Monday, December 31, 2012

December Sewing Challenge

Happy New Year (a day early).  I don't know where you are, but it's snowing again where I am.  I'm not too happy about that, either.

We had originally planned to create a spoonflower fabric and make something from it for our December challenge.  Since creating a fabric design is a big enough challenge all by itself, we decided to postpone that for a couple of months.  But stay tuned for it.  We are scheduled to do that challenge in February.

So, we needed a new challenge for December.  This is when we decided to reinvent an article of clothing.  We each knew immediately what we wanted to create.

The rules were simple.  Find an article of clothing you didn't mind never wearing again (if you ever wore it in the first place).  Then make something out of it.  It didn't have to be something to wear, but reinvent the piece of clothing.  We both chose a clothing item that wasn't ours and that neither of us had ever worn.

Funny thing.  We both made pillows, but out of totally different garments.  One of us made a pillow out of an old sweater.  The second one made several pillows out of our mom's old faux fur coat.

Before photos:

Vintage Wool Sweater

Our Mom's Faux Fur Coat
The first entry is a pillow made from a felted sweater.  This person went to a vintage clothing store and bought 4 old sweaters.  She wanted to felt the wool sweaters, so she washed them in hot water several times.  During this process, her dryer went on the fritz and she couldn't finish the job.  A couple weeks later, with a working dryer, she was able to wash and dry the sweaters again.  This felted the wool.

If you've never felted wool, it isn't really difficult.  Just know that the article must be 100% wool.  None of that polyester fake stuff will do.  And it will shrink.  The more you wash and dry the garment, the smaller and smaller it will get.

The first sweater she planned to used was so thick after felting it that she couldn't sew it.  It was too thick to fit in her sewing machine.

Sweater After It's Makeover:

The second entry was faux fur pillows.   Many years ago, our mom bought a faux fur coat.  I never knew she wanted one, but somehow, she ended up with it.  And she loved the thing.  When she finally quit wearing it, it hung in her closet for many years.  About 3 years ago, we moved our parents to an assisted-living apartment.  When we were cleaning out their house, we discovered the coat.  It smelled.  No one wanted it, but our older sister took it to her house.

3 years ago, we celebrated a milestone birthday (the number will go unmentioned).  Our husbands each had a surprise birthday party for us.  One party was in November, and the other was in December.  Our birthday is Christmas Day.

At the second birthday party, our older sister took twin #2 a surprise birthday present.  The fur coat.  She was so excited when she opened it.  Check out her response here.  Doesn't she look happy and excited?!  It still smelled bad.

A month later, twin #1 was visiting twin #2.  When twin #1 was packing up to go home, twin #2 and her husband kindly offered to help load her car.  After they had left for church, twin #1 got in her car and spotted smelled an unfamiliar box.  When she opened it, guess what she found. The fur coat.  and the smell.  Thanks.

The fur coat and the smell have been sitting in her garage for 3 years now.  Guess what!  The coat was made in the USA.

Cutting up and ruining an old fur coat is a scary thing.  Even if it is faux fur.  But first, let me get to the smell.  If we had planned this challenge earlier, there would have been plenty of time to air it out with the windows open.  But since it was early December when we made that decision, it was to cold to open the windows.  The tag on the coat indicated that cleaning should be done by a furrier.  The cost was going to be $75.  So the smell remained.  Even with 2 or 3 coats of febreeze, there was still a stench.  And faux fur flies and lands everywhere in your house.  Keep that in mind if you ever want to cut up your fur coat.

There are 7 kids in our family.  So, the plan was to make a fur pillow for each of them.  Hehe.  I wasn't sure if there would be enough coat for 7 pillows, but yes there was.  Here's how it broke down:

2 arms (with the elastic still in the cuffs) -- 2 pillows
2 front pieces (with pockets included) -- 2 pillows
1 big back -- 3 pillows

The 2 front pieces made really cool pillows.  Muffs, really.  Each side had a pocket, and I made sure the pockets were accessible in front.  Just like a muff.  a one-armed smelly muff.  I didn't use the collar, because it would have involved too much work removing all the thread.

These pillows were given out at our Christmas celebration the Saturday before Christmas.  Everyone was just delighted to get their pillow.  Our brother, Jeff, was unable to be with us that day.  But he called me a few days ago to thank me for his pillow.  His wife washed it in cold water on the gentle cycle (in a mesh bag), and then air dried it.  He said it came out fine with no matting.  Another hint if you ever want to was faux fur.  I would suggest not to wash the entire coat at one time.  Cut it up in manageable pieces first.  I haven't been brave enough to wash mine yet.

