Tag Archives: non-geeky

Tutorial: The most awesome rainbow tiered skirt *ever*

30 Jun

A few days ago I was lurking around the internet, bored senseless, and not a single crafty project that sounded remotely interesting, then I stumbled across perhaps the most lovely skirt I’ve ever seen and I knew I had to have it. And so, I made one for myself!

Obligatory spin shot!

 

The San Diego LGBT Pride parade is coming up in about a month and I’m planning on marching in it. I just had to have this skirt in time for the parade! So that night I decided I was going to do it. I spent about 3 hours planning everything out and went to the store the very next day to get my supplies.

Turns out my 3 hours of planning was totally wasted! My initial measurements included over 1400 inches worth of fabric for the bottom tier! I also had wanted to copy the patchwork design of the original but I am not a patient lady. Thankfully the lady at the sewing counter suggested I just use strips of a single fabric (the poor lady probably thought I was going insane, I was sitting on the ground talking to myself and angrily scratching out numbers while looking at a million different quilting packs). Ok, so first simplification complete–this project seems more manageable now!

At this point I still planned on having about 1400″ of fabric for my final tier. I picked out my favorite fabric and calculated the costs. Over $60, ouch! Ok, so being a broke crafter I needed to bring that down a LOT. So instead of each tier being 1.5x the tier above it I figured I’d do 1.25x the tier above it. This brought my 1400″ final tier down to a “measly” 370–way more manageable. It also brought my costs down closer to $25, about what I’d pay in a store for a significantly-less-awesome skirt, which was easy to justify (especially after my initial estimate of costs, eesh!).

After congratulating myself on being both frugal and maintaining the inherent awesomeness of this project I spent the next 15 minutes or so having the sewing counter lady cut my fabric into chunks as small as 1/4 of a yard. All in all I spent over an HOUR just picking out fabric and figuring out exactly how much I needed. What’s worst is that I nearly forgot to grab extra thread on my way out! But I remembered before hitting the check-out lane and all was well. So, let’s give this thing a look, shall we?

Just after completion–I didn’t take it off all night!

Very tired, but so proud!

Outside in the sun

I tried to get progress shots of this but being so big and bulky it was pretty difficult, so this tutorial will mostly be words. if you need clarification just leave a comment and I’ll do my best to clear things up.

First, get your measurements. All the fabric I got came in 44″ lengths and I decided the easiest way to get my measurements was to do strips and just sew them into one longer strip, the seams mostly get hidden in the ruffles and even if the seams show…who cares? Cheaper is WAY worth it for this. The second measurement is how much of a yard I bought of the fabric.

  • Waist – 40″
  • Tier 1 (pink) – 50″ (1/4 yard)
  • Tier 2 (red) – 62.5″ (1.25x tier 1) (1/4 yard)
  • Tier 3 (orange) – 78″ (at this point I started to round the numbers) (1/4 yard)
  • Tier 4 (yellow) – 97″ (3/8 yard)
  • Tier 5 (light green) – 122″ (3/8 yard)
  • Tier 6 (dark green) – 152.5″ (1/2 yard)
  • Tier 7 (light blue) – 190.75″ (5/8 yard)
  • Tier 8 (dark blue) – 238.5″ (3/4 yard)
  • Tier 9 (light purple) – 298″ (7/8 yard)
  • Tier 10 (dark purple) – 372.5″ (1 and 1/8 yard)

To get my strips to the length I needed I cut everything into 4.5″x44″ strips, then measured my final length for that tier and evenly divided that amongst the strips. For example, tier 4 was 97″, I cut 3 strips and trimmed them to approximately 32.5″ each, then sewed them together to create the final 97″ strip.

Everything cut into strips and sewn to their final sizes

I decided to do the easiest step next: hemming the bottom tier. I did a simple fold, I didn’t even fold it under itself, though I may go back to hem it properly.

After that came the hardest part: figuring out how to ruffle 370″ of fabric @.@ I did it wrong TWICE before finally giving up and freehanding half of it. I used a basting stitch but pulled it far too tight. Despite the frustration I’m glad I started on the longest strip: every strip after it was easier and easier than the one before! By the time I got to the final strip I was breezing through them.

