Lessons Learned – Fabric Paint

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This evening, I ventured into territory unknown. For the most part, I stick to what’s familiar. Fabric…thread…scissors. I don’t get too fancy. But tonight I wanted to try something different. I saw a blog post a couple weeks ago talking about fabric paint and all the fun things you can do with it. This particular post was all about making a goldfish cracker come to life on a little girl’s pair of pants! I was sold on the goldfish, but was intrigued by the process. (You can read the full post here)

I wanted to try something a little different, so the cogs got busy upstairs thinking of what I could possibly make that would involve fabric paint. And BAM! it hit me! Travel Checkers! I loved playing games with my sisters when we were young. I remember one year, my two youngest sisters received a giant checker board game with huge pieces. Only problem with a giant checker board game? IT’S GIANT!

Solution? A travel size bag that can store all the pieces necessary for checkers (with a couple extra just in case the little rascals lose one)! I figured one side of the bag could be used for checkers and the opposite side for tic tac toe. I did some quick math to figure out how big I wanted the board to be (10″x10″) and then how big the bag had to be. The rest of this post are the lessons I learned doing a first run of the checker board (I’ll do probably two more posts about this – making the game pieces & the final product).

1. It’s really important to map out your board before you even put paint to fabric.

Use pencil to mark your game board and Xs to designate the boxes you need to stamp.

2. It’s even more important to line your work space with a lot of newspaper. It’s equally important to make sure you use several layers of paper between the two layers of your bag…or this happens:

I made the mistake of not putting paper between the two layers when I first started and it bled through. You can see here how much it really soaks in.

3. Since the checkerboard is a pretty simple pattern (1.25″ squares), I used some on-hand rubber I had for another project and used an x-acto knife to cut it. Had I not been so antsy to start the project I would have mounted the rubber so this wouldn’t happen:

Unmounted stamps are a pain to work with.

Finger prints, smudges, smears, yuck.

Your hands will look like this. Your stamp gets slippery. It's just a mess. Thankfully the paint I use washes off pretty easily.

All in all it didn’t turn out terrible. It was a really fun project and I’m looking forward to trying it again with better supplies and armed with the knowledge of how to make it look great! I kind of like the varying degrees of pressure for each of the squares, but the smudges and fingerprints are really distracting.

All done!

 

Stay tuned for an update on how the pieces are made! I picked up some really awesome stamp sets at JoAnn this weekend. Can’t wait to make a pirate themed set! -Becca

[Thanks to my photo-genius husband, J, for taking all the photos!]

Homemade Baby Food is Cheap & Easy!

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When my first child was born, my husband and I were both working full-time jobs and had more than sufficient income to live off of, so I never really gave much thought to how much money I was spending on baby food.  Just before she had her 1st birthday, I had a break down and couldn’t stand the idea of not being a stay-at-home mom.  My husband and I had a few long discussions about it, and finally decided it could be done, but things would not be as easy financially as they had been.

When my second child came along, it was a little more harsh to see what the cost of diapering, feeding, etc. a baby really was.  We adapted where we could, getting deals on diapers, breastfeeding for as long as possible (I had only made it 4 months with my daughter due to work).  When it was time to introduce foods to my son, I could finally see how expensive it was to feed him healthy foods.  I decided to give making my own babyfood a try.
The first thing I did was go to the library, where I could do some research and see just exactly I was getting into, all for free.  I have a tendency to get all these great ideas, buy all the stuff to make them happen and then forget about them in a month (you don’t even want to see my sewing room).  I got a copy of ‘Blender Baby Food‘ and that was all I needed to get started.  I love that this book offers some great recipes for foods that actually have some taste, but they also tell you how to make the simplest things; like how many apples need how much water and how long to stew them for.  I stored the batches in quart ziploc bags and tossed them in the freezer, flat on their sides.  Then, to make them into servable portions, I would take them out after about 2 hours, when they had partially frozen and used the side of a book to make dents, like a 6-pack.  Every morning (if I remembered) I would take out his 3 meals to thaw for the day.  If I forgot, I would just thaw one in the microwave.
After about a month of this, when I finally had to return my overdue library book, I decided that this was something I could easily handle.  I decided to buy myself some supplies to make life just a little easier:
I found ‘Blender Baby Food’ used through Amazon and spent about $7 on it.  It came in great condition.
I also decided to splurge and buy some containers for freezing and storing.  Green Sprouts Freezer Cubes are the ones I chose, mostly for their cost.  I bought 2 sets, which cost about $15 (with coupons) and has SO been worth the money.  You can also use the Ziploc method, or many people use ice cube trays.
I have not felt the need, at all, to spend any more money than this on equipment.  My stove and my 10 year old blender have been more than sufficient in getting the job done and to think people spend $100+ on steamer/blenders made just for babyfood seems an unnecessary waste to me.
Our favorite recipes right now are the Shepherd’s Pie and the Chicken with Brown Rice and Peas.  I would have never thought of putting onions or curry in my baby’s food at this age, but in small amounts, it’s helping to introduce him to what the food WE eat tastes like, hopefully making him less picky in the future.  And if you hate the way jarred meat baby food tastes, you are in for a treat, because this stuff is tasty and smells like a home-cooked meal.

