Inventive Fiber Crafts

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A fabulous friend of mine (who no doubt knows me very well) picked this seriously awesome book up for me at the thrift store.  Just by the cover, I could tell I was in for something great, but hoo-doggies!  It surpassed even my high expectations.

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Now, your pal Betty is a dyed in the wool pattern follower.  I’m not the kind of gal who can just knit or sew up whatever her little heart desires.  Even my crewel designs are carefully planned out so that when I finally dig in, I have a pattern to follow.  But when I see these beautiful, organic, free form fiber creations, I want to dive headfirst into a big ole pile of yarn and see what I can come up with!  I especially like this “Angel of Death” piece.  Who would have thunk it – a simple chain stitch creating such beauty!

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Can you imagine just sitting down with all your scrap yarn, knitting whatever methods and stitches struck your fancy, and creating something as gorgeous as “Convergence” above? I would pay money for that in an art gallery in a hot minute.

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How about this mind blowing pillow, again created with only the simple chain stitch?

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Of all the amazing images, this necklace is the thing that most captured my inspiration.  I am desperate to try to make something like it.  I adore it.

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I want to hang out with a glass of wine under this knitted placenta forever.

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Doesn’t this space look like it could be pulled from a current design magazine rather than a 35 year old book?  Also, yarn room divider.  Yes.

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Judging by the bio at the front of the book, Elyse Sommer has written several things I’m going to have to dig up.  A New Look At Crochet, A New Look At Felt, Wearable Crafts, Make It With Burlap…are you kidding me?  Elyse Sommer is clearly my craft guru.

Last Kitschmas Post of 2013

There are a couple last Kitschmas projects I wanted to show you before I pack everything away for another year.  *sniff*  Although my new job and the God Bless Our Pad kit prevented me from being as prolific with my Christmas crafts as I wanted – there were so many I had in mind that I just didn’t get to! – I did get a few things done.  I already showed you this year’s felt mouse ornament, but I also started another ornament series that I plan to make one of a year.  Last year I bought this adorable Nutcracker ornament kit made by Bucilla:

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I had originally planned to make all four this year, but I quickly realized that was crazy business.  These little guys are pretty fiddly and intricate!  So I wisely came to the conclusion that I should make one a year, just like the mice.  Requested by the boss Little Betty, the ballerina was first:

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It’s all hand sewing and embroidery, adding beads and sequins, then sewing the layers together, and finally sewing the back and fronts together and stuffing as you go.

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The sewing was definitely the least fun part as the spaces were so tiny it was darn near impossible to get stuffing in there!  Anyhoo, I’m looking forward to eventually having all 4 of these sweet ornaments on our tree.

Next up was hands down the most fun project this season.  Little Betty, my sister in law, and I made over 40 of these sweet diorama bell jar ornaments.  We used this tutorial.

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I wish I had pictures of more of them but we gave them to co-workers, teachers, and family members as gifts.  They were so fun to make and turned out tooth-achingly sweet, in my opinion!

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They were so cute, in fact, that my sister in law agreed they actually made us angry.  Now that, friends, is pretty darn cute.

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They are made out of plastic wine glasses, scrapbooking paper, vintage Christmas miniatures, and glitter.  In other words, magic.

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Little Betty had so much fun making these with us!  She was pretty prolific, actually, churning out adorable Kitschmas vignettes in record time for us to encapsulate in plastic domes covered with glitter for generations to come.

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Well, folks, that’s it.  Kitschmas is officially over.  I think this coming year I may start making Christmas crafts in July so I can get everything I want finished!  What were your favorite Christmas crafts this year?

Kitschmas Craft – A New Mouse Ornament!

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There is so much fabulous felty goodness in this sweet magazine, but by far the best seems to be the mice ornaments.  Ever since I posted about them last year I’ve been swamped with requests from people wanting a copy of the pattern.  They all remember them from their childhood and want to recreate them.  And I totally get it!  They are sweet as darn pie.  My plan was to make one each year.  Last year I made the elf mouse, and this year I made the mouse in a stocking.