Ruffles, ruffles, everywhere!

After the disaster with the longest tier I (ok…my honey) devised a new way to “ruffle”: pleating! I divided each strip into smaller sections and pleated as I went. I started by folding my previous strip (let’s say dark green) and my current strip (light green) and pinning the very far sides together to keep them from coming apart. Next, fold everything in half and pin the middle of the light green to the middle of the dark green; I found the best way to do this was just hold the two sides together as high as you can and have a friend pin the bottom of the droops together. Continue this way to find the middles until you’ve pinned everything into more manageable lengths. I suggest using safety pins, by the way, because there’s a lot of movement involved in this process. Hopefully the following picture makes at least a little bit of sense!

Weird picture but the best I could take to show the pinning

When I was finally done sewing all of my strips together I added a strip of elastic for the waistband. I used the same pinning method but instead of pleating the fabric I pulled the elastic taut and allowed the fabric to scrunch itself up. Finally, I sewed the loooong seam up the back and the skirt was complete! It’s officially my favorite piece from my wardrobe :-)

Attempting to learn crochet…

11 Apr

I recently inherited a wide array of crochet hooks. Now, I’ve been wanting to learn to crochet for quite a while but never wanted to invest the, er, $3 or so to get a hook and it seemed completely over my head, so this was the perfect time for me to try my hand at crochet.

And guys? I’ve discovered something amazing. Crochet is magic! No, really, I watched a video and at a certain point the person just stopped making sense but they still ended up with a finished product!!

Ok, maybe it’s not quite magic, maybe I’m still just oblivious as to how this could possibly work. I guess I’ll just have to wait until I see my mom next so she can teach me what in the heck to do.

See? I tried! This is where I got lost.

Tea for two, and two for tea…

31 Oct

Mmm, tea! So warm and soothing, delicious at any time of the day. With sugar, lemon, honey, milk, and so many varieties to choose from there are nearly endless combinations to choose from. It’s tea, obviously, that inspired this adorable charm bracelet.

Check it out on my etsy shop here! Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll treat myself to a cup of tea… :-)

Halloween!

25 Oct

It’s nearly Halloween! Halloween is possibly my favorite holiday. An excuse to dress up and wear funky makeup and outfits and watch scary movies all night long while eating candy? Yes please! And of course, getting to wear Halloween-themed jewelry is a huge plus.

I, of course, prefer to make my own Halloween jewelry. Like these two pairs of earrings I’ve made recently, both of which are up for sale on my etsy shop!

Available here

Available here

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Jack and Sally Cross Stitch Set

12 Oct

The Nightmare Before Christmas is one of my all-time favorite movies. I could watch it every day for a week and still be happily singing along with it.

I’ve already posted about my first Jack stitching (and hand-painted frame!) here. Someday soon I’ll get around to stitching up a matching Sally for my Jack, especially after completing this commission. The red background turned out so wonderful, I wish I’d done the background for my Jack in red, too! 80 hours of stitching has never felt so satisfying :-)

You can buy Jack and Sally patterns so you can stitch them up yourself, too! And I’m always available for customized commissions!

Simple Armwarmer Tutorial

12 Sep

It’s getting close to autumn, that strange season (for me, at least) where I can go from comfortable to cold in a matter of minutes. My solution? ARMWARMERS! They fit so easily in my purse and can be slipped on for comfort. I also have a bad habit of wearing through the bottoms of my socks so this is an excellent way to get more use out of a pair of socks! These can be made in about 10 to 15 minutes so they’re a great project. Before we begin, let’s see the finished project!

Materials

  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • A pair of socks (knee-high for full forearm armwarmers, shorter socks for wristwarmers)

First, gather your supplies and lay your socks out. Figure out where it's best to cut off the foot portion.

Evenly trim the feet off of the socks.

Set your machine to a zig-zag stitch, remove the storage compartment/extension table and slide the sock onto the remaining part of the sewing machine. Slowly zig-zag around the edge of the sock, then repeat with the other sock. I zig-zag'd around the edge twice using two different lengths of zig-zags to ensure it wouldn't unravel. Note: the wider your zig-zag stitch, the more pronounced the ruffle will be.

