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2011 Crafty Inspiration January 9, 2011

Filed under: crafty,Uncategorized — ravennagirls @ 1:44 pm
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One of our goals for 2011 is to make even more of the gifts we give. We can’t help loving to give gifts, so we’ll focus on creating even more of these ourselves. These are the books that I received for the holidays that we will have on-hand to help with crafty inspiration.

Sew and Stow by Betty Oppenheimer

I will probably make myself a few things from this book at the start of the year to get ORGANIZED (another 2011 goal) to create the rest.

The Knitters Year by Debbie Bliss

Simple and modern quick projects, and lots of them (52 projects, one for each week).

One-yard Wonders by Rebecca Yaker

Again, lots of projects for lots of inspiration (101 in total), and a great source of inspiration for fabric leftovers.

Felt Furnishings by Anne Kyyro Quinn

This one has been in our house for 2010, but I want to keep it further toward the front of the stack because it has some simple and modern projects that I really love.

Update: HOW could I forget this one?

Wild and Wonderful Fleece Animals by Linda Carr.

All the kiddos around me are going to be receiving ZOOs full of these adorable fleece creatures.


Also, I received a couple small books that will serve the utilitarian purpose of solving my novice-sewer problems:

The Sewing Answer Book by Barbara Weiland Talbert

A comprehensive little bible, looks like it should provide answers in a pinch.

Directory of Quilting Techniques by Caroline Rodriques

I’ve had this and this on my radar for awhile, and in 2011 I may try my hand at some simple manageable quilts (crazy!), and this book should be a good primer.

Looks like it’ll be another busy crafting year. What books are inspiring you for 2011?


Danger November 24, 2010

Filed under: crafty,design,diy — ravennagirls @ 11:36 pm
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Today I discovered a wonderful but very, very dangerous blog.

Its called Prudent Baby and it contains a ton of free craft tutorials, most all of which are VERY cute. You can sort by type of craft, and so far I’ve really only been through sewing and my holiday to-do list is overflowing (especially for those bambinas on the block!).

Some of my faves (don’t worry, I’m not giving anything away!):

Girls' Capelet

Embroidered Clock

Watercolor silhouettes

Sleep Shorts

Bow headband

Check it out, you won’t be disappointed. If anything, you’ll be like me and add a trillion new fun gift ideas to your list.

(psst: for those of you with infants, she has a whole section on things to do with leftover baby food jars)


Birthday Time October 19, 2010

Filed under: celebrations,friends and family — ravennagirls @ 1:12 pm
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You might remember our previous post about little Madeleine. Well, we are happy to report that her recovery is going SO well, she’s regaining more and more leg movement everyday, and most importantly, TODAY is her FIRST BIRTHDAY!!! While I can’t believe a year has gone by so fast, its awesome to get a chance to celebrate this brave little girl who has impacted our lives so much.

Last week, her grandma was in town, so Mom and Dad organized a small birthday party for Madeleine. It was great fun, a chance to do the first cake smash (M loved the smashing but NOT the taste of frosting!), give some gifts, and see her happy and wiggly all over the place.

{here she is mid cake smash..}

{meet M exactly one year ago, here…}

Baby girl is going to be a great fashionista some day because she got all kinds of crazy cute outfits for year 2. We gave her a fun knitted baby beret that we picked up at a Team EtsyRain event, a new dinner plate with fun french words on it (perfect for a baby named Madeleine), and took our hand at a new sewing endeavor: CLOTHES!

Well, lucky for us, baby rompers have pretty simple construction. We followed this free pattern called Vivienne from BurdaStyle and i think it came out pretty well. We used an Amy Butler pattern for the top, a Lightweight gray wool for the body (we are entering fall and winter here, folks!) and a vintage floral pattern for the lining. Finished it off with some coordinating rosettes, and some snaps on the shoulders.All in all, it took the two of us a day to make and it was so fun and rewarding. The best part of the pattern is that its simple but you can customize it many ways, so look for more jumpers coming soon to babies near you!

We picked up some tights in a soft yellow color, so baby will be strutting her stuff any day now!

In other cuteness, one of M’s favorite toys is a sock monkey from Grandpa Steve, so for her birthday he bought her a GIANT sock monkey. The look on her face was priceless, she knows this toy, but didn’t remember it being so huge when she left home this morning!!

Happy very first birthday darling!


Bunnies! September 21, 2010

Filed under: crafty — ravennagirls @ 7:54 pm
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While B has been all over her new sewing machine lately (evidence here, here, here…), I have been working on other crafty-ness.  I admit, I wasn’t really that interested in the sewing machine.  I like pinning her fabrics sometimes, but I have not been behind a sewing machine since middle school home economics.  Even then, we made ridiculously terrible stuff out of even-worse fabrics.   One time we made a fabric “necklace”…It was really a tube of fabric that we filled with marbles.  The terrible thing must have weighed a ton.  Or at least enough to cause neck spasms for the person wearing it.  Worse then the weight, though, might have been the fact that every fabric to pick from was not only pink and floral…but shiny metallic as well.

So, yeah, I like hand stitching.  In fabrics without sheen.


But then one day I was perusing The Martha Encyclopedia of Fabric Arts.  There were so many cute stuffed animal patterns!  One was so darling… a little bunny!

(you can download the pattern from Martha here…)

Being a sucker for bunnies, and having August be the month-o-babies around here… I sprung into action.  B and I dug through some fabrics we had in the craft room. 

And then we sat and made some bunnies!

We traced and cut all the pieces.  B has this very fun invisible ink pen, which I enjoyed. 


