We had our last round of summer visitors, and the boys are now back in school, so I hope to be able to be more productive for the few weeks remaining in my pregnancy, but in the meantime, here are a few fun things I've made recently. Most of these were inspired by tutorials on the web and so they required very little brainpower from me (big plus). My only criteria when scouring blogland for tutorials were that they be fast, easy, and teach me a new crafting skill. I'm really in awe of all the crafty bloggers out there – so much talent and so much generosity!
First of all, I made a tiny hairpin out of traditional Japanese fabric, chirimen.
The lovely tutorial for this can be found here at Miscellany of Me. It's very simple, really similar to the pincushion I made a few weeks ago, and could be made with just about any fabric and literally takes just a few minutes. Satisfying!
Next, I decided to tackle purses again, because I was disappointed by my last attempt at making bags without interfacing (way too floppy). It took me this long to figure out how to find interfacing in Japan but I finally succeeded! I decided to try this tutorial for a pleated purse and it was really wonderful. I feel like I learned a lot about bagmaking from making this.
So, once I got past my fear of fusible interfacing, I decided I could apply it to other bags, and so I made a tote bag,
and then two little pouches which stand up nicely on their own thanks to fusible interfacing on the lining.
These bags could all use a nice pressing to look polished enough for photos. I don't have time to do it right now, but I did find a nice link which tells you how to press small, fiddly pouches and bags on Nicole Millelieu's (highly addictive) bagmaking blog. I see more bagmaking in my future!
I've also tried making a few tiny toys. I tried this Calico Kitty pattern and made a small cat, along with a bag to go along with it. I didn't do a great job but it was fun to design the clothing and my daughter liked it a lot. I hope to move on to other stuffed animals after this.
And for this kitty or any of my children's dolls, I made a small pillow
which was super simple to make and based on this sweet tutorial at p.s. i quilt.
I've also been rediscovering knitting. I used to knit all the time, but stopped after I had children who kept getting tangled in all my yarn. I'm loving it again. I like the rhythm of having a knitting project handy – actually not just one, but several. One or two small ones, easily and quickly completed, another more ambitious or complicated one, all in separate bags or baskets around the house, and I can pick each one up depending on the circumstance (for instance, a simple, mindless one is perfect to work on while helping my son with his homework). This is perhaps not the most efficient way to knit (or to do any sort of crafting) but I get bored if I have only one project on my needles and then it never gets finished at all!
I completed the baby knitted slippers I was working on and also made a tiny newborn hat, which I'll also embellish with a flower if baby turns out to be a girl.
I posted the link to these slippers in my last post. There are a few nice tutorials out there for crocheting flowers to use as embellishment. Here's a particularly helpful one, at The Handmade Dress. I was making mine smaller so I used fewer triple stitches – once you learn how to make one it's easy to modify.
The hat is just a basic hat I memorized a long time ago. I kind of winged it with the measurement – I totally forget how big a newborn head is. At least knit is somewhat stretchy! I'm embarking on a few teeny sweaters next. I usually knit baby sweaters big so they'll fit for awhile, but I think there's something precious about a sweater that just fits a newborn and I think that's all I'll have time to knit, anyway.
Speaking of tiny and small, I had bits of felting yarn leftover from previous projects so I decided to try making a tiny tester bag to see what kind of gauge I'd get after felting. I might use the rest of this yarn to make more slippers, or to make more bags to carry little figures around. My children love having small bags to slip just one or two little toys in and I love encouraging them to combine handmade things with their store-bought toy play. The handle is i-cord which is amazingly simple to do. This was fun and so fast!
I actually made one of these small bunnies, which are not only darling but also incredibly speedy, but, again, I wasn't happy with how mine turned out (hence no picture). Clearly, stuffed animals aren't my forte. But if they appeal to you, definitely check out the link on Little Cotton Rabbit!
Finally, we had a few scrapes and mishaps last week, so I made an ice pack holder as well as a lavender rice bag for aching muscles. I think these would make a nice gift for a child, or for a parent along with this beautiful little first aid kit bag I spotted at Maya Made (and hope to make someday). I made mine very small – the rice bag is about 3 inches by 3 inches, perfect size for a child. It would be easy to make several of these in different fabric patterns and keep them handy in a basket.
I hope you enjoy checking out some of these links – I know these projects were a lot of fun for me to do. If you know of any other tutorials for fast, quick, whimsical and fun projects, do let me know!