So, now that you know our story, you can vote on your favorite recycled garment.

We've revised our sewing challenge plans for 2013.  You will see the new ideas on the right.  We'll try to stick to them this year, but sometimes we just have to change our plans.  You know how life goes.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

First Sale of the Show Contest

A couple of weeks ago, we sold our goods at the Chris Cringle Craft Show in Champaign, IL.  If you've ever been brave enough to sell anything at a craft show, you know that at times it feels like you're not selling very much.  When the show starts, it usually takes awhile to get your first sale.  People are slow coming in, and they want to look around before they start buying.

Here are a couple of pictures of our booth.  We tried to make it colorful and fun.

Basket of Coin Purses

h. Camille Booth

This is our third year to have a booth at the craft show.  We have noticed that some people come back every year and buy from us.  There are a couple of regulars who come back every year.  Let me tell you about one of them.  I don't remember her name.  The first year, she came alone.  She looked at our products when she first came in, but she didn't buy anything.  She came back a little later and bought a wristlet.  I'm not sure why, but I remembered her face.  Last year, she was our first customer.  And she brought 2 other women with her.  They all made a purchase from us.  They seemed to like fabric with animals.

Guess what!  They were our first customers again this year.  And they all 3 bought something.  One of them purchased this very cute dog coin purse.

One of the other ladies (the one who has bought from us for all 3 years) picked out a cool blue elephant tote.  Her sister saw her holding it and wanted it.  Big sister wouldn't budge.  She saw it first, but younger sister said "but it's blue and has an 'F' on it."  Big sister still wouldn't budge.  So, I stepped in and saved the day.  I said to little sister, "I can make you another one just like it."  She had to think about it for a minute, but then said "Ok,  if you can make one exactly like it, I'll take it."

I rushed home that night and ordered some more blue elephant fabric.  It really is fun Japanese fabric.  It arrived in the mail 3 days later and I made a second blue elephant tote.  It should be in her hands at this very moment.

This month, we're asking you to vote on the first item we each sold at the craft show.  We've learned that people always want animals on their totes or coin purses or wristlets.  Who knew!?  Which would you prefer?  Red dogs?  Blue elephants?

Vote now.  Remember, as always, we don't know who votes or who you vote for.  Just vote!!

Oh, one more thing.  The second person who has purchased from us came to our booth this year.  She picked up something to buy and wanted to use her credit card.  We accept credit cards using our Square on an ipad.  We had really bad wifi reception and had trouble staying connected.  When we tried to get the sale to go through with her credit card, it just didn't work.  We tried several times and then she asked us to hold the item and she would be back for it.  She never came back.  Boo hoo!!  We lost a sale.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pillow Challenge

If you look at our planned monthly sewing challenges, you'll notice that we change them.  Often.  We were supposed to do a rickrack challenge this month, but we're busy working on inventory for a craft show.  So...we decided to change our challenge to pillows.  We're both making some pillows for the show.  And who doesn't love a good pillow.

You can see that the pillows are both really cool, but really different.  We're the same.  Even though we're twins, we're different but very cool.  Both of us.  And so are the pillows.

Mitered Square Pillow

Christmas Pillow
These pillows will be for sale this Friday and Saturday, 11/1 -11/2 at the Chris Cringle Craft Show in Champaign, IL.  If you're in the area, stop by our booth and check out our merchandise.  You might need to pick up a pillow or two.  Or some other really cool item.

We're only a week away from election day.  Maybe you've already voted, and if you haven't, be sure to do so.  It's your right and privilege and duty.  Also, remember to vote for your favorite pillow.  They're both pretty cool, if you ask me.  And I only made one of them.

Remember, your vote is confidential.  We don't know who votes.  So, just vote!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Forgotten Sewing Challenge

Earlier this summer, we decided to enter the Quiltcon Block Challenge.  The idea was to make a modern quilt block using fabric with colors from the Quiltcon logo.  We each selected the fabrics to use in our quilt blocks and set out to make them.  One of us used solids and the other used prints.  We never show each other our sewing challenge entries until we're ready to post them on the blog.  We don't even tell each other what we're making.  We have a terrible fear that one day we'll end up making the same thing.  Twins do think alike, you know.

