Friday, November 23, 2012

The Sewing Project - Black Pirate Dew Rag

by Kelly

Today is Black Friday, which means I will be staying out of harm's way by avoiding retail storefronts until the shopping mania is over. I participated in one Black Friday, years ago, when I was getting off work at 6 AM and was already awake and functional for the biggest shopping event of the year. Never again. Or at least, not unarmed.

Crafting stores in general seem to be the exception to the Black Friday rule.They know their audience, and they understand that their demographic will be far too busy struggling in hand to hand combat over that last 'Tickle Me Elmo' doll to even think about their current crafting needs.

Speaking of crafting stores, when three of us here from Three Strands Together were in Joann's Fabric recently, we saw this must have fabric for my piratey husband:

The three of us all had the same thought - this fabric was made for my piratey husband. But what could I possibly do with it?

My husband is a biker, as in a motorcycle rider, so wooly scarves and, heaven forbid, mittens, aren't really his style, and that means that I have never made him a homemade gift. On the other hand, he does like to wear something under his helmet to prevent 'helmet hair', and that something is called a dew rag. Or DooRag. Or however the spelling is supposed to go.

So I went to a site called sewingartistry, and found a pattern to print out:

And then I found some black fabric to use as a liner for this somewhat transparent top fabric, and cut that out in the pattern shapes as well:

And now I'm off to Donna's house to tap into her sewing expertise, because frankly I don't have a clue how to go about this. More on that in an upcoming post.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Gingerbread Men Christmas Ornaments

by Kelly

Since we usually put up our Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving, I went back to a project I had put aside: small gingerbread men.

Of course, for the last couple of years we've used a live tree, so our Christmas decorating might be slightly delayed. Artificial trees can go up any time, but real ones don't age well, and I'm pretty soft-hearted, so that bugs me. I always feel a little twinge of sorrow when I'm vacuuming up loads of pine needles around the poor tree hacked down in its prime and dragged from its clean scented woodland home to suffer indignities of tinsel and garish lights in its dying days.

Anyway, back to the gingerbread men ornaments. These poor guys have suffered many crafting setbacks.

First, I couldn't get a nice outline with my chalk pencil. I have never had much luck with chalk pencils, and a long discussion with my mom has convinced me that I'm  not alone in my troubles. She showed me her large collection of unsatisfactory chalk bits and pieces, gathered over five decades of sewing, and said that she has never understood why she couldn't get the hang of drawing on fabric with the stuff. Maybe it's genetic. I eventually settled on using a black Sharpie instead. To heck with tradition, anyway.

My second problem with these ornaments was that I couldn't get the crisp fabric edge that I was looking for. The frayed linen edges made me pretty unhappy. I solved that problem with iron-on fusible webbing.

And then, for some reason, I had trouble with the embroidered faces. The early ones had 'creepy doll eyes syndrome', even though I wasn't using buttons. I may eventually specialize in creepy eyed dolls, since I seem to be able to produce them with very little effort.

At any rate, I'm pretty satisfied with them now. I think they'll look very nice on our Christmas tree. Which will actually come from a Christmas tree farm, by the way, and whoever owns that farm will be really grateful for an influx of cash so he can keep the lights on and put a turkey dinner on the table for his family.

There, that makes me feel better. First wave of Christmas guilt successfully battled!  'Tis the season.

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