Trust Me! I’m A Barista.

When I was wearing an apron, while painting the Link/Triforce totes, I thought of my next project. This one was going to take a little bit of prep work. By that I mean, talking to my boss at work. I told her that I wanted to make a tote bag from an apron. I asked her if there were any aprons that needed to go into the “recycle bin”. A couple of weeks later, she gave me an apron that was in bad shape. If any of you have been in a Starbucks, you know that Sharpies are our friend… but sometimes our apron’s enemy. As was the fate of the apron I received for this upcycled Starbucks apron tote bag.

Starbucks ApronNow, when you are using an item and making it into another item, planning is key! I came up with several “drafts” before I settled on the final pattern. Just remember, once you cut… that’s it. So, make sure that you draw your lines and double check your measurements. With the apron having stains, Starbucks Logo, and pockets, I had to be very strategic in how I planned out this tote bag. At first, I was going to have an all-green bag. Then it changed to half green and half canvas with painted words, but that required too much work. Finally, I had a brilliant idea. Make the bag look like a Starbucks barista. We can wear black or white shirts. Most barista’s wear black, due to all the stains you will have if you wear white. I only wear my white shirts when I haven’t done laundry.

Starbucks Tote InsideAfter cutting the apron, lots and lots of seam ripping (Arrgh!) and prepping all the add-ons , the tote bag was finally on it’s way. Since this bag was going to have so many pockets and parts, I had to make sure I sewed everything in the correct order. I started with the neck strap. I had to seam rip the strap off. I knew I was going to make two handles for the tote, so I had to measure the strap (including the extra piece attached to the rectangle ring) and cut it in half. After I sewed on the grosgrain ribbon (found on Ebay), I reattached the strap to the black rectangle ring. Next, I sewed a new hem at the bottom of the apron and resewed the seams where I used the seam ripper to take off the neck strap. I decided to use one of the original apron pockets to make two cute smaller pockets. These were cute, but a pain to get them to fold and sew right. Lastly, I sewed the mini apron onto the main black fabric. I decided to attach it as an outside pocket, because it would appear to look like an apron being worn. So, I only sewed the sides and bottom hem.

Starbucks Tote BackWhen the tedious parts were done it was time to sew the bag. Before I sewed up the side seams, I inserted the back tie pieces. These, I had to line up just right so it would appear that the apron was wrapping around to the back of the bag. I did not cut the straps until the end. After the bag was complete, I tied the straps in a bow and pinned where I should cut. I untied the straps, measured, and cut the straps the same length. I folded under the cut end and sewed. After ironing the bag, I was finally done.

Overall, I am super pleased with myself. It turned out better than my original idea. I can’t wait to bring it to work. Just remember to tip your barista. If you don’t, you don’t have to worry. I’m not going to decaf you…lol. Enjoy.

Starbucks Tote Frontp.s. For you to get an idea of the size, the tote bag is holding four 1/2 pound bags of Casi Cielo Starbucks coffee. Which is, in my opinion, our best tasting coffee. I was not paid by Starbucks to write that and I hope they don’t sue me or fire me for making this tote or writing up this blog post. Starbucks siren and Casi Cielo are trademarked by Starbucks.

 

“It’s Dangerous To Go Alone! Take This”

When the WiiU came out with The Legend of Zelda Hyrule Warriors game, I decided I was going to make my son the awesome scarf that Link wore. I bought some fabric, but I never got beyond that point. Yes, kids love to play dress up, but this scarf would be too awesome to not wear it outside. The only problem is that the weather here is not cold enough to warrant wearing a scarf. So saith I. The idea was put on the back burner. My best friend got me on the idea of making tote bags for my kids…yeah, my kids…/cough cough. I made some My Little Pony bags to match a skirt that I had made my daughter. Then my son had to have a Minecraft bag. Which I made reversible with hidden pockets. As I am writing this blog, I realize where my kids get their need to always “one up” each other. My husband’s side. Yeah, right… I think not.

