We craft to live!

Month: September 2017

Summer Craftiness Update!

Summer Craftiness Update!

Hello, Everyone! We are so excited to be starting a blog for documenting our crazy creative lives! Of course, this past summer was a season of crafting for both of us. Although we often craft solo, we finally had the chance to cross state lines and have sister crafty time! (At LONG last!!)

So many projects had been inspiring us and teasing us into trying them! One new project was soap making! We drooled over Pinterest pictures and avidly read blogs for how-on-earth-do-we-do-this directions. We were blown away by the amazing information out there for soap newbies like us! One of our favorites was the wealth of information created by the Soap Queen herself at  https://www.soapqueen.com/category/bath-and-body-tutorials/melt-and-pour-soap/ She answered any questions we had with great articles and video tutorials! Her website has all the supplies you need. Other soap divas include the gals over at A Beautiful Mess! Their color gradient soap tutorial convinced us to try making soap in the first place! http://abeautifulmess.com/2017/04/diy-gradient-soap-bars.html We put our own spin on things by hiding tiny erasers in the soap and placing small, 3D soaps into larger soap bars! We ran out of soap supplies before we ran out of ideas!

 

Of course, we couldn’t stop there! As this was a summer for epic projects, we had been planning for months to tie dye! We took over our parent’s backyard (Dad even let us use the barbecue to heat water!) and got a bunch of dye options ready. We love the dying supplies and project ideas over at https://www.ritdye.com/ The insanity lasted for most of a day, but by the end, we had “rainbowized” lots of clothes and accessories! Also our hands. Those got dyed too.  

 

 

 

 

 

And that was just the beginning! With fall around the corner, we got ideas lined up for fall wardrobe diys, new recipes to try, and lots of gifties to make! Stay tuned for more craft-spiration from the Partners in Craft!

Armholes are the Pits!

Armholes are the Pits!

Some of our most common thrift store dilemmas are caused by armholes. Darn those armholes! If they are too big, they can turn a cute dress or top into a wardrobe malfunction. If they are too small or the sleeves attached to them are too tight, armholes can turn an outfit into a deodorant-gone-wrong commercial. Not pretty. You either have to leave that thrift store garment behind or roll up your sleeves (lol) for a little diy!

Lindee and I each ran into armhole dilemmas as we searched our favorite thrift stores for fall pieces. She found a dress with sleeves that were too tight, while I found a sleeveless dress with gaping armholes. My dress is midi length, made from a medium weight knit. I love midi/maxi dress for fall layering, and this one is super comfy! It’s also one of my wardrobe’s staple colors- black. Must fix this!

 

I turned the dress inside out and tried it on. I pinched the fabric under the arms to see how much extra room there was. Using tailors chalk, I tried to mark where the seam should go. This is a little awkward to do on yourself if you don’t have a dressform (still on my Christmas list), but make your best guess. Doing it in front of a mirror helps.

 

Next, I laid the dress flat and using my original chalk marks as a guide, I marked where the new seam should be under each arm.

 

Ok, time to see if our chalk mark estimates are correct! I pinned and then stitched along the marks using a contrasting thread and big stitches. (I want to be able to easily remove these stitches if my estimate needs adjusting.)

 

I tried on the dress, and the arm holes fit well. (In hind sight, I would probably extend the stitching a couple inches longer down the dress. This would help trim a little extra fabric in the bust area.) But now it’s time to stitch this thing for real! I replaced the colored thread on my machine with black and selected a stitch designed for knit fabric. Of course, I was already using a ball point needle, knit fabric’s best friend. Check the stitching recommendations and needle requirements for YOUR machine. You will thank yourself many times over for your heroic efforts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since I stitched right over my bright colored stitches, I carefully removed them with a seam ripper. This is an optional step, but the OCD among us may find it necessary, as I did.

 

Hurrah! We now have a dress with non-gapey-armholes! Time to try styling it for fall!

 

Now let’s see what magic Lindee works on her sleeves-are-too-tight dress!

Thanks Brit! I recently picked up a cute piece from a clothing swap only to discover that the short sleeve tunic shirt was too tight under the arms. Because it fit well everywhere else and was the perfect fall color, I was determined to come up with a solution for a problem I run into all the time.

The 3 step solution!

  1. Take off the sleeves. DO NOT CUT! I stitch ripped the sleeve seams to remove the sleeves. Since the armholes are too small, the more fabric you have to work with the easier it is to fix.

