Thursday, October 12, 2017

Used-to-Be's: Cardboard Upcycling

Not to ignore the fact that I haven't blogged here for a couple of years (yikes!), but yes, I haven't been all that "crafty". And feeling thus that given the length of my stay on earth, scary words like "arthritis" may be looming in the horizon, I have, of late, felt the urgency to catch up.

For now, while my sewing projects are still underway, let me show you some of my cardboard upcycling projects. I cringe at my use of "project" because all these were done in less than a day but...

This one used to be a Cheerios box. Now it is a wall organizer for my daughter's Kumon worksheets. They are provided with bags, which are handy to bring with them to the center, but at home, it is easier to monitor her with this wall organizer.

"Give it a try! Or you will never discover your true potential!"
~ Toru Kumon

To your left is a caddy for sticky notes; it used to be a vitamin box. To your right is a scrap paper caddy; it used to be a box of crackers. I made these boxes for my daughter who is in college. At different stages in their lives, our children need different modes and levels of support from us, their parents. For my college-aged children, it seems that outside of praying for them, buying their clothes and other school needs, and preparing meals, I am relegated to t-h-i-s.

"When your mother asks, 'Do you want a piece of advice?' it is mere formality.
It doesn't matter if you answer yes or no. You're going to get it anyway."
~ Erma Bombeck

Finally, these bookmarks used to be a cool accordion-type of advertising booklet by a top shoe brand. We have ogled and gawked at it long enough, so it was time to make something else out of it.

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You're on your own, and you know what you know.
And you are the guy who'll decide where to go."
~ Dr. Seuss

And! Here, let me give you a peek of what I have been up to. I have made some progress since this photo was taken, but I ran out of thread. Yikes. 

I got the stitchery pattern from Rhonda's Down to Earth blog. Here is the link to the pattern.

Happy stitchin' and craftin'! I hope to be back soon!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

An Exercise in Frugality

A sad-looking potholder:

A leftover piece of patchwork from long ago. I cut it to the shape of the potholder. 
(You can read the story of the patchwork here.)

Christmas fabric from my stash:

A "new" and happy-looking potholder:

Monday, September 14, 2015

A Thing for Things Old

If I can have my way, I will be surrounded by old things. Old furniture, old kitchen and dining linen, old decors, and old books. Old things connect us to the past's values, lifestyle, and beliefs. And having known yesterday and lived today, we can make the connection to the future, and possibly have a hand at its ways of thinking and living. That's my case for heirlooms.

Heirlooms are not necessarily expensive. They just need to bear meaning and memories from the past, so that in keeping the past, we who own those heirlooms today, may lovingly bequeath them to the future.

I had a little adventure with an heirloom over the past week. It is a throwpillow case/cover that my mother-in-law crocheted when the hubby and his siblings were kids. She passed it on to me together with two pairs of crocheted curtains. The curtains are still in good condition, but the throwpillow cover has holes from stitches unraveled but not mended.

Honest, I took a BEFORE photo of the throwpillow cover, but for some unknown reason, the photo got deleted.

Then I chanced on a doily that I had bought just a few years ago, but never regularly used. The doily is stained, but I can take care of that in the future. It can even stay stained permanently. There's a bit of charm there. I thought that since the doily didn't manage to settle in as a doily, I might as well patch the throwpillow cover with it.

Same story about the doily's BEFORE photo.

The rest of the story is in the following photos:

My daughter thinks that I should have sewed the doily to the throwpillow cover with white thread. Hmm, I think now that she is right, but I will keep it as it is.

The floral fabric is from my stash. The buttons are brand new :-).

I often have difficulty in finding time to sew. With this project, however, I just dropped everything and sewed. Maybe we'll use it around the house for a few years, then it can find its way to the hope chest of one of my daughters, and one day further on, to one of their homes.

Can you take one more photo?  Here you go!

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Modesty Flap

A couple of years ago, Eldest Daughter attended a student conference, and had to dress up corporate style. We went on a rush shopping trip, and bought her a standard black skirt and a long-sleeved blouse.

You will see the blouse below. I apologize at the onset for the crumpled look; honestly, Eldest Daughter has not worn it since the conference and she won't be wearing it in the near future, so I really didn't feel like ironing the blouse. Why add to my mountain of clothes to be ironed :-)

Anyway, here is the blouse. We both liked the style and the fabric, but we had a problem. The neckline.

Here's a closer look. The neckline is low-cut and doesn't stay flat. So, standard-looking and pretty the blouse may appear to be, it does give the wearer modesty concerns. And rightly so.

We looked around for more blouse options, and we found none. So I decided to just do some tweaking and came up with the modesty flap.

The difficulty in taking your photos AFTER a sewing project is done is that you end up with a less than ideal tutorial. Let me try my best, though.

That five-sided white cloth (marked with blue lines) attached to the blouse's neckline is the modesty flap. I cut out a white handkerchief and hemmed the 5 sides (the blue lines are where the stitches are) to keep the fabric from unraveling.

Then I attached the flap to the neckline (marked with the red line). It is important to stitch right on the original stitches of the blouse so you don't have two rows of stitches seen on the outside after you have attached the flap.

Note that the flap is attached to the V- neckline on only one side of the V because this is a button-down blouse. If this were a V-neck t-shirt worn over one's head, the flap may be sewn on both sides of the V if the resulting opening will allow enough space for the head as one puts on the t-shirt.

When one puts on the blouse, does the buttons first, then attaches the flap to the other side of the V-neckline using a snap sewn where the flap meets the other side. In the photo below, the snap is marked by a small red circle.

Finally, this is how the modesty flap appears when the blouse is buttoned up and the snap pressed onto the blouse.

