Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Mermaid Birthday Party

I'm hoping I'm not the only one out there who has planned a birthday party around a 1/2 yard of fabric... but I have to admit that Heather Ross's Mendocino Mermaids was the main impetus for the theme of Louisa's third birthday party. She wanted a ballet party. I never quite convinced her that mermaids are the "ballerinas of the sea" but in the end she had such a good time I think she forgot all about tutus.

We had the party at a Mint Springs, a lake just down the road. Swimming, pizza, homemade funfetti cupcakes, temporary ballerina tattoos, chocolate seashells, and all your closest girlfriends... who could ask for more?

The starfish wands, with real starfish, were from this etsy shop. They were very cute, although the starfish fell off a couple, as you can see in the group shot above. I had two made with "boy" colored ribbons for the two boys who were invited, but one couldn't come and the other left before the photo shoot.

The dress is the same pattern I used for her birthday dress last year. Same size and everything. It's easy to change the length just by adjusting the straps when you tie it on. And luckily so, since I didn't have enough fabric to cut it much bigger.

I paid a somewhat embarrassing price for these two half-yard pieces of fabric (Mermaid Sisters Blush and Kelp Stripe) on ebay last winter and was excited to use it. I have a little bit of the mermaids in fuchsia and would love to make this doll sometime... didn't happen for the mermaid birthday though.

My mother-in-law found these chocolate seashells at Wegmans and bought them for me to put in the favor bags. They were a huge hit. The little bottles of Hello Kitty bubbles from the dollar bin at Target were also popular.

Louisa took a break from her friends to blow bubbles for Leo and his pal Vivian. She actually loves being big sister sometimes.

And now she is three!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ziggity Bath Mat

My friend Kate's bridesmaids threw her an "Around the House" bridal shower this weekend. I was assigned the bathroom. I was trying to think of something I could make her for that room, when I came across the "Ziggity Mug Rug" tutorial on Sew, Mama, Sew!, and remembered all the Amy Butler fabric that I had leftover from making these hourglass pillows.

I used a grey hand towel for the backing and based my measurements for the fabric strips on that. They ended up being 11.5 x 4.75" each, which gave me a couple of inches to spare and made it easier to center the zigzag.

I used an old towel for batting to give it a little more weight, and quilted around all of the seams like he suggested in the mug rug tutorial. I had originally planned to sew right sides together and turn it (like in this tutorial), but it was too thick to try that, so I ended up binding it with store-bought quilt-binding. 

Then, thinking that hand-sewing anything on a something you stand on at the bathroom sink was a little cooky, I tried sewing the bias tape down with the machine. After one section I realized that was going to look like crud (as you can see in the picture above), so I took it out and hand-finished the binding after all. A little fancy for a bathmat, but the colors are perfect. 

The fabric is from Amy Butler's Nigella line, home d├ęcor weight, in passion vine "stone" and "celery." My mom and I found it at Valley Fabrics in Stuarts Draft for just $6.50 a yard last year and we bought it all up between the two of us. Sadly, we've never seen Amy Butler or any of my other favorite fabrics there since. 

Showers of happiness to Kate and Nick!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Problem... solved.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Fourth of July Parade

I usually love the tutorials on made, but when I saw the one for Ruffled Streamers... with all the projects on my to do list, I did't see myself sitting behind my machine and sewing together yards and yards of crepe paper. 

But when she posted it again with a patriotic twist, I was suddenly inspired. We were decorating my dad's iconic 1971 GMC truck for the Crozet Gazette float in the Crozet Fourth of July parade, and ruffling my red and blue streamers together suddenly seemed like a must-do. 

I used the trick of keeping the rolls turning on a dowel and it was really quick work. She says she used the tightest tension on her machine, and even held the spool of thread to boost the tension more, but I only had to set my machine's tension at 7 (out of 10). At 10 the ruffles were too tight. I wish it was so simple to ruffle fabric.

My other day-of craft project for the parade was the bunting for the truck's grill. I made the CROZET flags in Illustrator to add to Martha Stewart's "festive pennants" download from the July issue. Printed them on my own printer. I punched holes in the corners and strung it on kitchen twine. 

The truck didn't win any parade awards but it was still my favorite float. Plus they threw some nice candy.