  2. Try it on!!! Now that the sleeves are gone it should not be so tight. Estimate how wide you want the hem and if you need to adjust the arm holes in any way, do so before you hem.

  3. Hem the arm holes. Bam! Done! (I ended up doing a rolled hem because the silky fabric of the dress unraveled easily.)

The finished product!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paired with a sweater, leggings, and a pair of boots, this tunic shirt will be super comfortable and cute for fall!

Fall Dress Upcycle

Fall Dress Upcycle

Got a dress that has outdated sleeves, is a weird length, or both? I find that if I can break down a fashion up-cycle into three steps, it is worth my time to make the fix. Here is my favorite example of taking something I would never wear and making it into a chic dress I can wear all the time.

  1. Get rid of the weird sleeves
  2. Chop off the unwanted length
  3. Adjust and hem under the arms and hem bottom.

The hardest part was adjusting and hemming under the arms since the fabric always poofs after I take the sleeves off. (I used a rolled hem under the arms so I wouldn’t get green lint all over my armpits).

 

  

This dress is a versatile piece for all seasons with some layering or a pair of sandals.

Bleached Plaid Shirt

Bleached Plaid Shirt

I have seen some really cool bleaching experiments out there on Pinterest! People are dipping garments in bleach to create ombre effects, splattering bleach in random patterns, and even bleaching out flannel shirts! I love all these ideas, but I wanted to give it my own twist. I found a basic cotton button-up in pastel plaid that could use a little livening up!

Since bleach was involved, I put on old clothes and turned my bathroom into a crafting room! I lined the bathtub workspace with plastic trash bags, and put another trash bag inside the shirt. (I didn’t want the bleach on the front of the shirt to run through to the back.) Rather than dipping the shirt into bleach, I opted to spray bleach on the shirt in random star-burst patterns. Since I couldn’t find my harmful-chemicals-only spray bottle to apply a bleach solution, I improvised. Bleach-containing bathroom cleaner came to the rescue! (Note: Some fabrics, especially some synthetics will NOT appreciate contact with bleach. Experiment, but know that it is at your own risk. I like using cottons (including denim) for projects like this.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I spritzed the cleaner in random patches across the front of the shirt. Almost immediately, the plaid started to bleach. I quickly turned the shirt over and did the same for the back. I waited less than five minutes total before the colors were bleached to my liking. (I try to leave bleach on a garment for the shortest time possible since bleach can eventually damage the fabric and cause holes.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

To stop the bleaching, I got the shirt into the sink with lots of laundry soap and warm water. I changed the water and soap several times to get all the bleach out. Next, into the washing machine it went!

 

In hindsight, I would have used a little less bleach on the shirt so that the original colors showed more clearly.  However, I do love how the plaid now has a tie-dyed effect! Traditional button-up goes rebel! 🙂

 

I paired my newly rebel-ized shirt with a denim skirt I had previously dipped in bleach! Check out the denim bleaching tutorial over at Chick Advisor for a great step-by-step on getting an ombre look. https://www.chickadvisor.com/article/diy-dip-dye-bleaching-ombre-denim/  Cute hubby took me to a local strawberry patch to get berries for the fruit vinegar post (spoiler alert) and to take pics of my new outfit!  The plaid shirt was right at home!

Berry-Infused Vinegar

Berry-Infused Vinegar

Fruit-infused vinegar is a recent addition to my nerdy ingredient collection! During a friend’s visit this summer (Hi Stephanie!), we discovered a tasting room for locally made olive oils and vinegars. The fruit-infused vinegars blew us away! They were tangy like vinegar but subtly sweet with recognizable fruit flavors! Dinner that night involved homemade bread dunked in dipping bowls of olive oil, fruity vinegar, and a sprinkle of salt! Equally delicious was a homemade vinaigrette on spinach salad! Yum, yum, and yum!

Then, the inevitable happened… I discovered, thanks to Pinterest, that I could have been making this fruity-vinegar-delight myself. Sigh. Of course, I had to give it a try! Thankfully, I found a really thorough tutorial over at Attainable Sustainable. https://www.attainable-sustainable.net/make-infused-vinegar/ The author gives step by step instructions for making, pasteurizing, and packaging vinegary creations! I followed their recipe for blackberry and orange zest infused white balsamic vinegar, and loved the results! Next, I tried a strawberry-infused golden balsamic made with local strawberries!

