Sunday, June 2, 2013

First Post Ever!

I like to make things. Who doesn't? But I don't have all that much experience crafting, and a few weeks ago I had no idea how to use a sewing machine at all. (I took a sewing class as a teenager, but never picked it up at all...and quit after I broke several of the sewing machines. True story.) I do cook and bake a lot, but I'm always interested in learning new techniques, especially in the area of desserts and cake decorating. I have had the urge to create for some time now, and have been trolling the internet obsessively for stuff I can learn to do without much knowledge or experience. I have also always loved writing, and I feel like I've been getting rusty lately for lack of practice, so I've decided to collect my ideas here for homemade projects I've heard/read about that I would like to try. Kind of like a Pinterest board, only with more words. I plan to document future plans as well as reports of stuff I've done and how they turned out.
Two months ago, I got my husband to teach me the basics of machine sewing (he can figure out any kind of machine without being taught, lol) and will be trying out different easy projects on my 40-year-old Pfaff machine inherited from my mom, who no longer has the eyesight or patience to sew. I have been saving fabric items such as clothing and bed linens that are headed for the garbage can and using the scraps to experiment. I sewed several little doll clothing items for my daughter's babies, with mixed results, and learned from my mistakes. I will keep looking out for stuff I can construct with minimal ability, and hope to eventually create something wearable for my children.
My most successful craft project to date has been a lovely felt flower hair clip I made for my daughter, based on a tutorial I found over at iCandyhandmade. I made two of the flowers out of red felt and used hot glue to hold the pieces together and attach them to a clip side by side, and used some yellow thread to stitch a somewhat sloppy little dot in the centers of the flowers. The tutorial actually calls for stitching the petals together and sewing a button to the center, but my hand sewing skills being what they are (a.k.a. virtually nonexistent) I ended up not catching all of the layers in my stitches and not managing to sew it well enough for the ones I did sew through to hold properly, hence the glue. It looks great, if I say so myself!
As an aside, I prefer to use hot glue rather than the fabric glue called for in most fabric projects that aren't sewn, because I think it holds better and, more importantly, dries a lot quicker. I'm not one to wait around until the glue dries. So a $2.99 mini glue gun it is. I caused a minor explosion that busted one recently and was super glad it wasn't much of an investment to replace. Cheap and cheerful, that's how we roll around here.
I'm the lucky mom to three lovely and lively kiddos and I'm thrilled to be able to live my longtime dream of staying at home with them. Lately, though, I've been feeling a bit more of a need for a creative outlet other than cooking their meals and putting together Lego projects with my boys. I used to get my creative fix by shopping around and concocting adorable outfits for my babies, but it's become rather hard on my budget to assemble exactly the right shoes and accessories I envision to pull an outfit together, hence my new-found interest in crafting.
What I hope to do here is compile ideas for things that a beginner can pull together easily with limited time and limited materials. I don't have a lot of time to do stuff without my one-year-old getting into it, nor do I have patience with projects that have too many steps or too much waiting time. I prefer to do things I can start and finish in one session rather than those I have to work on in shifts, though I may occasionally share a more involved project, provided the steps are simple enough for the inexperienced.
My crafting budget at the moment is microscopic to invisible, so my projects will probably be limited to things I can make using recycled materials from around the house or that I can buy very cheaply, like that glue gun referenced above. I don't really do thrift stores due to an entirely unreasonable, admittedly ridiculous, yet insurmountable aversion to stuff other people have worn or used. Instead, I try to save anything I can avoid throwing away that I think I can make something cooler out of with a minimum of fuss and mess.
I much prefer to make stuff that is useful or at least wearable, rather than purely decorative. All the better if it's both! I haven't yet had the confidence to give anything I've made as a gift, but maybe one day as I get more into this crafting thing, I will. It's a goal, I guess. I also plan on sharing recipes and cooking techniques that sound interesting to me, as well as projects that can be done with or for kids of different ages.
In both crafting and cooking, my style tends toward the semi-creative. What I mean by this is that I rarely follow someone else's instructions or recipe exactly. I take the idea or technique, and change something up with a creative twist to make it my own. Case in point, that red felt flower hair clip. I used her method for assembling the flower, but made it suit me better by using glue, combining two flowers side by side, hand-stitching the centers instead of sewing on buttons, skipping the leaf, and using them on a hair clip for an older child as opposed to a baby headband. I will give credit where it's due when applicable by sharing where I got my inspiration, and comment on how I would do it or how it worked out for me if I've tried it. I hate uploading pictures, so I can't say how many, if any, of my posts will include pictures. I have no idea if anyone will ever see this blog, so right now I am just looking at it as a holding pen for my ideas. But if you're out there, and you happen to be reading this, please say hi - and share your comments and ideas!

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