My Little Pony TotebagsAnyway, I was sitting around thinking of what my next project would be. What would be better than MLP and Minecraft? Link and the Triforce… duh. Let me tell you what, my brain was going crazy with ideas. How could I pull this off? The most awesome bag ever?

Minecraft Reversible Tote(A little side story) I got this wild idea about a year ago to make my own couch covers. They are expensive and every couch is made differently, so I researched online and found that lots of people were making them from canvas drop cloths. I got lucky. Home Depot was selling a promotional 2 pack of drop cloths for the price of one. I also topped that by using a Harbor Freight competitor coupon. Score. I washed and dried them, to prevent any additional shrinking. I started cutting and pinning the first couch cover. Now, the good part. My husband came home from work, looked at my work, and said “No”. (politely, of course) Scratch that whole idea. The cut up fabric got folded up and tossed into a bag. End of side story.

Ding, Ding, Ding… light bulb! A painted canvas tote bag, FTW!

First, I had to figure out what size bag I wanted to make. I wanted it to be bigger than the MLP bags, but smaller than the Minecraft bag. Second, I had already found the clipart I wanted to use, from when I thought I wanted to make a scarf. I imported the clipart into my Silhouette Cameo program, sized it to fit the bag, and then cut it out on freezer paper. Let me just say that peeling freezer paper off of that sticky mat tried my patience. Finally, after measuring the placement of the graphic, I ironed the stenciled freezer paper onto the fabric.

Triforce Freezer PaperSo, a few notes about freezer paper I have learned. I cut the freezer paper both shiny side up and shiny side down with my Silhouette. I preferred the shiny side up, but I really did not see a dramatic difference. I wish there was a setting for freezer paper, but if you don’t use your own custom setting, the closest one would be Washi Paper. When I ironed the freezer paper, I set my iron around 4 and no steam. (I would set the iron to be the same as the material being used.) At first, I thought it was going to be hard to iron down the rolled up mess, but if you start from one side and work your way to the other, it will work just fine. I don’t recommend starting from the middle. It’s kind of like pushing air out of a sandwich bag. You start from the bottom and work your way to the zipper top. When you get the paper ironed down, you can go back and press down any questionable spots. Once that paper is ironed down, it’s down.

Triforce Painted CanvasPainting the fabric was fun. I had to use two different brands of paint, due to color choices. The red and orange were Martha Stewart satin acrylic. The yellow was Craft Smart acrylic paint. I also used Martha Stewart’s Fabric Medium. (All paints were purchased at Michael’s with a coupon). The Martha Stewart paints were thick, but with the fabric medium they thinned out. The Craft Smart paint was already thin, so I only needed a few drops of the fabric medium. If you are using different colors and they are close to each other, here is a trick that I used. I took a post-it and placed it over the spot where the yellow triforce symbol was going to be painted. That way I wouldn’t accidentally get red paint on the yellow triforce spot. Before you start to paint, make sure that you put a piece of cardboard underneath the fabric, for the paint does seep through. First, I started with the red paint and did all the red areas. Second, I painted the orange. Lastly, I did the yellow. When painting each color, I painted the area and then went back and did a light second coat and made sure that I didn’t miss any spots. Now, I just needed to clean up the mess and wait 24 hours for the paint to dry. The next day, I peeled off the freezer. I used a straight pin to help pick up any stuck pieces. There were a few spots that bled a little more then I had liked, but I think it turned out great for my first try. I now have to heat set the paint. I grabbed an old bed sheet that I have been cutting up for scrap fabric, placed it underneath and on top of the painted fabric, and heat set the paint with my iron. Using the setting for the fabric and no steam,  I moved the iron back and forth for about 3 minutes and then flipped the fabric over and ironed it again for another 3 minutes. I am glad that I had the sheet over/under the fabric for the yellow paint barely lifted off. When I say lifted off, I don’t mean that the paint came off. When I looked at the sheet, I could see a very faint impression from the yellow paint.

Before I started sewing the pieces together, I decided I should probably Scotch Guard what will be the bottom of the bag. I laid down some newspaper, put the main fabric right side up, and then placed two pieces of newspaper over the painted parts leaving about a 3 inch strip. I sprayed the fabric and quickly removed the newspaper, because I didn’t want the ink from the newspaper to bleed onto the fabric. I put the fabric in front of a mini fan for about 5 minutes and it dried super quick.