 

 

 

 

Since I plan to give vinegar as gifts, (Hello, make-ahead-Christmas-present!), I searched for moderately small, but cute bottles. My favorites so far are a 5oz size with twist on caps from Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00VEYL12M/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I used my handy gift-tag paper punch and an appropriate rubber stamp to create tags. They have *adorable* tiny fruit stamps at this Etsy site.  https://www.etsy.com/listing/256886901/mini-fruit-rubber-stamps-set-of-4-mini?ref=shop_home_active_2

I am including the fruity vinaigrette recipe from Attainable Sustainable on the back of the tag!

 

Next, I want to try a peachy vinegar and possibly experiment with adding herbs! Bring on the vinegary goodness! 🙂 Yum!

Elastic Jewelry: Beautiful and Easy!

Elastic Jewelry: Beautiful and Easy!

Say goodbye to annoying clasps and say hello to stylish, easy to wear, jewelry made on elastic cord! Besides being so easy to put on when you are running out the door for work or school, here is what else I love about this elastic jewelry:

  • Super Easy! Can you tie a knot? Then you can make these.

  • Great gifts. I’ve already given a bunch of bracelets to people and they love them.

  • Kid friendly. Kids can make, wear, and give them as gifts.

  • They look beautiful!! I get lots of complements on them.

  • The materials for this project are a good investment. Whether you are adding to your bead box or just starting one, the beads and cord will come in handy again and again.

Materials needed.

  1. Elastic cord

  2. Beads (size 2/0 and 6/0)

  3. Nail polish

I got the stretchy cord from Joann Fabric and Crafts. The cord is also available on their website www.joann.com. I chose the brand Jewelry Fundamentals Chord and More – Thick Elastic Cord in colors Fiesta and Planet Earth (pictured below). I couldn’t find the color Planet Earth on the Joann website but they have another similar neutral color called Romance. If you’re interested in getting the cord online, here’s the link:

http://www.joann.com/search?q=Thick+Elastic+Cord

WARNING! Because the cord is THICK elastic, not all beads will fit on the cord. I’ve used glass e-beads sizes 2/0 and 6/0. The size should be marked near the bar code on the bead container. For example in the picture below, the bead container states that the size is 2/0.

Size 2/0 are the bigger beads and size 6/0 are the smaller beads pictured below. Size 6/0 are the smallest size beads that will fit on the thick elastic cord and can be a tad-bit harder to string.

Size 2/0 can fit two strands of the thick elastic cord.

To keep the cord from fraying at the ends which makes it almost impossible to bead, coat the tips with clear nail polish. You can see the difference.

I like to mix glass beads with metal or wood beads. Adding charms and strategically placing knots is another fun way to mix it up a little. Here are a few of my creations to inspire your own.

If you have questions or additional tips on how to make this project more awesome, please leave a comment! If you’ve made your own elastic jewelry share a picture to keep the inspiration going! Thank you all and enjoy!

Adding Length to a Western Shirt

Adding Length to a Western Shirt

This project started with a long sleeved, western style shirt originally from Gap but coming to me via Goodwill. I liked the color, the fabric, and the fact that the shirt perfectly fit my upper torso, despite my narrow shoulders and big boobs. The length, however, always seemed a bit awkward for me, which suggested the idea of lengthening it. I searched for a coordinating fabric for the additions but never found what I liked. So, why not remove the sleeves and use that fabric to add length? Brilliant!

Step 1: Remove the sleeves! I cut them off just before the shoulder seam and left the edge to fray a bit. I also removed the collar in a similar way.

 

Next, I laid the sleeves flat and pinned them together back to back. I measured and made sure the sleeves, when sewn together, would be about as long as the bottom of the shirt. (A little bit longer is better than too short.)

I marked and then sewed a straight seam across the raw edges cut from the shoulders. I trimmed the extra.

 

 

 

 

The sleeves still had some raw edges to be tacked down. I pinned and then sewed them closed. Now the sleeves form a long band of fabric.

Next, I needed to pin the band of fabric to the bottom of the shirt. (Right sides together, of course!) The original hem of the shirt was curved, but I pinned the band on in a straight line, cutting off the curves. BLOOPER: I originally tried to follow the hem of the shirt, but that created puffiness when the band was sewn on! No “bubble butt” allowed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before pinning the band completely on to the shirt, I sewed the sleeve cuffs closed. (The band was slightly too long, so I rolled the cuffs in slightly to shorten them before I sewed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, I completed pinning the band on to the shirt, and sewed away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hooray! I like the way the length addition has turned this shirt into more of a tunic top! I pair it with skinny jeans or capris! Adding a sweater, scarf, and ankle boots will transition this shirt nicely into fall!