Compost Sifter

The compost is kind of ready but not really.  Mr. Viever decided we should attempt to build a sifter so we could sift out some of the ready stuff and leave the bigger stuff to further cook and break down.

Step one measure our wheelbarrows.  We wanted the sifter to be able to fit over both.  We also wanted to be able to have it balance on the edge and shake it up and down rather than just shift it back and forth.  We measured the length and width.  Cut two pieces to length with additional length for handles.

Then using left little chunks as "spacers" to figure out the width pieces to cut. Basically the width of the space we wanted to use minus the width of the two length pieces.

Pre-drilled holes and ASSEMBLE!

We double checked the fit.  Then Mr Viever measured out the metal screen material he bought and started cutting.

Then he clipped off the sharp edges.

And again pre-drilled holes and screwed in the the screen. Voila finished sifter!

Now to put it to work and get some of that rich compost into my garden beds!

The garden is going to LOVE this stuff!  I love my handy man Mr. Viever.  He's fantastic with this building stuff for my garden.

Heat Transfer Vinyl Fun with Expressions Vinyl!

Ok people listen up! I have some fun to share with you today!!!
Do you remember this shirt from my CRAFTICON post, and then I promised you I'd share more about it later? Well today is "later". 

First off I used a Silhouette to cut my vinyl. why do you ask? Well it is the cutting machine I have. and I fricken love that I can grab an image and trace it in the program. When you cut to vinyl you are going to want to mirror your image. I didn't use words so it really wouldn't have mattered a lot if I didn't mirror such a basic shape, but I knew which way Mario and friends run across the screen - I have the games! 

I used Siser easy weed vinyl from Expressions Vinyl. and let me tell you - it is EASY to weed!!!!! I've weeded other things before and it felt more torturous than watching golf on tv, which for me is worse than watching paint dry. This easy weed stuff just lifted right off, nothing ripped or pulled and the backing is slightly sticky so the pieces I wanted to stay on the backing to iron to the shirt nicely stayed on the backing!

Then I went on over to Expressions Vinyl's you tube channel and watched this video, if you skip to about the 6:50 mark you can go right to the ironing bit. This shirt was my very first attempt at heat transfer vinyl so I figured I should watch a demo first and all the tips and hints in that video are AMAZING!!! Plus he uses an everyday iron - which is perfect since I do not have a heat press. So, if you want to learn the finer points of ironing on heat transfer with an iron I highly recommend the video!

This project was so much fun and such an easy first project! I will be on the lookout for more things to vinyl forsure! Plus, I have a bunch more vinyl so keep an eye out for more non sewing projects using vinyl! or maybe sewing projects using vinyl... Who knows really, we SHE'S like to keep things fresh!

ps see Luigi above, that is what happens when you think you should put your iron just a little bit hotter than the video recommends (even though the video warns against too hot ironing). I've learned my lesson. Trust the video and the experts when it comes to applying vinyl properly!

and yes, I still do love my shirt! Everyday with a little bit of my geek showing!

I should tell you that when Expressions Vinyl sent me the vinyl for the project, they shipped it right away and it arrived in record time to my middle of nowhere area! 

Sewing With a Sizzix!

I am so excited about today’s post.  I’m gonna talk to you about Sizzix!  I know what you’re thinking: “Crystal, you don’t paper craft”.  And I totally don’t.  I am a seamstress and not much else creatively.  I have my moments, but  I tend to stick to fabric and a sewing machine.  I’m totally WILLING to branch out, but practice makes perfect and ain’t nobody got time fuh dat! A lot of crafty mom's have a Sizzix for card making and scrapbooking, but don't limit your machine to paper. Did you know that they have die cuts for FABRIC?  That’s right!  You can cut perfect fabric shapes using your Sizzix machine.  I have the BigKick and it’s pretty amazing.  Ain’t it purty?

I have been staring at my hexagon die cut (they come in many sizes- pick one!) for a while now knowing that I needed it to make something.  I have been so drawn to hexagons lately.  I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s something so awesome about them.  Hexagons need to be pretty perfectly cut to piece together correctly.  I made a quilt once and my hand cutting made for few challenges along the way.  The beautiful thing about the Sizzix die cuts is that you will have all of your hexagons EXACTLY the same.   It gives the precision you NEED when working with this shape.  I'm pretty perfect, practically Mary Poppins, but even I have a problem cutting perfect Hexis.

