Sunday, April 19, 2015

Bleach Shirts

I saw an online tutorial, so I was inspired to try my hand at making Bleach Shirts.  They turned out pretty good.  It's basically just spraying on light layers of bleach and building them up to the shade you want.  You use freezer paper to draw the design on, then an exacto blade to peel off the layers, starting with the lightest first.  All my shirts are my own designs.

Here's my first attempt:

I decided I didn't like the bit he's laying on, so I did this one instead, which is available to buy at my Etsy store.
(the pocket was an accident.  I don't have pockets on the ones I sell).

Here's my second bleach shirt ever:
With this one I learned that you can burn the freezer paper and it's impossible to get off.  I poked holes in the shirt while trying.  Can't decide if I want to sell this one too or not.  It's a little more work, cutting out all those teeth.

This next one is another available to buy in my shop.  Penguin!
Unfortunately, you can see my handprints on this one.  After I made this I made a system to blot the bleach without leaving handprints.

Close up of the penguin:

And finally, I made a dinosaur shirt.  This one I really like, but the delicate lines are so tedious that, again, I'm not sure if I want to sell this one. (Again, you can see the handprints before I figured out how to avoid them).

Close up:

Monday, April 6, 2015

Tea Party

Back in January, I hosted a Ladies' Tea Party.  It was a huge success and a lot of fun.  The only problem is, I forgot to take pictures!  I made a ton of food, including cucumber sandwiches, and I used every tea cup I owned so everyone could have tea (I bought a large variety).  For games, we did a blind tea tasting and played some Mad Libs.

Once I knew I wanted to have a tea party, I got lots of inspiration from Pintrest.

Here are the few pictures I do have:

For invitations, I found a pack of cards at Michael's that were blank inside.  I printed onto them using a few fun fonts, then added some stickers and a couple of stamps.  They ended up nice, but I had to make a few corrections--I got my phone number wrong, I forgot to include the time, and then I realized I'd gotten the year wrong in the date.  Always have someone else proofread for you!  I also wish I'd written, "Hats and pearls are recommended, but not required."  The most often-asked question from my guests was what to wear.

I put a sign on the door so people wouldn't stand outside knocking--I was busy getting everything ready, and didn't have time to keep answering the door.  Preparing all the food that morning took a lot longer than I expected.  And you can't exactly pre-make sandwiches, because they get soggy.

For easy decorating, I got a whole bunch of fake flowers and put them in vases all over the house.  The best time to get them at Dollar General is after they're "out of season"--I got all mine 50-75% off.  Maybe all of them cost $3?  Way cheaper than I even found them at the local thrift shop (though the thrift shop ones may have included a vase with them.  I had plenty of vases, and couldn't get just the flowers).

Used a couple of nice tablecloths I already had that I got as wedding gifts.  It was nice to get them out and show them off.  I never get to use them because my two-year-old destroys everything.

Couple of odds and ends I had that I took out for decorations.

These were the real stars of my decorating.  I folded maybe 70 of these origami butterflies and had them scattered over every surface--tables, counter tops, even tray tables.  They ended up looking very nice.  After the party, someone gathered them all up for me, so I can use them again some time.  It took a long time to fold all those--that's why I start planning a party months in advance.  Whenever I'd put on a movie I'd just take a little stack of paper and fold away.  I think a homemade decoration that takes a little time goes a long way--without costing much.  Or in this case, anything, as I already had the paper.  A note on folding origami: definitely use regular paper.  I used thicker construction paper, and my folds would not hold their shape, I ended up having to use a dot of glue on each of them.

I rearranged my furniture to open up the room a little more.  The whole counter top was lined with my tea cups.  During the party, I had an electric water heater running at all times and another metal teapot on the stove, then I'd pour the hot water into two china teapots for people to use.  This was the first time in the 7 years since I've owned it that I used that electric water heater, but in this case it came in handy.

These teacups belong to a complete china set that my mom gave me when I got married (that I never ever get to use).  Her mother gave it to her on her wedding day, and her mother gave it to her on her wedding day.  So it's from my great-grandmother.

My daughter, my mother-in-law, and her mother-in-law (my husband's grandmother).

My little girl in her little tea party dress.

Everyone had a really good time, so I think I might do a tea party again.  Though I already know what my Autumn Ladies' party will be: Death By Chocolate!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Star Wars Party

Now, this wasn't my party.  I just attended it.  My sister-in-law threw this going-away party for a co-worker.  But she worked her butt off, and it turned out so great I wanted to share the details.

First, here's my sister-in-law.  Great costume, right?  I think she bought some parts for it, and then made the rest.  Not sure which parts though.

Here's a jedi making drinks.

My wookie husband and his brother.  His brother made a lot of his costume out of pvc pipe using a heat gun.

She went all-out with the details, they were great.  A lot of them were store-bought (which is fine, but I just love hand-made things.  There are a couple of clever things that she did that I'll show you).

She had these wanted posters printed out and posted on the inside of the door.  She burned the edges to give it a nice effect.

This was a cool idea.  Two whole walls of her living room are windows, so she covered them with "outer space".... I'm not sure what they were.  Maybe plastic table cloths?  Some kind of vinyl.  It blocked out most of the light, but it shined through where the stars were, looked very cool.  it was hard to get a good picture of it.

