Friday, April 29, 2011

Map Tags

Hitting the road?

Taking a vacation?

Or maybe just giving an awesome gift?

Vintage maps.  Recycled.
 Need I say more?

Fresh from these two little working hands.

Find them now in THE SHOP.

Talk about having strings attached...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Like a Calm, Cool Breeze

Just thinking about moving takes up a lot of mental space.  And--while I'm really not that stressed about it--I am stressed about it.  Then last night I finally got a good solid chunk of time to sit down and work on some things I've been wanting to get to for a little while now... and the serger and I got in a fight.

Final score: Serger 1, Katie 0.  

Grrr.  Either I'm getting really good at re-threading it... or I'm just really bad at re-threading it.  Hopefully I'll be able to talk to the nice lady in the store today and figure out which.  Let's just hope there's nothing really wrong with it.

Anyway, last night was frustrating.  But before all that happened, I finished this sweet, simple little shirt.  Looking at the pictures of it here now is calming for some reason.  Maybe because it was such an easy sew?  Maybe because it was made out of a thrifted crib sheet with a print I love?  Maybe because it looks so light and airy?  Probably all of the above.

I used this wonderful pattern from Leila & Ben. This pattern is just as cheap as any I found on Etsy but this one came highly recommended from the queen of making her own patterns for little girls clothes (so if she uses this pre-made pattern it must be worth it, right?) and I can now happily stand by that recommendation and pass it on to you.   

(Note: This is not a sponsored post.  I don't know the creator of the pattern and I'm not being compensated in any way for the nice things I'm saying about this pattern.  I just like it and want to share that info with you.)

Here are a few reasons why I love this pattern:
  • The directions are well-written and easy to follow and  feature plenty of helpful pictures.
  • The method of construction is quick, simple, and well thought out.
  • The pattern comes in sizes 12 months-5T.
  • The pattern is easy to alter and customize.
  • Since it's a PDF I can print it out as many times as I want (instead of having to carefully trace the pattern onto tissue paper).
  • It only costs $6 (many on Etsy cost around $10).
  • Once you buy it, you get to download it right away.  No waiting for e-mails or anything.  A little bit magical and totally satisfying?  Yes.
  • It's a really quick sew.

Like I said, I made this one from a thrifted crib sheet.  I had originally planned to just take out the elastic and use it on the neck and sleeves, but when I went to cut it I realized that the elastic was sewn in... uhh... a little too well.  So instead of cutting it off I decided to just use it as the bottom hem and go for a bubble shirt effect.  (Definitely inspired by Jess' version in this post.)

I'm really pleased with how it turned out.  Especially considering this was my first time using the pattern and I shortened it to be shirt length and added the crazy elastic bottom and it all came out just dandy.

The other little addition I made was just this bit of edge stitching on the sleeves.  I think it just makes the shirt look that much more professional.

Oh, and my last favorite thing about this shirt?  It has an elastic neckline.  So my big-head child that holds her breath when a shirt goes over her head won't freak out.  Awesome.

And it'll fit for a long time.  
Double awesome.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lots to do

Oh.  My.

If all goes through as planned, we could be moving in less than two months.

Which means we have a lot to sell.  And a lot to think through.  And a lot of paperwork ahead of us.  And a lot of hours in the car with a kid who hates being in the car.

But, of course, what do I have on the brain?

All the stuff I want to make before we leave.  :)

Or in other words, all the stuff I want to use up my stash on before we leave.

I'm on a mission to make things for the shop and the self and the Bolivia and the husband and the new place.  (Ok, maybe not so much the husband.  He never really wants anything.)

Wish me luck.  :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Identity Crisis and Things I'm Grateful For

I love my handmade tags.  Love love love them.  But about fifteen times a week now I think about taking the plunge and ordering some professional ones.  I couldn't justify it before because I wasn't even making things to sell, but now that I do have my little shop, it would sure make the process go a lot faster if I didn't have to iron and fold and sew the edges down on every little tag.  You know?

