Sew-er Guilt?

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I once talked about “sweater guilt” on the blog – the guilt I feel when I buy or receive a manufactured sweater instead of knitting one for myself, especially if I really love the new sweater! Well, I have now been struck by sew-er guilt!

I have made a few of my kids’ Halloween costumes over the years. My daughter’s second Halloween costume was handmade – the cutest cowgirl costume ever! It was made from a flannel cow print remnant and an old black pleather coat I owned. I took two years off (I was VERY pregnant the next year, then had a year old baby the next) and then I decided I wanted to sew costumes for them as much as possible. For my daughter’s first year of school (preschool) she wanted to be a Care Bear. So, I created a Care Bear costume, complete with a fat white belly with a belly badge and even a tuft of hair on the top of her head! My son was (and is still!) a huge dog fan and wanted to be a puppy, so he was a white puppy with floppy ears, a long tail and brown spots. Next came my daughter’s new-found fascination of all things Princess! With her dark hair, she would have been a great Belle, but instead wanted Snow White – which worked for me! (And if you click the link to check out the Snow White costume, you will see the puppy dog costume on my son. Yep, he insisted on wearing it two years in a row!)

So, when we started to approach Halloween this year, I started asking the kids what they wanted to be. My daughter wanted to be a witch – but a pretty witch, not a scary witch. She started perusing the costume catalogs, looking for the perfect costume. I figured I would sew it for her after we settled on a look. My son wanted to a fireman. That was easy enough. He received a fireman playset for Christmas, which included the helmet and jacket – although the jacket was HUGE on him! I even found him some fireman boots at Once Upon A Child to make the costume complete.

And then, I realized that, try as I might, I couldn’t produce the kind of costume my daughter wanted for as cheap as I could buy the costume. She wanted foofy skirt, ribbons and tulle. I just kept thinking of all the material I would have to buy! So, I gave in. I went to the store with her and we picked out her witch costume. I didn’t craft ANY of it. She is cute in it, though!

So, I resigned myself to the fact that my kids wouldn’t be sporting anything homemade this year. And oh, the guilt! I looked at those costumes and cringed. I even tried to convince my son to let me make him a new fireman coat that fit, but he wasn’t having anything to do with that!

I couldn’t believe how strong the guilt was! And I have noticed it at other times, too. I bought my daughter a fleece coat and wondered why I didn’t just make her one. Of course, the fact that she needed it ASAP was why, but still, I had guilt. I have looked at PJs for the kids and wondered why I am not just making them. And PJ pants for me, too. I know I just need to cut myself some slack. I have a ton going on. My wrists are not great lately and I need to take it easy on them when it comes to the wrist-stressing stuff  – including cutting with scissors and hand stitching. And really, if it is faster and easier and cheaper to buy something that isn’t going to be a keep sake, I need to just realize I need to give in and just buy the item.

Oh, and my son’s costume? Today, the day we planned to take them to our annual Halloween festival in our town, he changed his mind and decided he wanted to be A PUPPY! Of course! But the costume he wore the last two years just wasn’t going to fit this year. So, at the last minute, we were running to the store for a costume. And the puppy costume we found was ugly! Even he looked at it and scrunched up his nose, then suggested we go to another store! But, I seized the opportunity! I ran to the boys clothing department, found a brown fleece hoody and matching pants, ran to JoAnn’s for some brown fleece, and headed home to pull out the scissors and sewing machine! And, when all was said and done, I sewed at least part of his costume! It may only have been the tail and ears and they may only be held on by safety pin (so the outfit can be worn without ears and tail!) but it works! He wore it tonight and actually got a few compliments on it. Isn’t it cute???

He mentioned being a dinosaur next year. I know he will change his mind – possibly many times! – between now and then, but I admit to already daydreaming about how to turn my little monster into a dinosaur!

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Adventures In Paper Cutting

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As I mentioned in my last post, we have a very small house. Our dining room is actually the front half of our living room, divided only by the couch. We really only have one actual wall in the dining room (there is a little partial wall, too, and cabinet on the other main wall) and it was bare. I hated looking at it. So, something needed to be done. I thought about framing pictures of the kids for the wall, but then started seeing some fabulous silhouettes and was inspired!