Ta-da! You're ready to wear your new armwarmers!

You can also add a thumb hole by cutting a very small hole in the heel, testing to make sure your thumb fits through, then zig-zag stitching very slowly around the thumb hole as well.

Homemade Frappuccinos

8 Aug

I am obsessed with frappuccinos. I love them. Ever since I found my favorite frappuccino (grande coffee frapp with hazelnut syrup, please!) I’ve been so in love with them. And ever since I found a recipe online I’ve been having so much fun experimenting with the original recipe and making it even better. The original recipe only showed how to make coffee frappuccinos without any flavoring but I prefer my coffee to be flavored, thank you very much.

And so, without further ado or unnecessarily long and drawn-out verbiage, here is the recipe.

Coffee Frappuccino

Ingredients: (Makes approximately 1 Venti or 2 Tall Starbucks equivalents)

  • 2 cups ice
  • 1 cup brewed coffee, chilled overnight (strong or regular strength, either works)
  • 1/2 cup milk
    • Fat free is what I use but you can use any kind
  • 1/4 cup flavored liquid coffee creamer
    • My favorites are Coffee Mate Vanilla Nut, Toffee Nut, or my absolute favorite for frappuccinos: Hazelnut
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup Cool Whip Extra Creamy Whipped Cream made with real cream
    • This is one of my secret ingredients! Make sure you get the stuff with real cream! This really helps keep it all together, check the ingredients to make sure there’s xanthan gum in there too because it will help keep it from separating and gives it a richness that is lacking if you leave this out
    • Measure this by putting all the other liquid ingredients in a measuring cup, if you’re following this recipe it should be 1 3/4 cups’ worth of liquid, and then spooning a bit into the measuring cup and pushing it down to displace the liquid until it shows 2 cups total
    • If you don’t have cool whip, using an extra tbsp of sugar and an extra 1/4 tsp of guar gum will achieve a similar effect
  • 1/4 tsp guar gum
    • This is optional but extremely nice to have. The guar gum slightly thickens the frapp so it has a nicer “mouth feel”
  • Blender or Magic Bullet individual blender
    • If you use a Magic Bullet you’ll need to split everything in half and make it in two batches. It’ll still turn out delicious and you can share with a friend! (Or have seconds for yourself!)
Directions
These are perhaps the simplest directions for any recipe I’ve ever made: Stick everything in your blender. Mix until the ice is in tiny chunks. Top with more whipped cream if you like. And enjoy! Just look at how pretty it turns out :-)
Doesn't this just look beautiful? And it tastes even better than it looks!

Inspirational Mini Scrolls and Mini Gift Bags

18 Jul

Have you ever want to do something small but special for someone you love, just because? I got that urge recently and decided to make something special for a very special someone. I wanted them to know just how much I appreciate and love them, so I quickly made a tiny handmade gift bag with two mini scrolls inside with little messages in them.

It looked a lot like this! Because, well, this is it!

I used this tutorial to make the little scrolls, then used this tutorial for the bag.

I decided to make a tutorial because, well, I like making tutorials! So, here we go.

Materials for scrolls

  • Scissors
  • Thread (I used scrap 6-strand thread for this, it turned out perfect)
  • 4 toothpicks (2 per scroll, you could also use a wooden skewer if it’s thin enough)
  • Calligraphy pen
  • Craft glue
  • Nail file or medium- and fine-grit sandpaper
  • Construction paper or unused colored file folders (construction paper worked out best)
  • Template for cutting the construction paper (optional, but I’m terrible at cutting straight so I needed one!)

First, gather all your supplies.

Next, roughly cut a piece of construction paper and write your message as close to the center as possible. For my other scroll I wrote "You are wonderful", any sort of message will work!

Center the text and cut your message using your template. Make sure you leave at least 1" of blank paper on each side of the text.

Take your toothpicks and carefully cut off the pointy ends. Try to cut all of your toothpicks to about the same length, if it's not perfect you can fix them in the next step. Watch out for flying bits when you're cutting!