If you have any questions about making your own baby food at home, feel free to ask.  I’m not an expert, but I’m happy to share my advice and thoughts with you.  -Kelly

Happy August!

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August is here, and hopefully, that will mean some relief from this heat (and worse, the humidity!).

Just an update, we now have a Facebook page for the blog, so you can stay on top of new posts and share us easily with your friends.

Here’s a peek at what I’ve been working on for the last few days:

My little sister is getting married in 10 days and my whole family is part of the wedding.  I’m so happy to use my crafty skills to help her celebrate her special day.  -Kelly

 

Leopards can turn into airplanes… right?

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After baby #2 had been here awhile, my husband and I came to the conclusion that 3 carseats spread across two cars was kind of a pain in the butt.  Whenever we wanted to take his car somewhere, we would have to squeeze, sweat and swear to get one out of my car, into his, and then back into mine when the trip was all over.  When I found a Britax Roundabout in a neighborhood garage sale for $25, I was thrilled (please note that I would not buy a used car seat from just anyone or anywhere).  I called Hubby to tell him the good news, and he was equally excited… Until I got it home and he found out it was leopard print and would be a permanent fixture in HIS car.  I told him I would find a way to make it more ‘manly’ for him and our son and then got quickly sidetracked by everyday life.

Fast-forward to a few months later and Becca sends me a message about this tutorial she just bought for covering Infant car seats.  I perused the shop and liked what I saw, so I bought the Booster car seat covering tutorial, as my car seat is larger and not portable.  In just 3 days of working on it here and there, our leopard print Britax underwent some major surgery and came out looking FANTASTIC!  I couldn’t be happier with the result.

The tutorial is Toddler Booster Car Seat Recovering Tutorial by GeorgiaLeighDesigns.  She makes it very clear that it is not designed as a pattern for one specific kind of car seat, but detailed instructions, tips and tricks that will help you recover a similar style seat.

First, let me say, the hardest and most tedious part of this task was taking the darn thing apart.  Stitch by stitch, seam by seam, everything.  I honestly carted this thing around with me ALL day.  On the couch, outside in the driveway while the kids played with the neighbors.  The time that you spend doing the rest will fly by, especially when you can see your progress and how pretty it looks!

Second, pay attention when it tells you that you CANNOT take enough pictures.  I thought ‘this is a pretty simple cover and there aren’t that many pieces.  3-4 pictures while I’m deconstructing and I’ll be fine!’  Nope.  I had to bring back my evil friend the seam ripper, that I had just been so excited to leave behind.

I don’t want to give away any of Georgia’s great ideas, but at least one I had never used before, and it will become a staple in my work going forward.  I can assure you that there are lots of photos to work you through the process and I would pay the $3.99 all over again in a heartbeat.

The only down side (apart from the fact that my 3 year old daughter wants me to do her seat, which I paid a heck of a lot more than $25 for) is that I got hung up on completing my seat because the entire cover is held on by elastic (think shower cap).  Neither of Georgia’s tutorials could give me much detail on how to address that part.  It was briefly shown, but more as a passing glance than much help, but I figured it out on my own in the end.  I also didn’t think ahead to the thickness of my fabric in regard to the pattern I was covering, and if you know to look for it, you can see the faint glow of leopard spots behind my planes and dots.  A short note in the supplies section could have made me think twice about my fabric selection, because I did go with the ‘high quality designer cotton’ that was one of her recommendations.

-Kelly

First project underway!

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I am excited to say that I am about halfway done with the tutorial for our first review!  It has been a lot of work, especially with a cold and a teething baby, but it’s getting there and I can’t wait for it to be done to share it.

I am also happy to share that I am almost done with my first week of training for my 5k, and I no longer feel like I have taken a serious beat down!  I will say that running without the double stroller full of kids is quite a bit easier, but I have to take what I can get to get my workout in.

Time to get back to work!  -Kelly

Hello world!

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So, ‘Hello world!’ is the generic title that WordPress comes up with when you start a blog with them.  They tell you to change it, but I think it’s a pretty accurate representation of what this first blog entry is about, so I’m going to keep it!

Let me start out by introducing your Sew Like Sisters bloggers:

We are Kelly and Becca and we have been the best of friends for about 12 years now (yikes, I hadn’t thought about how long it has been until I just had to figure that out!).  We met in high school and have been through lots of ups and downs and hundreds of phone calls together.  Though 750 miles of U.S. separates us, we have remained as close as sisters.  Couple that with our love of sewing and being crafty and that’s how we came up with ‘Sew Like Sisters.’  A little more about us: Becca is a lawyer and is about to run her first marathon, and I studied Air Traffic Control, which has come in very handy in my job as a Mom of 2 (3 years and 10 months).  I also just started training for my first 5k, being inspired by my bestie.

We want this blog to be an extension of the friendship that we have built over the last decade.  We’ll share stories, ideas, our thoughts on tutorials and other craft-related goodies (or not-so-goodies).  If you have a topic idea, suggestion, or just want to say hello, we’d love to hear from you!  sewlikesis@gmail.com

Also, please bear with us as we get the site to look just how we want it!