Thursday, September 29, 2011

"Ol' Red" Silhouette Shirt

I've had this project in mind for a few weeks now.  I've always loved the song, "Ol' Red" by Blake Shelton and wanted to create a project inspired by it. 

I finally came up with this:


Close-up of "tracking party"

Close-up of "puppy love"

   To make this shirt, I used Simplicity Pattern P2027 (Size A), which I found at Wal-Mart for $0.99.  All of my fabric was pre-washed  and then ironed before doing anything.
I modified the bottom of it by adding a 1 1/2" border of green to simulate grass.  To make the border, I cut a 4 x 20" strip (The size I made the pattern in was a size 2, so adjust the length and width of your strip accordingly... it should be the same length as the bottom of the pattern piece, though).  I folded this strip in half and pressed it.  Then, I folded each long raw edge down 1/2" towards the wrong side and pressed again... like a huge piece of bias tape.  Once your pattern pieces are all cut and before you sew anything, first sew the border onto the bottom of the main front and back pieces, right sides together, down the 1/2" crease you had pressed.  Then, just treat the piece as if it were a whole piece of the original main part and continue with the pattern.
     Follow the pattern and finish the main part of the shirt.  Then, you'll start embellishing.

Shirt ready to be embellished.

     To get the silhouettes, I did a lot of image Googling.  The extent of my drawing ability is limited to stick people, so if the person wasn't in the right position, I didn't even attempt to alter it.  I searched high and low for law enforcement photos, running people, etc.  Some were pictures of actual people, others were free vector images.  Once I found the images I wanted, I scaled them to size and printed them off.  It may take a few tries.  You should see the number of "wardens" that I had to print.  It was ridiculous.  Also, the only law enforcement guy I found in the "holding the leash" position was insanely large so I had to give him an Xacto tummy tuck or you wouldn't have seen his hand.

    Once you've got your silhouette images, cut them out using a Fiskars swivel knife.  For some reason, the PX didn't have a regular Xacto knife, but this is like a miniature version and it worked okay on the paper.  I cut out the silhouettes, making slight modifications as needed.
Paper silhouettes

Now it was time for the Steam-a-Seam (S.A.S.).  I used the sticky-back stuff to keep the fabric in place while I cut it.
I cut a strip of the S.A.S., then pulled off the paper, leaving the sticky side up on the ironing board.  Very carefully, I placed the black fabric on top and smoothed it out.  Then, one by one, I pinned the silhouettes to the fabric and cut them out.  I tried using the Fiskars knife on the fabric, but it just pulled it and made it all crazy.  Instead, I had to use my small fabric scissors to cut them out very carefully.  In the end, I had my silhouettes all cut out.  One of each, except for the standing dog, which I cut two of... one a mirror image.  (Just flip the paper silhouette over.)

    Then, I used more S.A.S. and put a scrap of green fabric on, the same way that I did with the black fabric.  I freehand cut some grass and set those aside as well.

    Now comes the fun part.  Laying it all out on your shirt and moving the pieces around.  Find positions that you like and then seal it in place by ironing it.  Read the back of your S.A.S for specific instructions.  I pressed the front about 15 seconds, let it cool a tad, and then pressed through the back.  Those suckers are STUCK.

     Once you've got your silhouettes in place, you can add buttons and do your hand embroidery.  I hand embroidered the collar and leash (adding a metal bead on each of "Ol' Red's" collars to look like a tag), and the bow collar on the female dog.  Buttons were hand sewn and the rose on the front of the shirt was attached.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Felt Baby Rattle Ball and Owl Faux-chenille Blanket

Needed a project to keep my hands busy while my kids had a Harry Potter marathon, so I decided to follow a tutorial that I had seen on Pinterest for a felt baby ball from Wee Folk Art.  It was super easy to do.  The longest part was doing the hand-stitching embellishment.
I wanted the ball to be okay for a boy or a girl, so rather than the flowers, I just changed the pattern (not much at all) to just have circles and stuffed it with a rattle. 

     This was originally going to be for our baby, however, I ended up miscarrying this past Friday so I'm going to keep it on hand for when another baby gift is needed.  That's the great thing about being in a military town, always an excuse to whip up something baby related.  We are doing okay after the miscarriage.  Health-wise, things are going as they should.  We have also received a lot of support and well-wishes.  Perhaps we'll try again in a few months, but we'll see.

     I also went ahead and tried my hand at another faux chenille blanket.  Thankfully, this one did not bleed one little bit.  Yippeeee!  Now I've got two baby gifts stockpiled.  I'm loving this owl fabric.  There's something about owls and matryoshkas that just works for me.  I love anything and everything owl, matryoshka, or vintage.  I'm easy to please.