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Aren’t they cute??  You can read more about this project over at No Pattern Required.

I’ve got a couple more ornament crafts to show you in the coming days as well as a new crewel kit reveal!  Yay!!  So stay tuned, friends.

The Halloween Costume

It’s that time of year again… when your old pal Betty’s head begins to build up pressure at an alarming rate with a ridiculous queue of crafty goals for the holidays, until it inevitably explodes in a shower of bakelite buttons, miniature fawns, and knee hugging elves.  Of course, this year is no exception.  The holiday season craft extravaganza kick off, as always, is Little Betty’s Halloween costume.

Let’s review, shall we?

Little Betty’s first Halloween costume was the only one I didn’t make.  I found this totally adorbs ladybug costume and couldn’t pass it up.  Cute, no?

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The next year, however, it was on.  I wanted to capitalize on the very rare couple of years where I got to pick her costume entirely.  What would be super cute that she would never allow me to dress her as when she can express an opinion?  Why, a tiny lady gnome of course!

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Here she is with her little bestie.  I made the hat and the dress.  I am 1000% in love with the vintage fabric I used for the apron.

The following year I found such a precious 1950s pattern for a cowgirl outfit that I couldn’t resist.

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And now I can tell you from experience that sewing a tiny pearl snap western shirt is no laughing matter.  But the end result was so worth it!  I used the most incredible pink western print barkcloth for the yoke and cuffs.

Last year was the first year Little Betty decided what she wanted to be.  I was bracing for the inevitable princess, but thank Jeebus she decided she wanted to be a purple unicorn. 1980′s vintage pattern to the rescue!

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But this year I was not so lucky.  As you may remember from my last post, Little Betty wanted to be Rosie Bumps N Bruises from Lalaloopsy.  Hey, at least I dodged the princess bullet for another year, right?

This:

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Plus this:

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Equals this!

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And here she is with her little bestie again:

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Photo credit Jennifer M. Ramos

 

The resulting little dress is so great that I kinda want her to wear it all the time.  I love the little vintage buttons I used for the back:

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I used a pink and white seersucker and it really is just the cutest thing ever.  Of course, Little Betty much preferred the cheap satin costume that came with the wig and I had to do some serious negotiating to get her to wear the one I made.  The mister had to gently remind me that she is 4 and not purposely trying to wound me to my very core.

And now on to Kitschmas crafts!  My head is swimming, y’all.  I have a LOT of crafty endeavors lined up…

Ch-ch-ch-changes…

I know it’s been pretty quiet around the old blog lately, but things have been nuts at Casa Crafter!   Sadly the vintage store I had been renting space in is closing, so I decided with Little Betty heading off to preschool this year that it was time for me to go back to school too.  I am now once again a Special Education teacher!  So, I have been up to my eyeballs with trainings, getting my classroom ready, and adjusting to my radically different lifestyle, which is why I haven’t been blogging.  But that doesn’t mean my crafty mojo has petered out!  I’ve actually been quite busy.

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I’ve been working on what is maybe the most adorable sweater ever for Little Betty.

I’ve also been planning out her Halloween costume.  She wants to be Rosy Bumps N Bruises from Lalaloopsy:

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Now just because Little Betty wants to be a mass market character does not mean that your old pal Betty is going to forget about her vow to always make Little Betty’s Halloween costume, of course.  (Although I will probably buy a wig – don’t judge.)  Anyhoo – I think I’ve found a pattern that will serve as a basis quite nicely!

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All I’ll need to add is a crinoline, apron and nurse’s hat to view one and I should have a pretty adorable costume for my little lady!  I’m actually pretty excited about it!

I’ve been plotting away on Christmas presents to make, too.  I will tell you that I want to venture into new territory and I’m not at all sure I can pull it off, but I promise to keep you updated, good or bad.