Now,  I didn’t want to make a  quilt (time thing) nor did I want to make a table runner that my children would inevitably destroy.  I came up with a way to use hexis in my favorite type of sewing...garments!  I’m going to show you how to make some custom fabric to use for a lined dress bodice.  The bonus?  It’s PERFECT for those scraps you have laying around waiting to be used =)  This isn’t a QUICK project tutorial, but it’s a technique that will give your projects a very personal and unique touch.  Handmade is all in the details and love put into it.

  • Sizzix machine (like my amazing BigKick)
  • Sizzix hexagon die cut *for fabric
  • Fabric scraps
  • SEW-on interfacing (DO NOT use iron on)
  • Basting spray
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Sewing pattern of your choice calling for a lined bodice.
  • Fabric for your dress skirt
The first thing you need to do is get out that ruler.  Measure your bodice pattern pieces (front and back or just front if you prefer) top to bottom and side to side.  These measurements will be the height and width your finished hexagon fabric piece will need to be- I made mine larger to account for layout and any possible error.  Make sure to take into account any “cut on fold” or any pieces you will need a duplicate of.

Now, you can do the complicated math of how many hexi’s you’ll need including seam allowance, OR you can just cut out a crap ton!  Any extras you have can be used again anyway, so why not?  That’s what I did.  I just cut about 40 hexagons  for my simple rectangle bodice (12”x5” piece).  This cutting goes by so fast!  Cut your fabric into squares- they don’t have to be perfect, they just need to cover the shape on the die cut.  Then you make a Sizzix sammich by putting one acrylic cut plate on the bottom, the die cut (foam facing up) on top of that, then your fabric, then another acrylic plate.  Roll it through and WAHOO!  It’s so fast!  You can cut these while watching TV.  It doesn’t take much concentration. *NOTE* Iron your fabric BEFORE you cut.  I didn't and had to recut some hexis.  I knew better than that.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.

After you have you 5 thousand hexagons.  Play around with layout and color making sure that your hexis stack high and wide enough to fit your pattern AFTER they’re sewn together.

Once you have the layout figured out, Sew those bad boys together.  There are many tutorials out there to do this, but I prefer THIS ONE.  This will take some time, but it gets faster as you get used to sewing them.  
Now that they’re all together and pressed, use the basting spray to adhere the entire piece to the sew-in interfacing.  The reason I don’t use iron-on is because it’s very easy to iron it on wrong and wrinkly and then you’ve just messed up all of that hard work sewing hexagons together.  You WILL cry.  Just use what I say.  When you are adhering your fabric to the interfacing, make sure to smooth out all of the wrinkles.

Now, topstitch all of the hexagons 1/8” from the edge, essentially quilting it to the interfacing.

Once that’s done, you can put your pattern piece on and cut out your bodice. Your hexis are your "main" fabric.  Your lining can be whatever you normally use for lining.   Follow your patterns instructions to complete your dress and you will be so happy with the outcome.

If you want to jazz your dress up a little more, use some of your leftover hexagons to make appliques for your skirt.  Randomly place them wherever you want and pull the whole look together. Put that Sizzix to work!  It's an amazing tool for a seamstress.  You can applique, make custom fabric (like we did here), even use it to cut out stencil shapes for fabric painting.  If you don't have a Sizzix, I really recommend it.  I have a  lot of fun with mine and it helps me be as creative as I can be.

And because I know seamstresses always love to see the back:


CraftingCon Craft-off: Voting!

Thank so much to all of you that stuck around with us this geek week.  We had a lot of fun and we hope you did to!  Hopefully you've been inspired to sew along with the themes over at CraftingCon.  Today is voting day and you have been tasked with picking our winner.  Karly can't be voted for- She's just a pretty face.  Well, she's a REAL competitor already this month (for her blog, Paisley Roots) and she can only compete once, so then there were three.  Lets look one more time at her look though.  "Ooh and "Aaaaah" as you wish:

And here are your 3 finalists.

Crystal's Rebel Alliance flight suit dress

Viever's Captain America Kids

Jenn's Super Mama Shirt

VOTE VOTE VOTE!  Remember, whoever wins this gets to compete fo rizzle in the September princess theme.  Choose wisely.  The fate of the galaxy is in your hands.

Crafting Con Craft-Off: Karly

Since Zoe needed another shirt to go with her Star Wars shorts, I decided to go with Star Wars with my theme for our mini-competition to see who gets to compete in the September Disney Princess Crafting Con. 

CraftingCon Craft-off: Jenn

So the challenge, create an everyday look that uses one of the following "geeky" themes: Harry Potter, Star Wars, Avengers, Disney Princesses, Disney Villains, Hunger Games, The Hobbit, Dr. Who, Mario Brothers, Divergent, Disney (general theme excluding Princesses), and Board Game. 

