Fun with crayons

January 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

So, I’m kinda vaguely settled into my flat now, even though the (sparse) furnishings tend to be moved around at least once a week because I am still not sure whether I really like them where they are or not. Plus there’s that thing where every available surface seems to end up covered in either fabric or sewing materials. My biggest issue is still my walls, blank as most of them are and me still not quite convinced drilling holes into them is a solution. Granted, one of them has to be semi-clear because unlike normal people who have TVs I use a projector for watching my shows. I’ve seen quite a few iterations of this wall decoration because my elementary school “art” classes have completely prejudiced me against a. crayons, b. paper plates, c. macaroni. So jury’s still out on this one, though I love the colors and the mirror detail in the center. Here’s more details about the project from The Shattered Lance.

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A gift for Vida

January 17, 2012 § 5 Comments

Technically, this is not a tutorial. More like a step-by-step cautionary tale about how things don’t always go as planned no matter how beautifully orchestrated your pre-project prep was. This is my most well-thought-out project to date. I started out all the planning in my head and set down the process on paper. Note: I am, and always will be, a writer. Where people look at the pictures on the instruction manual, I read the book from cover to cover. So my notes cover more space than my drawings.

I start my projects hyper-organized and get to hyper-chaos in a matter of minutes. This project was supposed to be a gadget organizer for Vida, who’s a bit of a gadget freak. And since we share a desk at work, this can get quite hectic. So I sized this to fit her iPad, mobile, notebook, possibly some wires and some A5 sized papers she might have lying around. Basically, folded size of the project would be 10 inches x 7.5 inches. Since I am chaotic, I decided to do all the prep work beforehand, that included cutting my materials (canvas and felt) to size for two major pockets and a mobile pouch. I allowed for a half inch seam on every side of the fabric to make allowances for my mistakes and ironed them so I’ll have a straight line to follow when sewing (genius, huh? except I learned all that from here).

Since one of the pockets had to hold an iPad, I made sure it had some padding, or in sewing parlance: batting.

My crafting table is a bit small so my dining table doubles as a cutting and measuring table 😀 Now for the fun part, putting the elements of the cover together. Since Vida is an artist, I chose to do the cover in canvas so she can draw or paint on it if she wanted to add her own touch to the thingamabob. Little did I know that my combination of felt and canvas would make problems for me later, as we will all soon find out. I also wanted to use a felt flower idea I found here.

Now for the smaller pockets. The original plan was to have a pouch for Vida’s mobile and an ingenius way of keeping wires and small gadgets together beside it.

So now, obviously, all this had to go on material that would stay firm despite the weight of all the gadgets it would soon hold. I decided to interface two pieces of felt together. Now remember, the cover is canvas fabric lined with black felt, which I also interfaced . . . you’re starting to see where the disaster is going to strike, right? But Lee, the genius craftster, wasn’t thinking of any of that at the moment, busy as she was with putting together this elastic weave she learned to do from here so Vida could easily carry her wires around without messing them up.

And then, I thought, it was time to finally rev up the old machine and get things going.

Two hours, three broken needles, half a dozen times of ripping off loose bottom stitches and trying to sew them again later, I had to admit defeat. The layers of material kept slipping from each other, the felt got caught on the teeth of the sewing machine and all my prep work was going down the drain. It was time to call my trusted friends:

There’s nothing in the world a slice of chocolate fudge cake and vanilla ice cream cannot solve. So, suitably fortified, I found my solution. Instead of all these doodads, I was just going to add a band she could put a notebook through and a mobile pouch. But first I had to learn the not-so-graceful art of snapping on snaps:

Everything looked okay so I slowly, very slowly, put everything together again. This time top stitching the felt side instead of the canvas. Now for a test drive.

Trust me, I don’t have a picture of it but I did a little happy jig after this and realized it was finally over. Vida’s gift was ready.

I was actually a bit sad once I put the ribbon on the gift. I learned a lot from this project.

1. Be flexible. Things don’t always have to go as you thought it should.

2. Never buy materials just for a specific project. Collect stuff as you go along and see where they fit in. Case in point: snaps.

3. Every project is a learning experience. This project was a mash-up of techniques I learned from everywhere and things I had to learn for myself.

All in all, I say this was one top-notch job 😉

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