According to my daughter, the flap did not restrict her movements, and it actually helped her knowing that the neckline did not compromise her modesty every time she makes the slightest movement.

I hope that somehow, this post will be of help to moms trying to teach their daughters how to practice modesty and to keep their bodies temples of the Holy Spirit.

Thanks for dropping by!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Not a Cleaning Rag-To-Be

One of the sewing activities that I love doing is converting old pieces of clothing to cleaning rags. A house can never have enough cleaning rags. Never.

Well, maybe almost never.

Pink and lilac florals from an old piece of clothing just have to find their way to a rustic looking, unassuming, and no-doubt-about-it-handsewn throwpillow. Cleaning rags can wait.

Of course, I also happened to have a generous piece of white cotton from the days when I sewed baby clothes (my youngest is in grade six), so that sealed the decision.

Pink and lilac florals + white cotton cloth + lilac thread = front side of a throwpillow cover.

Check these out :-)

After not being able to sew for ages, I am just so glad to do something like this, never mind that it's running stitches galore.

The back side of the throwpillow cover will come from a pretty pink checkered kitchen towel, which I am prematurely retiring.

It's a project in the making, that's for sure, and I am hoping that I will be able to show you the finished product soon!

'Hope your Easter Season is coming along joyously! 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Home, Haven, and Petite Table Napkins

Around this time last year, I was blessed with the opportunity to attend a retreat in a quiet, brilliantly designed, and tastefully decorated conference center. The retreat, as I had expected, was spiritually enriching and an excellent preparation for Lent.

Aside from the spiritual component, however, the retreat was also a lesson for me on how a well-managed and efficiently run home can make it easier for family members to interact with each other more meaningfully, to be ready to perform their duties as students, workers, and professionals, and to find the peace and quiet that is helpful for study and moments of personal reflection.

The place was immaculate. Furnishing was simple and functional, and elegant but not ostentatious. Meals were hot, filling, and nutritious as they were delicious. The seamless operations that had to be carried out to make the place what it is, though, were all done quietly, hardly noticeably, and with refinement and remarkable attention to details. If my home can be but a fraction of what that place is, my duties as a homemaker would have been complied with many times over.

Let me now make the connection between home and haven with petite napkins :-)

Afternoon snacks (merienda) were served with petite cloth table napkins. That's right, smaller than the standard-sized napkins used for regular meals. And cloth ones, too. It was a novelty for me, and I never forgot it.

So when a store that I frequent unexpectedly sold uniformly sized fabric scraps, I knew I had my material for petite table napkins.

Notice that the edges have been sewn with overlock stitches. I had considered merely finishing the hem on all sides, but decided otherwise because the rounded corners will make it difficult.

So I crocheted blanket stitches around the sides, and thought that okay! I have my petite napkins.

But then... not having touched a crochet hook in many years, I felt compelled to well, go on crocheting :-)

Those are just chain stitches with every fifth chain hooked onto the first layer made up of blanket stitches. That looks better than the flat blanket stitches, right? The additional layer passed off as decorative stitches, and the sides of the table napkin don't look so flat anymore.

I would have wanted to do some real, fluffy looking crocheted scallops, but my capabilities do not make that possible right now :-(

These are full views of a finished petite table napkin.

So far, I have finished six petite napkins, just enough for my family.

And I am just so grateful that I have enough fabric scraps to make a little over a dozen petite table napkins!

When I'm done with all of them, we can have the grandma and aunt over for merienda. I would want to show off my petite napkins, right?

How do you pretty up your table napkins?

Isn't it amazing how caring for little details around the home can make a big difference?    

What little detail in your own home have you given extra attention to and in so doing, made a whole lot of difference?

Mary, Queen of the Family, pray for us. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Cheering Up a Tired-Looking Kitchen Towel

That's a pretty long title to describe a quick and simple project.

Anyway, this is the tired-looking kitchen towel.

This is scrap fabric from Youngest Daughter's shorts that I had cut up, hoping to refashion it to a skirt (someday)...

... and the sewing staples are needle, embroidery thread, and scissors.

This is the finished product...

... and these are the closer shots.

Chain stitch for the letters, satin stitch for the hearts
Blanket stitch for the cupcake patch 

There, that's not a tired-looking kitchen towel anymore, is it?

On hindsight:

~ I could have given the kitchen towel a good soak and handwashing before sewing on it; that would have helped retrieve some of the brightness of the colors of the fabric.

~ I wrote "sweet cupcake" directly on the fabric. If you like, you can write it on paper and perfect the letter forms before transferring the design using carbon paper. Did you notice that the "ee" in "sweet" is a bit bunched up? If you are like me, though, you can live with a little imperfection :-)

Some variants:

Flowers, fruits, and herbs are common prints. If you happen to have scrap fabric with these prints and wish to do a similar project, here are some suggestions for what you can stitch: lovely rose/s, dainty daisy/ies, juicy orange/s, yummy banana/s, sweet basil, and happy herbs.  

Happy sewing!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Reversible Placemats

I bought some patchwork pillowcases some weeks back because I liked the prints and felt that I could do something with the fabrics once I've ripped them apart.

Now, ripping a finished product back to its semi-original form takes time and effort, and somewhat lacking in practicality, too. So after I was done with that, I stacked the fabrics for awhile. I mean, it had been tiring, and while my thumb was hurting from using the ripping tool for an extended period, I did contemplate on whether I should have bought new fabric outright, period. Continued ripping, I did, though, because well...

That long introduction over, let me just say that I made a reversible placemat out of one pair of the fabric patches. Just one because it was a Monday, and you know how Mondays are. I have fabric left for about eight more placemats, though, and the coming weekend is the time to work on them (I hope).

Enough with words. Here are the photos.

If you got this far, thank you for keeping me company! Visit again soon!