This was one of my favorite details.  Not sure if you can see these too well in this picture, but she took star wars pictures and replaced her family pictures with them! Funny and clever, right?  I just loved that.  Going to use that idea for my next party.

Last picture, just for fun:

Monday, March 9, 2015

Han Solo Vest

One of my husband's co-workers is going on to a new career, so we had a going away party for him... a Star Wars themed going away party.

I decided to go as Han Solo.  Just because.  I assembled as much as I could.  Got some pants and a shirt from a thrift store (and ribbon, to glue on the sides of the pant legs) (by the way, it was hard to find a shirt with the right kind of collar.  What I got was a button-down and a bit too small, but it would do).  Bought a blaster and spray-painted it black.  Got a holster.  The only thing I absolutely could not find was a suitable vest.

So I had to make one.  It's significant that I point out here that I've never sewn any clothing in my life.  But, I got some assistance from my mother-in-law, and the vest turned out pretty great.  I actually really love it.

I used an old t-shirt to draw a pattern on, cut it out, and traced the parts in paper.  My mistake was using a somewhat form-fitting shirt to do this with, and the first time the vest was way too small.  So I added an extra inch or two to the side seams, and a good two inches on either side of the vest opening, and yay! I had a vest that fit.  (Sorry the vest is black on black.  Hard to see the details.)

The only detail I didn't put on from Han Solo's vest was a bit on the upper back.  It would've taken more time, and I was kind of burned out by that point--all the adding on and adding on to make the vest fit right.  So I just did the pockets and left it at that.

There's me in my costume (minus the holster).  Not bad for my first vest.  Not really a great picture, but not a bad vest. (In my defense, I just had a baby three months ago.  I'll lose the weight eventually.  Probably.  Maybe.)

Next week I'll show you pictures from the party.  I wasn't the hostess (my sister-in-law was), but it was pretty awesome and I wanted to share.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Memory Book Alternative

I told you in the last post how my husband's grandmother had me make a memory book for each of her grandchildren to hold all their letters, artwork, and pictures from over the years.  But one granddaughter had only sent her two things: a postcard and a small drawing.  Not enough to make a book.  So we had to come up with another idea for her.


We decided to frame them, and I taped pictures of her all around the matte.  Grandma's personal letter is written on the bottom edge of the matte.  And, of course, there are a few stickers.

We used a frame that I already had (bought on clearance) that came with a matte.  I trimmed all the pictures to the right size and used double-sided tape to stick everything on.  This was way easier than making the covers for the memory books!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Memory Books

Recently, my husband's grandmother approached me to ask for help with an interesting project.  Over the years, she'd saved every letter, drawing, and card that her grandchildren had ever given her.  Included in the pile were some first-time whittling sticks and a harmonica.  She told me that when she was a girl, she had written her own grandmother a letter.  Years later, her grandmother had given it back to her, and she'd been so touched that her grandmother had kept it all those years, that she decided she wanted to do the same for her grandchildren.

She had kept all these treasures in file folders over the years, to be given to her grandchildren when she died.  But then she realized that she wasn't sure she wanted to wait that long, and that there had to be something nicer than a plain file folder to put them in.

This is where I came in.  She wanted me to come up with a couple of ideas of how to... return the letters in a nice way.  I came up with a few, from decorative boxes, to scrapbooks, to display boards.  We eventually settled on a more economic option:  a handmade memory book.

Each grandchild would receive a book.  I made all of them using an inexpensive, white one-inch binder and covered them in fabric.  Then we put all the work from that grandchild--and some pictures--into sheet protectors and put them in the book.

Did I mention she has twelve grandchildren?

A few are missing, but here's most of them finished:

 I'll focus on my husband's book to show you how I did it.
The covers were fabric that I already had, his grandmother picked out which ones she wanted to use.  The names are made with fabric markers.  At first I was printing out the names in the size and font I wanted to use, then cutting them out and tracing around them.  But finally we switched to stencils and it was a whole lot faster.

To hide the edges of the fabric, I glued some decorative paper on the inside covers.  (I hot glued the whole cover).  Here is also where I glued the odds and ends, like the whittling sticks (my husband's) and the harmonica and a button.

His grandmother wrote a personalized note to each grandchild, that we included in the beginning of each book as the first page.

We included pictures, and had fun stickers on most of the pages (not many on this one though...)

Artwork and letters that were one-sided we mounted on decorative paper (unless it took up the whole sleeve, then we didn't bother).  I made to sure mount any envelopes used (they included the child's handwriting, and the date sent on the postmark) and any cards I mounted on top of the sheet protector instead of inside, so you could still open it.  Forgot to include a picture of that.  I mounted everything using double-sided tape.

The nice thing about the sheet protectors is that artwork and letters that use both sides of the paper is easy to display.  Also, it's easy to add to the book, because all you have to do is put in another sheet protector.

For my husband we had to make an "Unfold Me" page.  He was the only one we had to do this for, because he sent his grandmother some huge drawings that we couldn't show in the book, except to keep them folded up and in a sheet protector.

Back inside cover.

His grandmother was very happy with how the whole project turned out.  And so am I.

But, there was one grandchild who had only sent two letters to her grandmother.  That's not really enough to make a book from.  Next week I'll show you what we did for her.