Then we began sewing.  B showed me all kinds of cool buttons on her machine.  For the parts I sewed, I even got to unplug the pedal and use this on/off stitch button to do the sewing.  B, for the record, prefers the pedal.


The hardest part of sewing this project was attaching the ears.  You had to fold them into the head and then stitch the ears and the head together at the same time.  The ears were pretty large …and we had used thick fleece-y fabric for one side of them, making it a lot of fabric to have in the right place.


We used the machine to sew everything but the face of the bunny and attach the arms.  We stuffed the bunnies and sewed on the arms by hand.  Actually. B did that part.  I tried to do it, but it was taking me forever and it was hard to really get the stitches to be invisible on the outside.  B to the rescue!

The cute little eyes and nose are hand-embroidered as the last step.

We gave them to a few babies recently… but really I want one.  : )


oH, and then you watch the babies play with them when you go over to take pictures of them.



Bring a Bottle August 29, 2010

Filed under: celebrations,crafty,diy — ravennagirls @ 4:48 pm
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Since I bought a sewing machine this year and have taken up some basic sewing projects, its been great for me that Design*Sponge has been featuring some simple sewing tutorials this spring and summer. One of the projects I spotted over there right before Mothers Day was great, because it gave me the opportunity to make some simple little gifts for the wonderful women in my life.

I also made a few wraps for a Bridal Shower I attended in June. It was a holiday themed shower, and I drew New Years Eve, so i made a couple of festive wraps for Champagne bottles that the couple can use on New Years and other holidays special to them. For this one, I attached a strip of velcro (fuzzy) side, and made some fabric numbers that can be interchanged for years or birthdays. I used iron-on velcro to make the little numbers.

If you have time to whip up a few of these to keep in storage, you can spruce up bottles of wine or juice for housewarming parties, showers, picnics, etc. They’re easy, customizable, and stop drips from hitting your table cloth.



Covers for Boppy August 4, 2010

Filed under: crafty — ravennagirls @ 11:00 am
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For those of you who don’t know, THIS is a Boppy. Its a nursing pillow/baby prop common among many moms these days. It is also something that comes with a cover – and you know what that means: a chance to customize!  With some new babies on the way, i found some cute and soft flannels and thought I’d try my hand at sewing a couple.

Hooowever.  I didn’t want to PAY for a PATTERN! So, I borrowed a cover that a friend already owned, and did a little rudimentary pattern making. Basically, I pressed the cover flat, traced, and then added seam allowances for the edge and zippers. Piece of cake (we’ll see. . . right?)

For talking purposes, the pieces will be labeled as below.

First, I basted and sewed my 24″ metal zipper to the straight side of piece A with a 3/4″ seam allowance.

Then, I sewed the zipper onto piece B, using again a 3/4″ seam allowance. After secured, I folded a generous seam allowance OVER the right side of the zipper to create the flap that hides the zipper itself, and top stitched.

Last part of the zipper: top stitch at piece B to have the zipper lie flat.

Hooray! Zipper in and hidden from view. Although making a more complex pattern, its nice that they have zippers straight across the back instead of around a curve. Less chance of broken zippers that way.

Next step, pin all the way around, with Piece A/B right side to large piece C. Instead of leaving a part of the seam open to turn later, i unzipped about 4″ and used that. Sew all the way around using a 1/2″ seam allowance.

Done! Look at that cute zipper with the hider panel flipped back.

Cozy, Cozy.


The plaid was actually the second cover I made. My wonderful friend Dana let me make her a cover as a trial using this CUUUTE Noah’s Ark Flannel. Here you can see how well the zipper is hidden (although i gave her a LIME GREEN zipper which is quite cute).

I’m working on getting the pattern into some sort of format so i can send around digitally. (Right now its hand drawn on the back of old plans). Probably I’ll be a nerd and draft it into AutoCAD or something. maybe. when it rains.


(One Caveat: Boppys are apparently now being sold with a stretchy band in the center to accommodate a variety of waist sizes. I did notice that the slipcover i was copying had an extra seam with a panel in the center portion that help the fabric lie a little flatter around the middle. While I’m sure this is nice, I wasn’t really into a whole nother few steps, so I simplified.)


CraftY – Washcloth Puppets July 30, 2010

Filed under: crafty — ravennagirls @ 4:51 pm
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Back in the spring, when it was supposed to be spring but it really still felt like winter, we went through some mass crafting phase.  We normally reserve such full blown crazyness for the months leading up to December 25th.. but alas we had gifts to give!  {Luckily our living room has since recovered from these activities and summer did come.}

And well, gifts have been given so I am not spoiling any surprises!

One day I was looking through B’s Martha Stewart Sewing book and I saw these adorable puppets that she/her staff had made out of washcloths.

This project makes the perfect gift for a new baby.  It is pretty easy and very inexpensive.

I went to TJMaxx for some towels.  One hand towel will give you one puppet, plus lots of scrap pieces to use on others.  I prewashed all towels after I got them home.  I needed black, white and brown for my project.

You can download the pattern here for the bodies.  I used my own shapes and sizes for the faces though.  

Two dogs for inspiration …

These are the furry siblings to a friend’s baby who will be joining the outside world very soon!  [all photos of actual dogs not made out of cloth via chicpeastudio}

I hand sewed the faces on with different thread colors over washcloth bits used for the muzzle, nose and eyes. 

After the faces were on B helped me sew the two bodies together , including sewing the ears between the front and back of each dog.

Then I played with them in my bestest dog voices.  : ) hehe.