As our house is decorated in “fall” colors, I decided not to do the traditional black silhouettes. Instead, I chose a chocolate brown. I purchased a few sheets of thick scrapbooking paper and a coordinating stripe. Then, I stood my children against a closet door and took numerous pictures of them. I figured out which I liked best, printed them in black and white, used a pencil to outline the actual part of the photo I wanted to use and used that as my pattern for cutting.

I taped the printed picture to the scrapbooking paper to hold it steady. I used an Exacto knife on my cutting mat and slowly and carefully trimmed around each of the pictures. When I was done, I used photo mounting tape to attach the silhouettes to the backing that had been cut to fit my chosen frame. I then decided to cut mats from another sheet of the brown paper. This was actually the biggest challenge for me and I had to do it twice to get it right! Then I got it mounted and had my husband hang them. I LOVE them!

003 I mounted them facing each other.

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My daughter.

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My son.

I have since contemplated finding a side view of Santa and Mrs. Claus and making silhouettes of them as Christmas decorations! I was thinking green for the silhouettes and a pattern Christmas paper underneath? I just don’t know if my husband would go for that, though! 🙂

Fall Is Here!

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Fall is finally here! I LOVE fall! I love the colors, the scents, the cool, crisp air. All of it is so comforting and cozy for me. Although we had a run of near 90 degree temps leading up to fall, the weather finally seems to have changed, it has cooled off, windows can now be opened and leaves are starting to turn. And, when fall starts to make an appearance, I also get the urge to start crafting! I have already shown you some of the sewing I did earlier. But, as I mentioned in that post, the fabric I used was actually just scrap fabric from another project!

I am in a book club with some awesome women! And I finally got to host! Eek! My first thought – what do I need to make or do to make my house feel cozier? Knowing that I had about a month really got me moving. Our house actually works well with fall colors. We have lots of oranges, teals, reds, and browns already, so adding some fall colors with fabrics would not only help transition us to fall, but would actually work well all year long. I had to decide just where to focus my crafting on, though. And the dining room table, where we will gather for our book club, was my first focus.

I knew I needed something on my table. I thought about just getting a vase of fall flowers for the center, but that wasn’t quite enough. I thought about a table cloth, but those are more of a pain for me than they are worth it. Then I decided on a table runner. But I didn’t a long table runner. I wanted something more for the center of the table. I looked on websites, but couldn’t really find what I wanted. So, why not do what I do best? Sew one!

Once I found the right fabric, it came together quickly and easily. I decided to quilt one. Now, I am not a quilter. I pretty much fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to quilting. I searched for a pattern online for a table runner, but just couldn’t find what I wanted. So, I made it up! I found the description for a disappearing nine-patch and used that. I added the white border (it actually has a pattern to it, but it is hard to see) to get it to the size I wanted. Each of the three blocks are different, but all use the same fabrics. I quilted it on my machine (although I am not very good at that part yet. But I have wrist issues, so I don’t know if I could really manage to do hand quilting) and even made my own binding! Here it is!

IMG_0090 Two of the three blocks.

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Showing the backing.

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A better view of the binding.

And, along with the table runner, I also made some quick and easy floral wire pumpkins. I used the tutorial from a guest blogger on Someday Crafts for the wire pumpkins. I bought rolls of brown floral wire at Michael’s and cut them into pieces, then followed the directions. I do wish I had more wire (I may get another roll or two – they were not every expensive) to fill them out even more. I made a total of three – two smaller ones for the table and a larger one for the entry. The two smaller look so nice on the table runner! And, with the addition of some flowers in fall colors, the table is perfect!

The finished table runner with accessories!

A close up of one of the smaller pumpkins.

The pumpkin in the entryway. (You can see how the rings sort of slant. I think that is because there aren’t enough rings.)

Our house is tiny and needs a lot of work done, but it amazes me how a few simple projects can make the house feel so much warmer and homier. Stay tuned for one more project I did for the dining room! It is one of my favorites!