There's good news and bad news about this sewing challenge.  One of us mailed in our quilt block and shock of all shocks, it was selected to be included on the back of the quilt.  The other one of us forgot to mail in our quilt block.  We had planned to use the quilt blocks and one of our monthly sewing challenges and have voting.  I think it was supposed to happen in July, but somehow it never happened.  One of us started a new job that month, and the other one moved her beloved son to NYC.  We were a little preoccupied.

Since we know what the outcome was of this challenge, we don't have to hide the anonymity of which twin made which block.

I (Jan) decided to use solids for my quilt block, and I sketched out 3 designs that I thought would be really cool with the colors.  I made the first block, but it didn't meet the size requirements for the challenge.  This was an official sewing challenge with official rules.  and official winners.  Making adjustments to my first block would ruin the look I was going for.  Let me just say this...I'm not an accomplished quilt block maker.  This was my first attempt at making a real quilt block.  The first block I made looked really cool, or so I thought, but it just wasn't going to work for the challenge.  So I started on my second block using one of my other patterns.  It turned out really cool.  Here's a picture of it to prove that I really did make it.

Jan's quilt block entry that is now sewn up in the back of the Quiltcon quilt. Check it out.

The forgotten quilt block is pretty cool.  When Joy first showed it to me, I was a little jealous.  I wished I had used prints instead of solids.  And I wished I had made a cooler looking block than what I had made.  But, I guess my choices paid off in the end.  Yay!

Joy's forgotten quilt block.  Isn't it cool?!
Since we aren't competing against each other, we'll go ahead and have a second poll this month.  We'll see whose quilt block would have made it into the quilt if our voters would have been choosing their favorite quilt block.  Go ahead and vote.  We don't know who votes, and we don't care if you know who made the quilt blocks.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Christmas Sewing Challenge

I realized this morning that 3 months from today is Christmas.  Yes, can you believe it!? honor of that, our sewing challenge this month is Christmas.  Our challenge was to make a Christmas item.

The first item is a cool modern stocking.

The second item is a modern interpretation of the Christmas tree. 

 We will be involved in some craft shows this fall.  Here is our schedule:

Oct. 27 -- HCO Craft Show (Delaware, OH) -- Jan*
Nov. 2-3 -- Chris Cringle (Champaign, IL) -- Jan & Joy
Early December -- Open House at Joy's -- Joy

*Awaiting confirmation

If you're planning to attend any of these craft shows, you'll see these or similar cool items for sale.

Remember to vote for your favorite Christmas item.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ironing Board Covers

When we were kids, our mom used to make her own ironing board covers.  She didn't sew, so here's how she did it.  She put old towels on the ironing board as a pad.  Then she put an old sheet on top and pinned it underneath to make it fit.  It worked for her.  But we decided to do something a little more modern.

We both needed a new ironing board cover, so we decided to make them.  When it's time for a new ironing board cover, you can find tacky ones.  But it's always nice to create one out of your favorite fabric.  So that's what we've done for this month's contest.

At first, we thought we would have to just wing it and make our own pattern.  But we both found patterns on sale.  Who knew they made patterns for such things!  The ironing board cover was very easy to make.  Just sew on bias tape and put in elastic.  Yup! That easy.  Unless the small safety pin opens up in the middle of trying to add the elastic.  Don't ask me how many times that happened.

Just a reminder...we don't tell which one of us made which entry.  That way, you're not voting for your favorite person.  And don't look at the background to see if you can recognize whose house it is.  You're voting for your favorite entry.

Here's the first entry.  Do you like trees?  This fabric is called Majestic Oak in Sunglow by Joel Dewberry.

Here's the second entry.  Masculine crosses.  This fabric is called Trade Blanket in Steel by Parson Gray.

If you need a new ironing board cover (and you sew), buy a couple yards of beautiful fabric and get busy.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Lap Quilt vs. Snuggie

I'll be attending a wedding next month, and I decided to make a lap quilt for the bride and groom (who will remain nameless).  If you know who they are, don't tell them what they're getting.  I really have a strong dislike for snuggies.  They're just ugly.  There...I said it.  I feel so much better. So I'm doing my part to stop slow down the sale of such ugliness.  I guess it's ok to do that, since I saw the QVC lady on Shark Tank last week.  She said snuggies are out.  And she should know.  She helped the creators sell millions of ugliness all over America.  I'm sure they're all really wealthy now.  Thanks to all of you.  I never bought one.

My niece got married last summer, so I made my first ever lap quilt for her.  It had a ROYGBIV theme with a muted back. 

Quilt Top

Quilt Back

I decided to make one for the nephew this summer, since I survived the quilt making party last year.  And I love the crosses on this quilt.    It is just so cool.  I wonder if they would notice if I kept it for myself.