But here's the thing.  If I did order professional tags, I'd have no idea what to put on them.  I love my little "kl(heart)" logo (in the photo above), but I'm not sure how much it belongs on my stuff.  Sure, it's my initials, but nothing about it is going to let people know where to go to buy more of it.  (Though, in my head, I imagine that someday these tags of mine will be called "vintage originals" or something and anything with one on it will be worth millions.)  

So what do I put on the tags?  "Notes From A Very Red Kitchen" is waaaaaay too long.  And, really, it's the name of my blog and not my shop.  But, even still, "From The Red Kitchen" is a bit of a mouthful to put on a tiny little tag too.  And abbreviations are out because "NFAVRK" and "FTRK" both look stupid and remind me more of farts and swear words than anything else.

And so I'm left not really knowing what to do.  I've thought about just having the tags say "red," but that kind of seems dumb.  I don't know.  Bryan says I should just come up with a logo specific to my shop and use that.  And he's probably right... but I'm not there yet.

A word of wisdom to all you budding bloggers out there: pick a short and simple name.  You never know if it's going to turn into a business and, if it does, you'll thank yourself a million times over.
Though, truth be told, if I had known back when I started ye olde blog back in 2008 that it was going to be what it is now, I still have no idea what I would have named it.

Your thoughts on all this?

And in other, completely unrelated news, I'm looking forward to the day when our bedroom will be this clean again.  Sadly, that day probably won't be until we move out.  But, in the mean time, here are a few things from this past weekend that I'm grateful for:
  • Bryan graduated with his bachelors degree!  (Uhh... sort of.  He still has to take 2 more classes which is why we're not gone yet.)
  • Bryan's mom and little brother came into town for graduation (and his sister was already here) and it was super fun to have them around.
  • My mom and step-dad came into town for Bryan's graduation and it was super fun to have them around.
  • We got to see my step-brother and his fun wife and their sweet little boy who I hadn't met yet (he's a little older than Olivia).
  • My nightmares (for real) did not come true.  It did not snow.
  • We finally got to have our first big outdoor yard sale!!!!!  (See note above about not snowing.)
  • We sold a ton of stuff at the yard sale!
  • One of my sweet readers came to the yard sale to meet me.  So sweet.  (Although, as it turns out, I think I'm a lot cooler here than in real life.)
  • My parents and Bryan's family were super awesome about helping carry stuff up and down three flights of stairs and over two parking lots just so we could sell things at the yard sale.
  • And they babysat our child while I stood out in the cold with my parents and bartered with the good people of... the town I live in.
  • Bryan and I have started making preliminary plans of what we're actually going to take with us when we move and all the millions of things we still need to get rid of try and sell.
  • Our families arrived safely back at home after their visit here.
  • We had a nice calm Easter Sunday.
  • My good friend and his family invited us over for dinner yesterday and it was amazing.  Probably because his sister cooked all the food.  Too bad she lives in Hawaii and can't invite us over for food more often.  Uhh... I mean too bad she lives in Hawaii and we can't see her more often.
  • We got to say one last goodbye to my BFF and Olivia's BFF before they move away forever to Wisconsin.
  • Bryan only has two classes left to take.  And only one is on campus.
  • Today is vacation Monday.  Woot woooooot!
Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Ruffle Bookmarks Tutorial

I like simple things.
Easy things.
Things that are quick to make.

Ruffle Bookmarks?

Are just such a thing.

They're great for giving as gifts.

Or keeping for yourself.

And since they're so fast and easy to make, 
you might as well do both.

All you need are some fabric scraps and basic sewing supplies.

Let's make some.

Terms of use: For personal use only.  Thanks!  :)
1. Choose your fabric scrap, cut it into a rectangle (whatever size you want), and iron it.
2. Cut the short ends with pinking shears.
3. Change the stitch length on your sewing machine to be as long as possible.
4. Making sure not to backstitch when you start or stop, sew two parallel rows of basting/gathering stitches on each side of the center line.  (I just eyeballed it.)

