Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Skirt to a Bag...Handmade Birthday

Our summer is kicking off with birthdays GALORE! So many parties and gifts to buy, including those for my own birthday girl at the end of the month. Whew! Lots of fun, but keeping up with gifts can be costly and stressful at times. I would like for a gift to be fun and useful, but it's hard to know what children want that they don't already have. 
Since all of our parties are for little girls about age 8, I often make purses and bags out of old jeans.  I am now getting a few requests from parents that are familiar with them. Apparently they are used and loved by the kiddos, and that's the best reward for those of us that love to create!
You can see a few of my previous upcycled denim creations here:
Fun, right? So simple to make, and you get to upcycle old jeans at the same time!
  For an upcoming birthday, my daughter requested that I make a bag for her special friend.
 I found an outgrown denim skirt (kid sized) in my stash and and immediately pictured a crossover, larger bag...almost like a messenger bag.
Can you picture this skirt before I embellished it? In my excitement, I forgot to take a 'before' pic. :)
 It was super simple to make!
First I sewed the bottom of the skirt closed using a  matching thread. This didn't need to be cut off like a pair of shorts/jeans. I thought the original hem and little slits on the side looked more authentic, so I just stitched straight across to close up the bottom of the skirt.
I went through my fabric and came up with 2 coordinating patterns for the strap and cut them to 46". This is long for my daughter(who is of average height), but the recipient of the bag is EXTREMELY tall :), so we decided to add some length. (The 46" includes seam allowances.)  I adhered some fusible fleece between the two fabrics to make the strap more durable and a little padded.
I sewed the straps on opposite sides of the skirt waist, then added the flowers to embellish it a bit.
I found a "K" brad in my scrapbook stash, so the bag got a little personalized tweak at the last 
 This is a great size for a few books or art supplies, or just to carry miscellaneous on-the-go.
What do you think?
Never throw away old jeans and denim skirts. You never know what they can transform into!
Thanks for dropping in,

Friday, June 1, 2012

Pet Loss Project

Hello friends! It has been too long between posts, and I hope to change that now that school is out and things are settling down a bit. We are working on planning a Rainbow themed 8th birthday party for the end of June, so I hope to share some of our planning and the final details with you as we go along. I'm loving all the cute ideas I'm finding for the Rainbow theme, and anxious to see it all put together!

On a sad note, my post today is motivated by our family's recent loss of our beloved dog, Riff.
Riff.......RIP 4.23.12
 Riffer was our fur baby before our human baby came along. He went with us almost everywhere, and really was another child in our house. His death was unexpected after a fall on our stairs, but he lived a long and wonderful life and brought us so much joy and laughter. He was 2 months shy of his 15th birthday, and we feel so blessed to have had him with us for so long and in overall good health.

So now that I've put the sad part out there, my project today lends itself to celebrating a pet's life after the loss. I hope that our little project might help someone else out there who is dealing with the loss of a pet. In losing Riff, my dear daughter lost a true best friend and playmate. As a way to help bring closure to our unexpected loss, we created a "Memory Box" last weekend.
 This is so inexpensive but so completely filled with love that it really gave us a half an hour of laughter, tears, and memories remembering our boy. 
I purchased a smaller-sized Rubbermaid tote (sorry that I ripped off the label and don't know the actual gallon size!) and we got busy with markers, scissors, and colored pencils. We planned to fill our box with Riff's puppy toys, his "blankie", harness, ID tags from our homes, sympathy cards, etc. All of our "Riff Keepsakes". My girl got busy writing phrases, messages, and drawing a picture or two to decorate the box.

 Isn't it sweet? We tried to use some of his many nicknames.
I adhered each piece to the INSIDE of the box with clear packing tape, which just seemed easier than using contact paper. We really wanted the focus to be on remembering and decorating, and not on the application. The packing tape worked perfectly.
This is a picture of my daughter and Riff on the Rainbow Bridge.
 I used permanent marker to title the top of the box, and then we filled it up. The whole family feels really pleased with how it turned out. Nothing fancy, but filled with love.
Thanks for stopping by and if you have a cherished pet, give it some extra love today. 

"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole."
-Roger Caras

Take care,