Link Tote GreenOne of the things I love about tote bags like this one is you can make it reversible. As long as you pick out the right lining fabric, it can be done. If you are going to make it reversible and add a pocket, make sure that you measure where the pocket goes correctly. If you add gussets to the bottom, as I have, you want to make sure that you don’t sew the pocket on too low. Also, you don’t want to put the pocket too high, because items could fall  out of the pocket and worse…out of the bag.

 

 

Link Tote BlueTime to sew… I made the straps and sewed on the pocket to the lining. Then, I pieced everything together and sewed it all up. One thing I will mention about working with canvas drop cloth is the edges unravel if you are not careful. I would suggest sewing a small zig zag stitch along the edge or surge, if you have one. The most important part about making your sewing projects look professional is to make sure you utilize your iron. If you look at sewing blogs, the most repeated thing I read is about pressing your seams and ironing. It is an important step, so do it. Just saying.

Legend of Zelda TotebagsNow, which one do I use? Both, because they are equally awesome and it’s dangerous to go alone! Enjoy.

p.s. After doing a bit of research, the best tutorial I found is by Amy at Diary of a Quilter. Her website is great. She makes it simple and easy to understand. You can adjust the measurements and steps to fit your needs, if you know your way around a sewing machine.

*The Legend of Zelda, Triforce symbol, N64, and WiiU are all trademarked by Nintendo. My Little Pony is trademarked by Hasbro. Minecraft is trademarked by Mojang & Microsoft.

 

 

20% Cooler Than Your Average Skirt

Pony Fabric BoltI had been eyeballing this particular fabric by Springs Creative at JoAnn’s and Hancock’s online. Having your best friend on the look out for you helps too. The question was which place will have it available in-store first? JoAnn’s received it first. I wish it had been Hancock’s, because I love my local store. But, I kept them in mind when I used their 50% coupon at JoAnn’s. I love saving money!

I knew the first item I wanted to make with the fabric was a skirt for my daughter. I washed and ironed it and put it with my other fabrics. With the kids being home for summer break, I had to find a day to make the skirt. When we were at Target getting some last minute school supplies, we ran across an awesome Rainbow Dash shirt. My only wish is that it came in my size. Now that she had a shirt, I had to make a skirt to match.

My Little Pony SkirtBefore I started the skirt, I had to find out what color my daughter wanted for the pockets and which direction she wanted the fabric design. We both agreed to go with pink pockets to match “Pinkamena Diane Pie”. Since we were talking about Pinkie Pie, she decided that the bouncy Pinkie Pie would look better upside down, rather than Twilight Sparkle. With that decided, I inserted the pink pockets within the french seams. I made the skirt with an elastic waistband and inserted my tag inside the back, so she will know which direction to wear the skirt. I really love using a double needle on skirt hems. I thought it would be cool to use pink and purple, instead of just having both purple. I asked my daughter if she wanted the lines to be pink/purple or purple/pink, she went with the latter.

My daughter loves the skirt. I love that it only took 1/2 yard of material and was super easy. There are tons of wonderful tutorials on the internet, this is my favorite for making her skirts. Now, I am thinking about making a matching clutch. Enjoy.

Noodles Aren’t Just for Swimming.

Headboard FinishedWhen my son was little, (well, littler) we decided to buy him a bunk bed. I don’t know why. I am still trying to remember the reason. Anyway, his bunk bed has a metal frame. Because of this, his bed is surrounded in pillows so that we won’t wind up at the emergency room with a cracked skull.

