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When so much time has passed since having time to blog, where do you start? From now, and the rest will come, if they may. So, here’s what we did last week with R, an idea I ‘ve wanted to try for a while, but somehow other weekend plans always came first.

I grabbed some of my trusted off-white linen pieces of fabric (I have tons of it!) that I had pre-cut for making coasters, lay a piece of paper on the kitchen table and took out mommy’s markers, that include sharpies. Initially I made some geometric pattern markings, and some rain drops, but after I saw how R’s abstract lines came out, I copied him and we came up with a bunch of very colorful results. I also started trying to use a syringe to drop the alcohol, but once again his style of just dumping it on top was more fun.

We both enjoyed the process, even if the smell made us a little giddy, and the end result was almost what I expected or hoped to get. I think I ‘d prefer to try this in a less porous surface, perhaps glass or tile or a ceramic bowl, as the color didn’t spread as much on the fabric.

Now for setting the color with some hot iron and deciding what to do with them. Coasters, again? Haphazardly applique them on some fabric and make a bag? Add them as embellishments to the boys’ clothes? Only time, and inspiration will tell. For now, I am satisfied.

C&J3

C&J1

C&J2

We were invited to a birthday party the other day. In addition to the bought gifts, I wanted the birthday kids (4-year-old twins) to also have something handmade. I feel that kids today have very little access to handmade things, and they don’t have the chance to appreciate the uniqueness of something made just for them.

With very little time for something fancy, I appliqued each kid’s initial and made 2 drawstring bags. My theory of “one can’t have too many drawstring bags” applies to all ages, and the sooner one starts collecting them, the more they ‘ll end up having 🙂

I hope the kids will find lots of treasures to store in them!

Some time ago I was playing with fabric paint, not having anything specific in mind. I made a couple of square pieces and left them aside until inspiration would strike again. The muse came yesterday, when I decided that our sofa has too many colors and I ‘d like it to be more focused on blue accents. The colors on this fabric were exactly the color I was craving for, so I made a pillow case with it, and backed it with some striped cotton.

I also changed the fabric on the side of the sofa – an essential protection to discourage the kitties from sharpening their claws on it. Sunny seems pleased with the new color scheme, while Skid lends her critical eye to the design.

As an irrelevant aside, Skid always loves to sit in paper bags, and I never fail to think she is adorable and take photos of her! (pardon the mess around her)

All week long, since I saw this great tutorial for kids-friendly batik with glue by That artist woman, I have been thinking about making something like that myself. Friday after work was the only time I could make the trip to the closest craft store. I stocked up on brushes and glue, and bought some acrylic craft paint. I already have lots of fabric paint, but for the bulk of the fabrics I thought something cheaper will take away the fear of messing up.

Last night I made my glue design and left it overnight to dry.

Painting over the fabric was a new experience for me. I haven’t played with colors much ever since I was a kid, and it took me a while to figure out what I want to do with them.

My first try wasn’t as sophisticated as I would have liked it, but it was incredibly fun, and my impatience over rinsing out the glue turned out good, because it cleared off some of the excess color from the fabric, which I like.

After I was done, I was nowhere near ready to stop playing with the colors and brushes. There was plenty of fabric (IKEA white roll, I think it was sold as a cheap sheet), colors, and of course wax paper – very important to avoid ruining your work surface below. The colors bled immediately, as the fabric was so thin.

I made a couple of pillow tops, which I am very happy with. I had yet more color mixed after I was done, so I played a little with some smaller pieces of fabric, that will probably end up as zippered pouches. I am still tentative with my painting, but I am enjoying myself very much, and I know that the more I do it the better I will get in both ideas and execution.

Being away from blogging has created a backlog of finished projects to report. This is one of my rare attempts to make clothes. Inspired by seeing a finished version of this top, and encouraged by its creator, I decided to try my luck at making things that (should) fit. For the few who have not seen this (justifiably) notorious tutorial, posted in Sew, Mama, Sew, it is a great project to start with. It is easy to follow, and provides enough alternatives to fit different styles.

no-ruffle top

Nevertheless, I was scared of wasting expensive fabric, so for the body I used some cheap shirting fabric bought at my local Save-A-Thon store. For the contrasting band I used a beautiful fat quarter I bought a while ago at one of my favorite fabric stores, The City Quilter.

I did not pre-wash the fabric. I did wash the top after it was finished, though, and no major disaster happened: no shrinking equal to felting a sweater, no seam distortion. On the contrary, the fabrics got softer and their drape improved a bit. Maybe I was lucky. Either way, I was encouraged to continue with my bad habit of not pre-washing unless I have plenty of time between shopping and sewing.

'no-ruffle top' top

I followed the pattern as was, except for the ruffles, which I obviously skipped. I am not really a ruffles person. There were a few adventures in the process, mostly due to my pessimistic approach to taking measurements. The top band came out quite loose, but that was easily fixed when I added the shaping on the side seams – which helped a lot.

I am already considering making another one of those, and next time I think I will try the gathering technique instead of the pleats. All in all, I am quite happy with the end result, both in terms of wearability and as a learning process. I had never made pleats before, and I am happy to report they weren’t nearly as scary as they sound. Now all I have to do is wait for the weather to get warm enough so I can wear it… sigh!

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July 16, 2011

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