The fabric is by Robert Kaufman.  The blanket needs a few more washes before it fully fluffs up... but I'm happy with the result, thusfar. 
    A link for making a faux-chenille blanket can be found at Made.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Scarlett's "Fancy Pants"

I've been eyeballing the Lucia Bella Pantaloon pattern from Snazzie Drawers for what seems like forever.  I've had it on my Pinterest and finally decided to get out of my sewing rut.  (More on that later.)  Sat down today and got crackin'.

Scarlett's "Fancy Pants"-
And the back-

     I added the pockets because, well honestly, I think I just wanted to put more bows somewhere.  Starting to make stuff for her fall wardrobe.  No more shorts or skirts, falls a-comin'.

    So I view this as a success after my latest sewing rut.  It started off with a faux chenille blanket that I was making for the new baby of one of my husband's soldiers.  I worked forever on this thing.  Ordered a chenille cutter, ran out to get bias for the binding about half and hour before Joann's closed, you-name-it.  It seemed doomed from the start.  I didn't pay close enough attention and ended up sewing the rows 1/4" apart instead of 1/2", making it twice as difficult. 

    Anyway, so I finally get this thing finished, wash it, dry it... it's not fluffy enough, so I wash it again.  I'm used to washing my kids' stuff on "sanitize" and accidentally set it to that setting.  Well, go figure, if you wash red on super hot, it's going to bleed.  And bleed it did.  All of the white parts of the robots turned a muddy red... the yellow bias binding was ruined.  It was BAD.

    I tried washing in OxyClean, no luck.  Soaked it in Clorox 2 Colorsafe bleach, no luck.  Soaked in OxyClean overnight, nope.  Finally, I put in Rit color brightener (powder you can find in the laundry section), there was an improvement, but still nothing fabulous.  I brought out the big guns.  Rit color remover.  I figured that it didn't matter at this point and I was more curious than anything.  Put it in and... POOF!  It was ALMOST back to normal.  Now, it had been washed and abused so much that it just looked "used".  So I gave it to Kai, and he loves it.

After the final washing.

   After the faux chenille blanket debaucle, I decided to make a coat that I've been planning for awhile.  It was Simplicity Pattern 3654. 
I wanted to do the outside in a nice, light pink corduroy, lined with fusible fleece, and a a paper-doll print fabric for the visible inner liner.  I cut everything out and started to sew, only to have it look completely funky.  Then I realized that there was a large portion of the front section of the coat missing.  I tried drafting another piece for the front part of the coat, cut it out with new sleeve fronts and sewed it.  Still wasn't right.

     After I did that though, I found the missing portion of the original front piece (it was unlabeled and I figured it was mistakenly put in there from another pattern as I had bought it used).  I recut the front portion of the coat and the sleeves (I hate ripping out seams, and I had enough that I just figured I'd rather cut more) for the THIRD time, and sewed it together again.  It STILL wasn't lining up.  I couldn't figure it out, until I looked closely at the sleeve part and saw that it was missing a good 2" of the pattern off the top.  At this point, I had wasted 3 yards of fabric, hours of my time, and I was stressed to the max.

     I had to sew something, ANYTHING, that would work.  So that's what motivated me to tackle a project I've been thinking of for awhile...

the "fancy pants".  :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award. Yippee!

Awards rock.  I was having a pretty off day (will show you why tomorrow... get ready for a sewing catastrophe), but was pleasantly surprised and excited to see that Spicy Pinecone had been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award.  Yay!!!

There are some Rules with this Award:
Rule 1: Thank the person who gave you the award. :) Plus Link back to them in your post.

A huge thank you to Karen at Little Red House Designs for including me in your list for the Versatile Blogger Award.  Her blog is definitely worth checking out!  It's got a little bit of everything and I've officially fallen in love with her place settings.  :)

Rule 2: Share 7 things about yourself... 

1.  28 year-old mother of three crazy kids.  #4 is on it's way and should make their debut in May.  
2.  I used to be in the Army and was a Chinese linguist.  I can speak Mandarin.   
3.  I am often accused by my husband of having undiagnosed OCD.  Perhaps a wee bit of a perfectionist.  
4.  No joke, I was actually attacked by an organ grinder's monkey.  It bit me (it's teeth were removed so it was really more of a "gumming"), and now I find monkeys creepy.  
5.  I find clowns creepy too.
6.  I would gladly eat enchiladas every night for the rest of my life.
7.  I have two cats named "Booger" and "Snot".

