerly known as ATCA Art Journals) ... at least, it does for me ...

Of course, it's not hard to find a place for wild blackberries ... yum!! Just don't look too closely at my hand-drawn bucket ... I was trying to make it look like you are looking down into the bucket, but the proportions are waaay off LOL! But, check out the slightly darker color in the blackberries ... I took one of the blackberries and smashed it onto the page, then drew the blackberries after the stain dried. Pretty clever, eh? Please say yes, because my dh just thinks I'm nuts ....
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