Headboard UnderneathNow that he is getting bigger, he is running out of room in the bed and the pillows have to go. I knew that I wanted to make a headboard and footboard of some kind. During the Christmas sales, I purchased some fleece fabric the color of his room. It only took me 5 months to finally get around to making something. I knew that I needed it to be super padded, like the padding that you put around a football goal post or basketball goal. That was the thought process, anyway. I decided that a swimming noodle would be perfect. I measured the bed, fabric, extra fabric to fold over on the edge. After I did the math, I cut the noodle length. Then I cut it lengthwise, to the center, all the way across to accommodate for the metal bar.  I was torn between sewing on snaps or hooks & eyes to the fabric to hold it together. I went with hooks & eyes. When I was finished sewing them all on, I put the fabric on the footboard to see how it looks (before I started sewing the headboard). It looked good, but then my brain said, “You idiot. You could have saved all that time and just used big safety pins.” So, I listened to myself and did just that on the headboard. Oh well, you sew and you learn. By the way, the kids are having fun dueling with the leftover noodle pieces. Enjoy.

Hopefully, Foxes Do Not Snore.

Unfortunately, there is such a thing called allergies. My husband has had them all his life. Because of them, he will rub his eyes while he is asleep. He’s been sleeping with a t-shirt over his eyes, but I have decided that this will no longer do.  Since I am on my sewing kick. I got the idea to make him a sleep mask.

Fox MaskI dug through the “old shirts that can be potential dust rags” box and I found an orange cotton shirt that had a sharpie stain on it. I could have done a simple sleep mask, but that just wouldn’t be me. While I was searching for sleep mask tutorials and ideas, I saw a cute fox mask. Bingo. He wanted a narrow sleep mask. So, I found a pattern on Google, copied it into a program on my computer, stretched it, and then printed it out. I used that as a template and added ears. I found a white undershirt and used it for the face. After I sewed all the facial features, I put all the layers together, inserted elastic, and sewed it all together. Also, I added a strip of fabric to go around the back of the head for comfort. Overall, I think I did pretty good, since I made it all from scratch. I keep on saying, all you need is a little imagination. I am going to imagine that this fox does not snore and everyone will sleep well. Enjoy.

Sew Sorry, But…Can You Please Remove Your Shoes?

Sorry for the bad pun and for not posting any cookie pictures lately. Until the Mario cookies, this month, I hadn’t made any since Christmas. I have been having fun sewing. I bought myself another sewing machine, after my old one was about to drive me to throw it out the window.

House Shoes FeetHere is a little background on this project:
I needed to steam clean the carpets in the house.  We took all the furniture out of the living room and moved it into other rooms. It is amazing how noticeable dirty carpet is when you have moved everything out. After I steam cleaned the carpets, I decided that if I am going to make the carpet last, I will have to enforce a “no shoes inside” policy. It’s going very well so far. The kids are my carpet police. They are doing a great job, too.

Shoe CoverSo…if you are going to have this kind of rule in your house, then you have to have shoe covers (for when you have your shoes laced up and you forgot your keys on the counter) or house slippers (so you don’t have to wear socks or hurt yourself when you step on a Lego) . I made both. I did a TON of Google image searching. Finally, I found a couple of websites that I really liked. The shoe covers were pretty easy to make. For the ones in the picture, I used some material that I have had for about 20 years. A few suggestions, if you are going to make them. 1) When measuring, make sure you are using the bulkiest shoe you have. I used my husband’s Timberland boots, that way they would fit his shoes and mine. If you have kids, make them for the biggest shoe, the other kid(s) will make it work and eventually grow into them. 2) If you are using material that is difficult to feed elastic through, leave two holes when sewing the seam. Feed the elastic halfway, pull it through, and then finish feeding it back to the starting point. Then sew up both holes. 3) For the bottom to be flat, as you can see in the picture. I sewed a 2″ perpendicular line on both corners in the inside. Like the bottom of a purse or shopping bag. 4) If you plan on using something other than an old vinyl tablecloth, think about the weather in your area. If it rains a lot, you don’t want to use material that water will soak straight through. Then, what’s the point of making the covers?

