March sewing brings April blog post

Apparently I’m posting monthly at the moment. Has to be said it is actually due to lack of stuff to post. There’s only so much complaining I can do and crafting is going at a snail’s pace, so monthly posts it is, apparently.

For some unidentifiable and inexplicable reason, I haven’t felt like knitting much lately. I’m still working on various and assorted knitting projects, but nothing worth commenting on.

However, I have been sewing a wee bit. I made a few projects for my latest trip back home with the boys and I’m fairly proud of them so thought I would elaborate here!

First up is my mom’s birthday present. I got a great deal on one of those stainless steel bento box lunch box type things that I’ve been wanting for myself, so I got one for mom too. I also like the bags but thought they were a bit expensive for what they were. So, of course, I thought, Hey, I’ll just make one! Here’s what I came up with:

I totally winged making this and it’s a bit snug. I will make one for myself (sometime) and hopefully remember to make it a little looser.

I had the brainwave of “upcycling” some jean pockets to hold silverware, napkins, etc. I realized after cutting the bottom off the first pocket that that was a huge pain in the arse not only to cut but to sew through so many layers and I should have just left it longer, but by then it was too late. So note to self: Make the bag the length of the pocket next time! Anywho, then my friend whom I was sewing with told me it looked like a tiny butt.


I panicked. I cannot give my mother a “tiny butt” for her birthday! I realized then that the bag was unintentionally reversible so if she had a problem with the tiny butt aspect it could just be turned inside out. WHEW. Turns out she loved it anyway so no harm done.

So that little sewing project went well! Finished the (lined) bag in one night.

I had two projects in mind to make the boys for our trip as well. One was some “I Spy” bags. I got the idea from Etsy (there are several makers on there if you do a search) but wanted to make it myself, of course. The hardest part was a) procuring the sewable vinyl which I’ve never used before (huge thanks to Megan for helping with that!!) and b) collecting the tiny toys.

As a rule, in a house with small children, you don’t *have* tiny toys and I hadn’t a clue where to look for some. I did eventually round up about 20+ for each kiddo, including things like beads, safety pins, small toy cars, playmobile animals,  buttons, etc. Sadly the pictures of the bags don’t show how cool it is to find stuff in them.

Then making the bags themselves was super easy. Pouring in the rice less so. Apparently I need a funnel for my craft room! The fabric is heavyweight, and they feel great. Like beanbags. Which incidently is exactly how the younger one uses his.

As a final touch I had the sense to take pictures of the contents before creating the bags, so I printed the photos and laminated them. I was going to put grommets on the bags to attach the picture, but apparently I don’t know how to use grommet pliers so that didn’t happen. Nevertheless, the pictures are good as the kids know what to look for.

However, my five year old, in all his wisdom, looked at me on the plane and said “How am I supposed to mark off which ones I’ve found?”

Well, crap. So another note to self, bring along a flippin’ dry erase marker next time too.

Anyway, the boys did like these a lot. So that went over well and was, of course, gratifying.

My next project, which I barely finished in time, was a notepad/pencil holder book thingy.

Originally I was going to make them pencil/crayon rolls. I have to admit I hadn’t really understood colored pencil rolls until then. I just throw them in a bag and they seem good to go, you know? The rolls seemed fiddly. But the genius of the idea struck me when contemplating travelling because if each pencil has its own pocket, well, then you know when any are missing, right? Hooray for organized travel!

But then I thought, if they each have a roll then they’ll each need a coloring book and that just sounds so….. loose. And bulky. In a tiny backpack. So I saw some notebooks with pencils on Etsy and thought, hey, now THAT is a good idea. I combined the instructions in the Pink Chalk Studio Notetaker with the instructions from the Pink Chalk Studio colored pencil roll, both patterns I already have, and used the same fabrics from the I Spy Bags.

Of course, as with any sewing project, it seems, I learned a few lessons. I sized up the pattern to begin with because the drawing pads I purchased are bigger than the lined notepads the pattern was intended for. This turned out to be a big mistake because the notebook is, well, too big. I guess I overcompensated. Or I can’t measure, it’s debatable. In any case, I made the youngest’s first because I figured he wouldn’t care, so I made the eldest’s the original size and it was perfect.

(I am soooo tempted to rip out the first one and make it smaller too but an resisting. It’ll be a lot of work and I can just buy a bigger notebook, right?)

The other thing I learned is that I made the pockets too small. Well, not really, the pencils and crayons fit just fine, it’s just that they pull in the pocket too much in my opinion. I’m not sure how I could have done that differently though because I was determined to get a whole rainbow in there.

I screwed up at the same part on both books. For some reason, and I still don’t know how I managed this, the stabilizer isn’t sewn in correctly for the middle part where it folds like a book binding. I don’t know how to describe it, but it somehow got off and sticks out funny when you fold them. Of course no one has noticed this but me. I want to make one more for grocery lists at home and I’m determined to figure out what I did wrong!

Now the funny part of these is that when I gave them to the boys, as Boo knew I had two surprises for them and they got the bags first, Boo said, “Mommy, these aren’t very exciting.” I must have looked a bit crushed because he followed that quickly with, “But I love it very much thank you for making it!” Ha! Poor kid. Sweet though, isn’t he? Well, he can be, anyway 🙂

They worked very well for the trip. We pulled them out at restaurants and hanging out at people’s houses and stuff like that. It may not keep them entertained for long, but it’s something.

So that’s the latest sewing I’ve done! I’ve got some other things brewing that deserve posts of their own too, like curtains and aprons and my grandmother’s embroidery, so maybe I’ll post sometimes else before May. Maybe. We’ll see 😉

If you’ve stuck around this long I just wanted to say thanks. I appreciate it 🙂

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3 Responses to March sewing brings April blog post

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Love the lunch pail! What a cool idea!

  2. Megan says:

    I love the art pads, great combination! Same thing happened with me when I showed them on a flight, bags and pencil rolls. They weren’t as thrilled as I was! Luckily, I brought the dvd player….

  3. Patty (Megan's aunt) says:

    I think you did a great job with all your creations and love how you combined patterns. Very clever.

    Trust you had a good trip and got to visit some knitting stores? That would make an interesting blog entry.

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