Tuesday, April 30, 2013

daydream adventure gear


Introducing 'Daydream Adventure Gear' (like my logo?).  I've decided to start selling some of the things I sew, and here's the official launch!  Although, consider this more of a soft opening, with a grand opening to follow (once I get  sorted; I'm new at this).  So, while I have seventeen and a hundred plans and designs floating around my head, I don't have a precise inventory so to speak.  However, within the next week or so, I hope to be a bit more streamlined.  However, I get ahead of myself.

What is Daydream Adventure Gear?

Well, it's a collection of uniquely designed hand crafted children's items.  The key element behind all of the pieces, whether they be clothes, toys or accessories, is that it must be something simple, that can lend itself to a child's imagination rather than taking over and limiting their creativity (um, although, the clothes are really just clothes, but they're clothes that I designed!). My fancy-schmancy mission statement is: "To create high quality hand crafted children’s products that appeal to both children and adults because of their simplicity and uniqueness of design, which inspire, not confine creativity, to make imaginative play limitless."  Basically, we're talking about the opposite of video games and electronic toys that govern the play.  Something a little more old-school.

I already have some lovely new items all sewn up, ready to be photographed, so off I go.  New news soon!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

a rainbow in my knitting bag

Just a quick post this week, so much to do.  This upcoming week is sure to be a big one, but more on that next time.

Sewing has taken up most of my crafty time lately, but I have been chipping away at my largest knitting project yet in my down time.

It`s certainly a colourful one, isn`t it.  I`m attempting the hue shift afghan from knitpicks, and I must say, as a person who has sworn to never again knit a baby blanket, I`m really enjoying it!  You see, it`s divided into little squares (what with it being an afghan and all), but it seems so much less tedious for it.  Instead of working away for an evening and having no real difference to show for it, you have one more happy little square.  I also love how you pick up the stitches at the beginning of each square, so I`m knitting right onto the main thing, not ending up with a hundred tiny squares to sew together (tying in the ends is another matter, but I`m no where near that yet).

So right now, this is my happy-for-me project, feel free to check it out on my ravelry.

Monday, April 22, 2013

oh, for the love of a good 45 degree angle...

I love the look of clean crisp mitered corners.  It just evens out a quilt, as opposed to having overlapping or log-cabin style corners which sometimes seem lopsided.  And while they're indubitably obvious to some, here's a little method I cooked up to get some nice sharp miters which is not hard at all.

Here we go!

Miters (of extreme awesome):

1.  Start with cutting the strips of fabric you'll be joining for your miter, so that there's lots of overlap.  There's no need to be wasteful, but having enough extra to reach the corners and then an inch or so to spare just makes things a little more stress-free.

2.  Attach your fabric to the quilt (or whatever you're making, I was making a quilt, so I'm just going to keep saying quilt, but miters could have lot of uses), right up to the corner.

3.  Line up the miter, make it look right.  It's not so important that it's a perfect 45 degree angle, as it is that it looks right.

4.  Crease or finger press it.  Because the lines may vary slightly once you actually sew it up, don't bother with ironing it now, you'll have to do that later.  (*Note: if you're using a fabric that's too thick or stiff to finger press, then you'll have to iron it, just know that your lines may move slightly and you'll have to iron out that crease when you give it a final press).

5.  Match up the right sides and pin so that the creases line up.

6.  Lay it so the crease lines up and lies flat.

7.  Time to sew!  Sew it along the crease you made.

8.  Now's the time for the proper press.  Iron it so the seams lay open if you're quilting it with a pattern (ie not along the seams)  otherwise, press the seams off to one side.

9.  Trim it all so it's not so bulky and...

10.  Love it!

    Et voila!  You have miters!  I hope that this can be useful.  I was pretty enthusiastic about it when I made mine up (which is something, miters aren't normally overly exciting things).  Also as a final note, because most projects have four or more miters, feel free to bring all four up to the finger pressing stage, and then take a step back to check that they're even.  That being said, I did mine one at a time and they turned out fine.