Margot

I haven’t talked too much about making dolls here on the old blog, but I really enjoy it!  Especially the dolls in the most excellent book Wee Wonderfuls – 24 Dolls To Sew And Love.  Each pattern in the book is one I’d love to make, and I have made 6 of the patterns so far, and two of them twice now!  I’d like to show you one of those today, the pattern Margot, which I absolutely adore.

Margot is a “topsy turvy” doll, which means you flip her skirt to reveal a new doll underneath.  When I was little I had one that was Little Red Riding Hood on one side and the wolf on the other.  Margot is 2 versions of the same doll – one dressed up and one dressed down.  I made Little Betty one a couple of years ago.  Please keep in mind that she has been well loved for a couple of years now and has gotten a bit worn!

Here is the dressed up version:

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Isn’t she precious??  I of course used sumptuous heavy vintage fabrics.  Dolls and doll clothes are wonderful applications for vintage fabrics because you can use those small scraps you can’t bear to let go of.

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The facial features are so simply embroidered.  I love them.   It is truly a beautiful pattern.  I used muslin for the body of the doll – I like how the flecks sort of look like freckles.

Here is the dressed down side:

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Well my darling niece recently enjoyed her 1st birthday and I thought her very own Margot would be a great way to mark the big day!  It’s a good doll for small children because there are no buttons or doll eyes or anything that cold be choking hazards.  This is the case with most of the patterns in the book.

Here is my niece’s dressed up Margot:

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I didn’t use vintage fabrics on this one because I thought these would be more her style.  They are still heavy canvas and corduroy, though.  I think the weight works well for the skirt-flipping feature.

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I really love the oversized bow I did on this one – I think it makes her look very 1930s!  I forgot to add the rosy cheeks to this one; however, I still think it looks ok.  I initially tried to use a heavier canvas for the body but after 2 evenings of sweating and cursing trying to embroider the hair I pitched it and started over with muslin.  It was dang near impossible to get the doll needle through with the yarn!

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And here is her dressed down side!  I like the longer braids on this one vs Little Betty’s version, although they peek out of the bottom of the skirt a bit when the dressed up version is out.

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Since the apron fabric was a bit plain I decided to embroider my niece’s initial on it, and I’m glad I did!  It adds a bit of personalization and jazzes it up just a tad.

If you enjoy this sort of thing and need a gift for a little one, definitely check this book out!  There are so many great patterns.

I sewed a dress! It isn’t awesome.

I’ve been hankerin’ for some cute sundresses this summer, but not the tight waisted 50s dresses my closet is full of.  I’ve been wanting 70s and 80s breezy, colorful sundresses.  I have a few now and I’ve been wearing them out!  I’ve had this pattern in my stash for quite some time and finally decided I’d give it a whirl:

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I decided to try it with a cute ikat fabric.  The fabric I chose worked out great – it has a wonderful drape and is light without being sheer.

The dress is not what I would deem a total success, however.  First of all, why can’t my finished products ever look like the cartoon models on the envelope??  I like it much better when they have photos of real people wearing the project, but vintage patterns never do.  Anyhoo, mine turned out WAY too big and baggy – not at all flattering like it is in the picture, of course.  I took the bodice in an inch and a half on each side and that helped a lot.  Still, it’s not something I’ll wear if I’m trying to look nice.  I think it makes me look heavier than I am.  Ok, enough stalling – here it is.

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The bows on the shoulders look and feel a bit bulky for my taste as well.  But it sure is comfy!  It will be great for errands or gardening or loafing.

Next up – I need to take a class on how to custom fit patterns to your own body so I stop investing so much time in clothes that don’t fit right!

Scenes of Summer at Casa Crafter

Ah, the lazy, hazy days of summer.  We’ve been soaking up all the sun and free time with glee around here.

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I’ve even been doing some baby crafting!  I knitted up these cute mary jane booties for a grand niece who will be arriving soon:

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And I’ve been sewing up a sweet doll for my dear tiny niece’s first birthday present:

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We’ve been enjoying the many gifts the backyard is providing:

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…even if that means fighting off a persistently broody hen!