I could have made something for the kids.... but honestly their wardrobes are pretty full. 
So I took the challenge to make an everyday wear item for me!  I dress like a grown up on a regular basis. I mean I love colour, but style wise I don't really go over the top. So I knew I'd have to pick a simple design shirt and go subtly for the geek. 

I am a big Nintendo fan. I love the Mario's, Zelda's, Donkey Kongs, etc. Just don't try and make me play a sports game!!! yuck and boooooorrrrriiiiinnnnnnggggggg! When I saw Mario as an option for CRAFTICON I figured I'd go for that one. I used some great heat transfer vinyl from Expressions Vinyl (and I'll talk more about that a different day)

It really was so simple to just do a few characters, princess peach, toadstool, luigi and mario running around my shirt! I love that this is a shirt I can wear everyday too and not feel out of place taking the kids somewhere or going shopping in. 

For the shirt I used the Seafarer pattern by Sew Much Ado, a nice easy dolman style sew! 
For pocket placement I'm going to show you my little tip to make it EASY: 

Yep, I cut the pocket nearly out and then I can line it up and pic right to the fabric!

and here you can see the nicely placed Mario characters, not too obvious but clearly a bit of fun. 


Crafting-Con Craft Off: Viever

So the challenge, create an everyday look that uses one of the following geeky (come on these are actually pretty cool, wait did I just admit my geekiness?) themes: Harry Potter, Star Wars, Avengers, Disney Princesses, Disney Villains, Hunger Games, The Hobbit, Dr. Who, Mario Brothers, Divergent, Disney (general theme excluding Princesses), and Board Game.

Crystal showed off her Geek badge with an awesome outfit in tribute to Star War's the RebelAlliance flight suit yesterday.  Did you see the vest?!  Brilliant!  The (crafting) force is strong in Crystal.

I have a certain little boy in my house who has been introduced to super heroes in general by his very "geeky" uncle.  My boy is OBSESSED so what's a mom to do but make his super hero dreams come true.  So I picked the Avengers theme.  S is crazy about Captain America, and hey his mama likes watching him too on the big screen.  Last year, we bought a Captain America costume, among several others, and some accessories post Halloween (woot 50%-75% off at Target!) and they get regular play at our house but they aren't the best for every day wear, especially in the summer.  Who wants to get all sweaty in polyester while trying to save the planet!?  And so an idea was born.

That's right my two cuties in decked out in Captain America attire fit for running, jumping, climbing trees, and all in a comfy lightweight cotton knit!

I again used Figgy's Tee for Two. You sick of me using this pattern yet?  Well if it ain't broke don't fix it is a motto here!  But this time I actually did the second of the two patterns included!  V is wearing my first version of the dress! 

I did modify the t-shirt a touch to get the stripes and for some reason I was having major collar issues.  I'm going to blame the knit I used as I've NEVER had this problem before but cutting a touch longer for both collars did the trick and we got those tee over my kids' noggins.  I also added a belt for V's dress as I didn't want to cut up the dress to create the stripes.

For the stripes I took the shirt piece and traced out a curve I wanted to follow then cut that portion of the front off.  Taking that piece I grabbed my handing tracing paper traced out the piece and then mapped out my red and white striped pieces.  I used the same template for V's belt which is why it turned out so wide but it works.  

For the star I used an embroidery file from Embroidery Library called Simple Star.  You can't quite tell from the pictures but I used silver and white coloring on the star to give it more of a popped look.

Anyway my kids were thrilled to wake up and find their shirts.  It spurred a morning of super hero play that included a rescue of the blue dog Patsy from a tree and running around our front yard fighting off imaginary villains.  Gotta get ready to face that big bad world!

Rescuing Patsy proved to be a daunting task only for Big Brother Capt. America with Lil' Sis Capt. America watching on very concerned for Patsy's well being with Patsy's unnamed dog friend.  

V also took the opportunity to do some getting dressed practice while S was up in the tree.  She needed to make sure no one would know her identity...  Can you see her super proud smile while she finally figured out how to get the mask on all by herself?  Sadly I can't say that I made the mask but the kids had to have it out when they saw their outfits.

And so once again Mommy saves the day or at least the morning with a fantastic pattern and a little imagination.  So happy to help my kiddos save the world defeating one imaginary bad guy at a time. Now anyone up for getting some shwarma?

Can't wait to see what the rest of the SHEs have dreamed up and don't forget to vote at the end of the week!  Winner goes on to compete in the Disney Princess theme over at Crafting-Con in September!