    Monday, April 15, 2013

    quilt-ly cuddles

    Long, long ago, I made a quilt top.  See, I had just loved the fabric and it was in a cute little layer cake for not a bad price at all and so I snatched it up and decided I'd make myself a lap quilt.  But, sewing for myself, especially when there's no specific deadline, makes for a project that quickly gets put of the very farthest back of burners.  Besides, I didn't even have anything to back it with yet.  Then, when perusing the local fabric store, I saw a baby quilt made from the same fabric line, and a little spark ignited.  My little Bean prefers to sleep with a quilt, so I thought I could make this for her.  At this point I have finally gotten around to buying some backing and a little extra to border it with, but, because it was just going to be an extra, even bringing it all on Christmas vacation with me didn't give me enough of a push to complete the project.

    Recently, I started knitting a baby blanket for a friend.  The pattern was simple enough, but the yarn was delicate and the needles were small, and after about a week of diligent evening knitting I noticed I had messed up the last five or so rows, so I gave up with that.  Feeling pretty close to failure I remembered my lovely quilt, all ready to get put together and quilted.

    I've tried machine quilting before.  It was a mess; I managed to have a nasty little gather at every join.  It was wretched.  I tried it anyways.  This time: success!

    Voila, a lovely, classy quilt.

    I bound it with satin blankie binding, which I find makes it more baby-ish and less adult; plus babies love the satiny texture.

    Also, I really loved how my mitered corners turned out.

    Bug decided that Dr Seus's ABCs was required in the quilt photos.

    And Bee, our cat of extreme fluffiness, also wanted in on the photography.  What a cozy little scene.

    I hope they have lots of fun playing on and snuggling in it.  I'm so glad it has a home.  I had even started to toy with other uses for a quilt topper, as I began to think it would never reach quilt-dom.

    10 other Uses For a Quilt Top:

    1) Table runner (just make sure you sew on a back).
    2) Line a basket (or cover a box).
    3) Cover a cork board, add a frame, and you have a pretty snazzy pin-board.
    4) Cut it into chunks, which you could frame and make a pretty interesting picture arrangement (or frame in embroidery hoops).
    5) Make a teddy bear.
    6) Tote bag.
    7) Christmas stocking.
    8) Hot water bottle cover (or rice bag cover).
    9) Oven gloves, or re-cover old oven gloves (depending on the material).
    10) Basically, it can be used as a regular piece of material that's just a bit fancier.

    However, like I said, this all started because I loved the fabric so much, so I'm glad I didn't have to resort to chopping it up for anything else.  It was meant to be a quilt and I'm really happy to have had it to give to my friend when I did.

    Thursday, April 11, 2013

    something sweet for mama

    I'm not much of a cook.  I'm not bad at baking (recipes are my friends).  Every now and then I divulge into something really interesting (recipe in hand, of course).  A few years back we rocked some home made marshmallows, and about a year ago I tried this recipe for salted caramels.  It's from thekitchn, which is a brilliant appendage of apartment therapy and has such wonderful recipes.  Mmm, so good.  So when I was having a baking-date with a friend (like a play-date, but it makes us fat) I knew I had a few cans of thick cream in the cupboard and I decided to show off. Once again, the recipe turned out, and so this time, I tried the little suggestion at the bottom of the page...enrobe in chocolate.


    Basically, to any who have any enjoyment in cooking and are willing to follow a recipe, try this.  It's simple enough (although, not kid-friendly; too much stove-top work) and oh, so, good.  For the chocolate I just melted some in a bowl over a boiling pot of water and used toothpick to get 'em good and covered.  And naturally I used a little of my fancy-schmancy salt for garnish.  Naturally.

    Oh, and a little shout out to parchment paper baking cups.  Man, they make life easier (you can see the crinkly edges on my chocolates from where they went straight from the chocolate to the cups).  My only other suggestion is that when boiling the caramel down to the right firmness, err on the side of soft.

    Mmm, so yummy!

    Thursday, April 4, 2013

    a little soft to add to that snuggly

    When Bugaboo was a baby, my mother and I put together a quilt for him and a little pillow to go with it.  

    Well, I knew it would be harder to do one up for little Bean, but with a little vacation time, the quilt (seen here) now has its partner in crime!

    All set for snuggles and fun

    and I'd like to say how awesome it all worked out that the material I bought when she was about 2 months old (spoonflower) was so well selected; she's kind of obsessed with elephants right now!

    Fun fun and more fun!  Take care!