Using your sandpaper or nail file, smooth out the ends of your toothpicks. To make sure the pairs for each scroll were even I rubbed the ends of both toothpicks together onto the nail file until they were perfect.

Use your craft glue to glue the stick to the paper. Make sure you let the glue dry fully then start very slowly rolling up the sides. I found it easiest to completely roll it from one side until all the paper was sort of creased, then undo it and roll both sides evenly into the center.

Roll up both sides evenly then wrap your thread a few times around your scroll to keep it together, then tie it in a bow to keep it secure. Trim your excess thread so that they're even and your scroll is done!

Materials for a tiny gift bag
  • Scissors
  • Large embroidery needle
  • Decorative paper (or plain construction paper)
  • Double-sided tape
  • Ribbon (or, like me, you can change your mind at the last minute and use twisted embroidery thread when the ribbon doesn’t quite fit nicely through the holes you need to make in the bag)
  • Matchbox or anything else the size you want your bag to fit

First things first: you guessed it, gather your supplies!

Next, cut two pieces of paper. Use the match box as a template, being sure to leave enough room on both sides and the bottom to go just up the sides of the match box. Make the top as long as you want but I suggest at least twice as big as the side of the match box. Try to cut a little straighter than I did :-)

Fold the bottom up along the match box then fold each of the bottom corners down; crease and repeat with the other piece of paper.

Side view of the above step.

Hold both pieces of paper together with the bottoms folded then fold the tops down so that they are an even height (as you can tell, they might not be the same exact length inside but that's ok).

Top view of above step.

Randomly switch tape dispensers! Using your double-sided tape, tape the top of ONE piece of paper down.

Take your other piece of paper, put tape along the top of your previously un-taped piece of paper and fold it down over one side of the other piece, using a small piece of tape to keep both sides of the paper down (both the side on the outside and inside of the bag). Next, fold down the middle, then wrap your still-untaped end onto the corner of your first piece as you did with the other corner so that the top is now complete.

Put double-sided tape on the sides of one piece of paper and fold them up. At this point I found it helpful to slip the match box inside with a length of ribbon wrapped around the bottom so that I could easily pull it out of the tight slot and use it to press against so the tape adhered well.

Fold up the bottom of the "inner" piece of paper (this is where it helps to have the match box inside), then put double-sided tape on it and fold up the other piece so that you have a functioning bottom. Make sure you press firmly against the match box so that it sticks well then carefully remove the match box.

View of the completed bottom.

Take your ribbon or thread and tie a knot in one end. Make sure it's a big enough knot so that it won't pull through the hole your needle makes.

Pierce the needle through one side of the bag (making sure the knot is on the inside, you can measure from the edge if you want it perfect but I just eyeballed it) then thread it back through the other side. Tie a knot in the other end of the ribbon/thread.

Complete the previous step on the other side of the bag.

Stuff your little bag with tissue paper (being lazy and having my tissue paper all the way downstairs I used actual tissue for this!) and one or two scroll messages. You can be done here if you want! Or...

You can add a little embellishment to the front. I just took a cutout from an old birthday card and used double-sided tape to stick it on. Ta-da!

I am so happy with how this turned out, it turned out even better than I had thought it would! This whole thing only took two to three hours for both of the scrolls and the bag. A great, relatively quick craft to show someone you’re thinking of them!

A Sample of my Custom Work

11 Jul

I love doing custom work for people. When one of my friends saw my embroidered rainbow panties she decided she wanted me to do a few custom pieces for her. We talked about what she wanted and worked out a price, and ta-da! She got some custom items that she (hopefully!) loves!

Headband, two pairs of embroidered undies, and a butterfly bookmark

I even wrapped the bunny panties in a cute little carrot bag!

If you have an idea for something custom you’d like me to make, leave a comment and we can discuss the details! If not, I hope you at least enjoy seeing my custom work :-)

Wolf Cross Stitch

4 Jul

I have a friend who really likes wolves, so I decided to make him a special framed cross stitch of his favorite animal!

And, I’ve decided to share the pattern with all of you! I just used all generic colors for this project.

Click for larger image

Enjoy!