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We also set up shop at our very first antique fair.  It was a lot of fun meeting both the other dealers and the shoppers.  Plus it was pretty profitable!

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We also welcomed a new member to the family!  Meet the incredibly adorable Millie:

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Did your eyeballs explode from the cute??  Even though we are all shredded to bits from her tiny razor-sharp kitten claws, everyone in the houes adores her.

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We plan on wringing every last drop of enjoyment we can out of this summer.  What are you doing to enjoy the summer?

Estate Sale Good Times

I haven’t been hitting up too many estate sales lately, but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten how fun they are!  So this weekend we decided to go full monty on one that looked good, held by my good buddies at Amber Ostrich Estate Sales.  We got up SUPER early to make sure we’d have a good chance at some of the goodies we saw in the pictures.  We didn’t end up using any of the snacks or entertainment we brought to pass the time though because I ended up gabbing away with the great peeps who were also waiting.  Who says estate sales are cutthroat?  Honestly, I haven’t had too many of those experiences.  After one of the gals told me what she was there for (she got there even earlier than we did!) I told her I’d grab it for her if I found it before she did.  Another guy was there for one of the things we were there for, but we talked it out and decided that if it was under a certain amount he would get it and if it was over that we would get it.  See?  There’s no reason to be nasty at these sales, folks.  You’re likely going to keep seeing these people at other sales, so be nice!

Now for the scores!  And oh yes, there were scores.

Here is the thing that went over the predetermined price limit with our line friend:

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The gentleman who lived in the house was a boat manufacturer and he made this couch out of fiberglass.  The back and bottom bubbles out as you can kind of see.  The legs are nothing short of totally amazing.  This one is three pieces and can be arranged as a loveseat and chair, couch, or 3 chairs.  The turquoise upholstery is in great shape except for one stain that I’m going to try to steam out.

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He also made this one.  Seriously, how great are these things???  It’s going to be SO hard not to keep them.  This one has some minor rips in the seat that I’m going to try to mend.  Aren’t they just the epitome of 1950s atomic cool?

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We are crazy in love with this caricature.  It’s dated 1956.  The guy featured was a prominent Austin lawyer and theater dude.

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Ok.  THIS CHAIR.  Holy balls!  I want to keep it SO bad but I’m going to be a good little reseller and resist.  But that aqua color is just perfect, and these Eisenhower chairs are so desirable and hard to find!

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I’m super excited about these unused craft kits!  The lady of the home was a member of a craft of the month club that sent her a craft kit every month.  How exciting are these??  The one with birds is an adorable apron and the other is a framed wall hanging with yarn flowers.  I can’t wait to do them.  Keep an eye on my column This IS Your Granny’s Crafting on Tuesdays over at No Pattern Required to see how they turn out when I make them!

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I paid a pretty penny for this pyrex, but it was unused straight out of the box and none of us had ever seen this pattern before!  And it’s such a great size for leftovers.  Speaking of leftovers, I can never have enough of these tupperware containers, so I snagged them right away.

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I was going to sell all of these things, but when I got home I noticed the deer planter had been repaired, so I guess he’s staying with me!

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I often buy things just for the packaging, and these camping supplies are a great example of that.  Love them.

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Kitschmas!!  I paid way too much for that tiny knee hugging elf but I’ve never been known to leave one behind.

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I’m also a known sucker for any vintage zodiak stuff and big eyed wall art.

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This amazing vintage sign is a present for someone.  We could not have found a more perfect present.  Although I really want to keep it – it’s awesome!!

Not a bad haul for one sale, huh?  Now that my estate sale bug has been reignited I can’t stop looking at the listings online!  I’m already thinking about going back to this sale for the rest of the craft kits - unbelievably I left a ton behind.  Maybe on the half price day I’ll go get the rest…