Rule 3: Pass the award on to 15 blogs (that were recently discovered - and contact them to let them know)
Okay, Hmmm... not sure if these are considered "recently discovered", but they are new to me.  Might post a few repeats, but a lot of these ladies are in my sewing group and I love them.  :)
7. Made
15. Heidi's Nest
Be sure to check out all these blogs!!  They are just like all of us and deserve the award too!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

DIY Custom Blog Background

So today I was puttering around on the Picnik photo editing website after seeing a tutorial posted on Pinterest for making your own printables for cupcake toppers, etc.  The tutorial that was pinned was from "Homemade by Jill" and can be found on her blog here.  While playing around on the website, though, I kind of decided to go my own way just a tad bit.  First, I made a banner, and while it looked good... it didn't seem complete without a background.

I am one of those people who will NOT pay for web design.  I don't care how long it takes, I will figure it out on my own.  The only downside is that I'm a bit... err.. technologically challenged.  Simple is key, and making this background image is as simple as you can get.

Step 1-  Just like in the tutorial on "Homemade by Jill", you want to start with a blank .jpg image.  Open up Microsoft paint and it should immediately have a blank image.  I saved that to my desktop as "blank.jpg".  Next, upload it to

Saving a blank picture in Microsoft Paint.  Upload to

Step 2- After uploading to, click on the "Stickers" tab.  In the left-hand column, you will see a bunch of options.  Scan through and pick what you would like your background image to be.  Some of the options reguire a Premium membership, but I was able to do my entire blog using freebies.  Once you've chosen the design you like, click it once. 
Step 3- I moved my sticker image up and to the left a bit, just to center it.  (Felt better that way, but doesn't matter, you'll be cropping it later.)  When your sticker image is selected, a toolbar titled "Sticker Properties" pops up and it looks like this.

Use your mouse to click on the dot in the color scale and to slide it around.  Your sticker image will change color.  Drag it around until you find a color that you like.  I'm going to use purple this time.

Step 4-  Now, we're going to fade the image.  Background images shouldn't be super-bold or they take away from the rest of your website.  They should be seen, but not OBSCENE.  (Bad, I know.  I thought it was funny.)

     To fade the image, look right below the color scale in the sticker properties toolbox.  You'll see a sliding tab under "Fade".  Use your mouse to slide it back and forth until you think it "feels" right and looks good.  In my case, I went with 70% fade on this one because I wanted it soft (though the one on my website is 50%), it just depends on the color and how bold you are trying to make it.

Step 5- Now, right click the image and a menu will pop up. 

   Scroll down to "Duplicate Shape" and click.
  Now you have two images that are exactly the same.  Place your second image where you want it to be and use your mouse to choose another color in the color scale.  Fade should still be uniform and set to 70% because of the duplicated image, however, if you want to adjust it, feel free.  For my second image, I chose blue.
Step 6-  If you want to add one more image of another color, repeat Step 5.
Step 7- Now, look at the tabs on the top of the page and select "Basic Edits" and click on "Crop" in the left-hand column.
Slide the crop box around your image until it fits the way you want it to.  I wanted mine to have an unbroken, continuous look, so I cropped it super close.  If you'd like a border, but sure to leave a little bit of space around the edge of your image. 

Click "Apply" (left-hand column) and your image is cropped.

Step 8- In the tabs section, click "Save & Share" and save the image to your desktop.  (Pick a name that's easy to remember or you'll have to wade through to find it.)

Now you have a background image to put on your blog!  The next few steps will tell you how to add it to a "" blog.  That's what I have and that's what I know.  Anything else and you might have to look it up.

Adding it to Blogger-

Step 1- Sign into your Blogger account.  You should be taken to your Dashboard.  On your Dashboard, click on "Design".  Under "Design", click "Template Designer".

Step 2-  When your Template Designer shows up, click on "Background" in the left-hand column.  Then click on the white "background" image.

Step 3- A menu will pop up.  Select "Upload Image" and upload the image that you created.  (I stayed with my original background in this one instead of using the tutorial one.  Was too lazy to change it.)  :)

  Select "Done" and you're good to go!

Tweaking the blog

Hi, guys!  I found a new photo editing website and got a bit carried away.  Decided to give the blog a facelift.  There are going to be a few changes in the near future, but the content is the same.

Also found out last weekend that we are expecting #4!  Should give me a fantastic excuse for really cranking out the baby goodies now.

Currently working on several projects, including a faux chenille blanket and a Mexican Wrestling costume for my son, Kai.  (He saw the cover of "Nacho Libre" and thought he was the coolest "superhero" ever.)  Also going to be making costumes for Scarlett and Cameron.  Going to be busy, busy!