House Shoes SWThe house slippers were very tedious because I added more steps to her pattern. A lot of cutting, pinning and sewing, but I was glad I made adjustments. A few tips…1) I suggest making the patterns out of thick paper (A paper bag or cereal box). I made two patterns, one for the vinyl and the other for the fabric and batting, (which I made only a 1/4″ bigger. She suggests sewing 1/2″ and then cutting off excess, but I hate to waste material and time.) 2) I cut out 3 pieces of fabric (she only has 2). I cut out the main print, one bottom piece (which does show a little, so make sure it matches main fabric print), and a generic middle piece (won’t be seen, unless your main fabric is white/see through). So, when you layer the pieces to sew (starting at top to bottom)…the main fabric with right side facing down… then right side of the bottom matching piece facing up… batting… and then generic piece. The reason I added a generic piece is because my machine does not grip batting very well. When you turn the material after sewing, the generic piece will end up on the inside, facing the wrong side of main fabric. (see picture) House Shoes Batting 3) Never pin vinyl! The holes will never disappear. I used snap hair clips.

I wear mine all the time and so does my daughter. My son, not so much. I may have to alter the “fabric between the toe” design for him and just have a thick strap across the foot. Maybe, if I am feeling adventurous on the next pair…LOL

Steering Wheel CoverP.S. I used some of the leftover Star Wars material and made a steering wheel cover. I never realized how much a cover helps with the hot sun. I am really going to love it this summer! Enjoy.

Roll Tide vs. War Eagle

Alabama_Auburn_FootballsSEC Football fans and Alabama residents will know what I mean when I say it is time once again for “The Iron Bowl” – the annual meeting of The University of Alabama and Auburn University on the college gridiron – on November 30th. Also, it’s time for my daughter to bring “Friday Snack” to school for her class. I’ve been thinking about these cookies since school started. When she was assigned this week to bring treats, the theme became a no-brainer.  I asked her teacher to give me a head count of who liked Alabama vs. Auburn. (The score was Alabama 14 vs. Auburn 8). Now, let the cookie making begin…

Alabama_Auburn_transfersI only have one thing to say about royal icing. Make it ahead of time. Getting the color to develop and be the perfect shade can take a few days. Well, it does for me anyway. Now, once I had the perfect shade of red, blue and orange it was time to start piping the transfers. Transfers are awesome!…but they are back killers too. Standing in one spot piping out 70 AU’s and 100 A’s takes a toll on you. After I finished with the transfers, I had to post on my FB…”These kids better LOVE these cookies. My back is killing me”…LOL

When you Google Alabama/Auburn cookies you get a lot of plain round cookies or a bunch of brown footballs. I wanted to do something unusual. So, I decided to do stenciled football cookies. For Auburn, whose mascot is a tiger, I wanted to stencil tiger stripes onto the footballs, but I couldn’t find the right stencil. So, I decided to do chevron instead. It’s super popular right now. Why not? Recently, I purchased a hounds-tooth stencil. Since I live in Alabama, I think it will come in handy. And it did for these cookies.

Alabama_Auburn_treat bagsI had to change my recipe for the icing and cookies. There are a few kids in my daughter’s class who have nut allergies, so I omitted the almond extract. “They taste good”, said my resident taste tester/husband. I made the cookies Wednesday night, so they would be cool to ice on Thursday morning. After I iced all the cookies and let them dry, I got out my airbrush machine. I had only used it a couple of times, so I still haven’t mastered it. I will say, I now have a typed out list of things to do before and after using it – like covering the whole area, because the color mists everywhere. And YES, I am a list maker and proud of it. After I airbrushed the cookies, attached the transfers and bagged up the cookies, I was done. Not really. I forgot to add… taking pictures for blog.

Also, in this post I am going to do something else unusual. I am going to talking about sewing. After the kids’ birthdays this summer, I took a break from making cookies. I rediscovered an old hobby…sewing. I have gone crazy over sewing…at least that is what my husband thinks. I have been buying supplies and a new sewing machine (Amazon had an offer I couldn’t refuse). My husband has been asking me when am I going to actually make something with all this stuff. So, I made a skirt. It has French seams, pockets, a double stitched hem and a label in the back with my logo and care instructions. Not bad, if I do say so myself.

Alabama_SkirtNow, I won’t tell you who my husband and kids root for, but I think the skirt for my daughter says it all. Enjoy.