5. Insert a pin on one end like so.
6. Each row of stitching will have a top thread and a bottom thread sticking out on each end.  Grab both of the top threads on one end.
7. Wrap those top threads around your pin in a figure eight pattern.  This will keep everything in place while you create your gathers.
8. Repeat steps 5-7 on the opposite end of your bookmark.

9. Using one hand to hold on to one end of your bookmark, use your other hand to pull the loose bottom threads on that end.  Your bookmark will begin to scrunch up, creating ruffles.
10. Continue pulling the bottom threads from each end and smoothing things out until your have the desired amount of ruffles.  Once your ruffles make all your dreams come true, wrap those bottom threads around the same pins as the top threads in a figure eight pattern.
11.  Change the stitch length on your sewing machine so it's back to normal.
12. Making sure to backstitch as you begin and end, sew a straight line right down the middle of your bookmark.  This will keep all those lovely ruffles in place.
(Note: As much as possible, try not to stitch over your little figure eight threads.  They're a pain to get out if you sew over them.  I recommend just skipping over that part all together.)

13. Carefully pull out your rows of basting/gathering stitches (i.e. NOT the tidy little row of stitching down the center line).
14. Use those pinking shears to trim around the long edges of your bookmark as necessary.
15. Admire your pretty Ruffle Bookmark.
16. Put it to good use.  :)

As usual, the process takes way longer to explain than to actually do.  I'd say if you weren't interrupted by an 18 month old every two seconds you could finish one in about 5-10 minutes.


These little bookmarks would be perfect for slipping inside a book in an Easter basket!  Or for hiding inside an Easter egg.  :)
Looking for more? 

If you're a great lover of all things ruffled, be sure to check out the rest of the Ruffled Up projects over at See Kate Sew!
And a big hello to all of you coming over from there!

If you're looking for more fun Easter-related tutorials, be sure to check out my Easter Stuff Round-Up from earlier this week.  
There you'll find a bunch of fun tutorials and an awesome coupon code to THE SHOP!
And if you're just looking for more tutorials in general, just click on 
the "Tutorials" tab in the yellow bar at the top!


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Inside An Easter Egg

Still looking for some fun, original goodies that will fit inside an Easter egg?  

Perhaps my sponsors can help you out!

I've hand-picked a few items that I would love to find inside an Easter egg.

 This fun Clover Lotus hair clip (and a number of others) 

These delicate Elegant White Drops earrings (and many others) from From Wonderland

What are you putting inside your 
Easter eggs this year?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Easter Stuff Round-up

I thought I'd do a quick little round up of my own tutorials and shop items that might be helpful for all you Easter lovers out there.  So this is basically a round up full of anything that might be fun to make or buy for Easter... or anything that might just be fun to find inside an Easter egg.  :)

(Click on the picture to go to the tutorial or product.)

Fun things that will fit inside an 
Easter egg

Crocheted Fabric Bracelet

Easy Easter Basket Alternatives

Mega Easy T-Shirt Bag

More fun things to add to an 
Easter basket

Easter Basket Goodies Available in 
The Shop

Lots of fun Handmade Buttons
available in individual sets and color combo packs

Scallop Edge Handmade Button in Classic White

Bundles of Vintage Zippers
(on sale!)

Printable Alphabet Flashcards
(e-mailed right to you!)

 Printable Number Flashcards
(e-mailed right to you!)

 Printable Shapes Flashcards
(e-mailed right to you!)

Printable Colors Flashcards
(e-mailed right to you!)

Printable Weather Matching Game
(e-mailed right to you!)

Washed Out In The Rain 
handmade zipper pouch

Fresh Pastry Pouch
handmade zipper pouch

Priscilla Pencil Pouch
handmade zipper pouch

Enter the coupon code "EASTER" and get free shipping on all orders placed between now and Easter!


Have fun putting 
together those Easter baskets!