Friday, September 30, 2011

Deftly Dodging Drafts

It's that time of year again.

The sky becomes a opaque grey and the bright green leaves of summer become the colors of sunset.  The air becomes crisp and chilly... and the wind begins to blow it right under our front door.

You can literally see the gap under the door!  (it doesn't help that our apartment is in a very old house...)

The solution?  Well, I could have spent twenty bucks on one of those "As Seen On TV" draft stoppers... or I could make one of my own with items I already have.  This seemed like a much more economical fix!  I had some old, bleach-speckled towels lying around that I decided to use.  After measuring the width of the door (and adding an inch or two for a seam allowance) I cut out a rectangle from the towel.

I made the rectangle about 10 inches wide. I also made sure that the finished edge of the towel was one of the edges of the rectangle (so that I wouldn't have to hem it!)

 I folded up the finished edge 2 inches. I then folded the unfinished edge down and pinned it all together.  I sewed down the side approximately half an inch from edge.  My sewing machine was unwilling to sew through three layers of towel... so I had to do it by hand.  It took a little longer, but once it was finished I could turn the tube right-side out.

I ended up with a good-sized tube with a tab sticking out.  After sewing up one end of the tube it was time to stuff it full of good, draft-stopping stuff!

I decided to use rice and scrap pieces of plastic baggies (the handles and bottoms) left over from fusing them together.  I measured out the rice into zippy bags so that just in case my draft dodger got wet it wouldn't be ruined.  (About one cup of rice per baggie worked well.)  I suppose you could also use beans, aquarium gravel, or regular stuffing.  I wanted something nice and heavy so that the draft dodger would lie firmly against the floor.

A few stitches to close up the other end and I had a very heavy tube of towel!  Now, why is there a tab on the one side?  Well!  I am glad you asked!

Using my handy-dandy staple gun I was able to tack the draft dodger directly to the bottom of the door.  Now whenever we open the door we don't have to kick the draft dodger back in place!

Goodbye chilly draft!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mythological Mayhem!

My little sister is a nerd.

I love her to bits, but that is the honest-to-goodness truth!

What other 6th grader do you know has memorized the periodic table and spends her summer vacation teaching herself latin (for fun)?  As her summer vacation drew to a close, my little sister decided to work on a little craft project.  Perler beads are such fun!  But never being content with the standard patterns, she decided to make her own mythological creatures!

First we have a pair of hippocampi or "sea horses." Half horse, half fish!

Here is a hippogriff.  Half horse, half eagle.

Lastly, we have a centaur!  Half horse, half man.
...hmm... but shouldn't we be calling him a hippo-sapien or something?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

More Shorts

I said I would and so I did.

I made a pair of T-shirt shorts for myself!  I took a stab at drafting my own pattern based off of a pair of shorts I already had... and it worked!  I even managed to include part of the graphic that was on one of the old T-shirts I used.

...and since Zach's first comment about the shorts I had previously made for him was "it doesn't have pockets" I made him a second pair of shorts WITH pockets!

Now we can BOTH be comfy and stylish in our sleepwear!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Puppet Pals

Like most people who have easy access to the internet, I am guilty of spending far too much time watching silly YouTube videos.  First I'm just watching the latest video that my brother-in-law made.  Then--Oh hey!  Someone made a song out that one Lord of the Rings line about potatoes!  Oh look! Now it's suggesting I watch an animated singing banana!

And on and on it goes...

In this manner I was soon introduced to the Potter Puppet Pals.  (They are really quite clever!)  What's great about these puppets is their simplicity.  Each puppet has the same head, body and arms... the only differences are their faces and hair.  Thus I was inspired to create my own little puppet pals!

I started with a spoon.

I was able to get a package of 4 large plastic serving spoons at the dollar store and I traced one of them to give me the pattern for the puppet head.  Based on that I drew up an ear pattern:

I found that it was easiest to trace the pattern onto the fabric and then sew directly on the line.  That way I didn't have to worry about adding a seam allowance!  After clipping the curved edge, I simply turned it right side out and added a little bit of stuffing.  Then came sewing the ears onto the head:

After tracing the head pattern on fabric I pinned the ears so that they were facing in towards the center of the face.  Like before I sewed along the pattern line stopping a little after the second ear to give room for insterting the spoon.  After trimming, clipping and turning I had a head!

A little stuffing around the spoon and a few stitches gave me a great shape!  I later hot glued the raw edges of the "neck" to the spoon just to be sure it wouldn't move.  Now onto the sleeves and arms!

After folding them in half, all that the sleeves needed was a simple seam up the side.  I made them out of fleece so that I wouldn't have to worry about hemming edges!  I sewed up the arms just like I did with the ears (trace, stitch, clip, turn and stuff) and then sewed them directly onto the sleeves before I turned the sleeves right side out.

I had to be sure to sew through only one layer of the sleeve material.  Then with a quick flip the arms were sleeved and done!  I then pinned the arms so that the very top of the sleeves were at the top of the puppet body.

I folded the collar in half and pinned that over the sleeves along the neckline.  I then sewed everything together with one seam!

I then folded the body in half with the arms on the inside and sewed up one side to finish it.  Once it was turned right-side out I just slipped the spoon head through the neck of the body and stitched it in place.

A little acrylic paint for the face and an extra "sleeve" for a hat and Ta Da!  My very own wizard puppet!  I just had to make him some friends:

"We're ALL Wizards!  Even Ron..."