Quilt Top

Quilt Back

I almost think quilt making could become addictive.  Then I remind myself how tough it is to sew something that big in my not so big sewing machine.  But I already have fabric picked out for my next lap quilt.

I've been busy sewing up other creations the past few weeks.  Somehow, I just don't find the time to sit down and blog about it.  But here are pics of what I've been working on lately. Christmas stockings in June.  Can you believe it?!  And more reversible totes.

Christmas Stockings

We'll be back with our next sewing challenge in the near future.  Stay tuned for it!!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Elastic Project

If you love pink, you're going to love our entries for this month's elastic project.  We don't tell each other what we're making until we send each other our photos.  Lo and behold, we both made pink girly items.

We didn't make the same thing, although that's one of our fears.  But...we each made something for a little girl.  A ruffled skirt with elastic waist for a 5 year old girl.  She'll be pretty in pink.  And then we have a floral headband for a baby girl.  Great minds almost think alike.

Pretty in pink skirt.  Love it!  Would it look good on someone my age??? We'll never know.

After I made this cute little headband, I wanted to try it on.  But it just wouldn't fit.  I guess you can call me bigheaded.

Since this is an elastic contest, I wanted to make sure you could see the elastic up close.  And not just the ruffles.  After all, last month was the ruffle contest.  And these are pre-made ruffles.

You will be able to see our June contest photos very soon.  We have entered the Umbrella Prints contest (it's a real contest, not a made up one like ours is).  And there are actual prizes.  You'll be able to vote for your favorites in the real contest in June.  You'll have to have a Pinterest account, so if you don't have one sign up now.  You can't vote unless you're on Pinterest.  And once you're on it, you'll be addicted for life.  Trust me.

For this cute little flower headband, I found the pattern in an apron pattern that I want to make.  The flower could go on the apron, but I thought it would look very pretty sitting on the head of a little baby girl.  Not my baby girl.  But someone else's.  

Be sure to vote for your favorite elastic project.  Don't worry.  Neither of us tried on these items.  They're only safe for small children.

I just want to remind you that the voting is anonymous.  We can't see who you vote for, so just vote!  Don't be shy!!!

And once again, we're not telling you which one of us made which item.  You just choose the one you like the best.  But I bet it will be pink.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Baby Gifts

I'm getting my hair cut tonight.  The girl who cuts my hair is expecting identical twin girls in July.  I'm taking her baby gift to her tonight, just in case those girls decide to come early.  Way early.  I know their mom is afraid that's going to happen.  She already has 2 girls, ages 10 and 12.  And now she's having 2 more.  I'm sure her husband is going to love all that estrogen in the house.  He needs a man cave, for sure.

I found this cute owl pattern and just had to make a couple for the girls.  For some reason, owls seem to be a hit with people.  I've never figured out why, but my motto today is "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em".  So I made owls.

And I made owls.  Christmas is less than 8 months away, so I've started working on my inventory for the Chris Cringle show that we're in in November.  It's never too early to start preparing for that.  So I made a few extra owls to take along with me.

We're busy working on our elastic project for our May sewing challenge.  I think mine is going to be really cute, if I can figure out how to make it.  I don't know why I pick things to make and then have to create my own pattern.  Why do I do that to myself?

The pics of our elastic challenge will be posted in a couple more weeks.  Stay tuned for more of our sewing endeavors.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ruffle Challenge

Ruffle Diaper Cover

Ruffle Scarf

Hi!  We're back.  I bet you thought we were never going to post our latest challenge.  Well, in Jan's last post, she mentioned the Umbrella contest that we are entering.  It's an official contest that we've both entered and our entries are fabulous.  There will be 2 winners, and we both should win. can't see our entries just yet.  We'll show them to you at a later date.

We decided to change up our contest.  This month we did the ruffle challenge.  Aren't ruffles just the most fun thing you've ever seen?  Well, take a look at what we made.  And then you can vote on your favorite.

This month, we aren't going to tell you who made which item.  You just vote on your favorite.  That's all there is to it.

I had to make a test ruffle scarf just to see how it would work.  So, here are pictures of both scarves.

Vote for your fave!  We'll see who wins this month's contest.  Next month, we'll work with elastic.  And then in June, we'll have you vote for our umbrella contest entries.  No, we're not making umbrellas.  Umbrella Prints is having a "real" contest with "real" prizes, and we've entered that contest.

That's all.