Questions? Comments? Suggestions or Ideas? Contact me at:
cynspiration [at] gmail [dot] com

Thursday, November 25, 2010

All the Silhouette Giveaways!

Remember this post where I talk about what I want for Christmas? Well, there are many, many blogs hosting Silhouette Giveaways RIGHT NOW! I am entering for my chance to win, but you should enter to! Here is a list of the links I have found so far! Good Luck, but I am hoping I win!

  1. MakeItandLoveIt
  2. HomemadebyJill
  3. Grosgrain
  4. TheIdeaRoom
  5. HowDoesShe
  6. WeAreThatFamily
  7. TaterTotsandJello
  8. ThriftyDecorChick
  9. NoBiggie
  10. Kara'sPartyIdeas
  11. InfarrantlyCreative
  12. The TomKat Studio
  13. LoveStitched
  14. MomsReview4you
  15. Shanty2chic
  16. ABeautifulMess
  17. OurBestBite
  18. BeDifferentActNormal
  19. CentsationalGirl
  20. ColiesKitchen
  21. DollarStoreCrafts
  22. House of Hepworths
  23. SewDangCute
  24. eighteen25
  25. LivingwithLindsay
  26. CraftGossip
  27. UCreate

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What are your Holiday Dreams made of?

What is on your Wishlist this year? Mine is full of various books and small things, because lets face it, the MR heads into a Master's program later this year and we have 3 little boys. So Christmas for me is more about the boys. My wishlist doesn't get filled with expensive dreams. Just the small stuff. But I have a second SECRET wishlist. This is the one full of things that are OUT of the price range, but I want so bad it hurts!

There are only 2 things on this list(right now) and I know both are hopelessly out of reach, but I dream of them at night...

The Silhouette SD. WOW, what can I say, I think my crafting dreams would come true if this sat next to my computer. I can only envision all the wonderful things I could do with it. I made hats for the boys last night, J wants the bat symbol on his hat, and H wants Buzz Lightyear. How am I going to get Buzz Lightyear on a hat without buying a patch or spending hours appliquéing little pieces of fabric together? If I had the silhouette my problem would be solved. I would use the heat transfer and add it that way. I have to hold on to some hope that someday, SOMEDAY I will be able to open the door to see the UPS man handing me a package from The Silhouette company. Do you want one? Rumors around the blogosphere  tell of a special coupon code to get $100 off a special Silhouette package(okay, not rumors, they are valid! Head over to Crazy Coupon MommyMakeitLoveitHomemadebyJill. orThriftyDecorChick on Cyber Monday to get the special code or enter their giveaway for one before Sun night!). What an amazing steal! If only, If only!

The Second thing on my SECRET list is a bit more, okay a lot more expensive than the Silhouette (however, I consider it cost effective. You won't need to replace your machine in 5 years!) But it would make all my sewing dreams come true. I DREAM of the day when I don't hear the bobbin thread un-spooling because it came un-threaded mid-project, when I don't have to unpick a seam several times because my sewing machine  clogged, or the thread broke, or any of the other various problems my machine has. (These are not the result of user error. I can sew fine on my Mom's machine, which is NOT manufactured by the same company as mine.) Do you know what it is? Can you quess?

That's right, a BERNINA. Have you heard of them? Their machines are the ideal sewing machine out there, My Mom sewed on a used one for more than 20 years! That is a long life!! I can only dream of the beautiful Satin Stitching this machine could have given my Bowser Costume instead of the awful (good thing pictures don't give you a close up!) tugging that happened on my machine. I dream of the hum of this machine instead of the horrific sounds coming out of my machine(which sounds like death is knocking on it's door.) The machine pictured is the one on my list, the Aurora 450. It has 180 different stitch patterns and 4 alphabets. And it would last me years!! This one machine could see J and H into adulthood! And I see it in my dreams, every night it calls to me.

Now that you know my Secret Little Wish list, what is on yours?

(***This is not a paid advertisement and  was not requested by either company, just me spouting about what I want for Christmas this year-I would even count it as all my gifts for 2011, 2012, and 2013 too!!!***)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Easy Pants

Remember this outfit? I wanted a dark brown shirt/pant set but didn't want to spend time or money searching for the right outfit. So naturally, I decided to make it. I wanted to use knit so little C could be comfortable in his outfit, it was after all his first birthday and party. I ended up buying a dark brown 3XL Hanes t shirt from the folded shirts in the Men's section at Walmart. The shirt went far. It made one pair of 18 mos pants, one 18 mos long sleeve shirt, and the belt on his vest! I may buy more shirts just to use the knit for other projects. 

I started by finding a pair of pants that fit C. I laid out my freezer paper and folded the pants in half and made sure the seam was pulled out. See how I have them laid out and you can really see the shape of the pieces?

Next step: Trace, making sure to add a seam allowance, about 1/2 inch all the way around. Place pattern on your fabric and cut 4. (OPTION: You can also place this piece on a fold, just put the long, straight edge on the fold and do NOT incorporate a seam allowance on that side. Cut 2 on fold.) 
Pin and sew along the straight edge if you did not cut on the fold and pin and sew the inseam. Leave the curve open! Notice where my pins start, the open space will be where we connect the two pant legs together.
Turn one pant leg right side out and leave the other leg right side in. 
Put the right side out sleeve on to your arm like a sleeve with the bottom of the pant leg at your wrist.  Pull the second leg right over top of it.  Match seams, Pin. Sew. Pull leg out of pants inside. You should now have a pair of pants with all the seams on the outside. It really works. 
Hem the bottoms of each leg. Do this by folding one half inch, then a second half in. I like to press here, and then Sew.
Now make a casing for your elastic. Do this my folding the top of the pant in, larger than your elastic plus seam allowance. I used 3/4" elastic and folded my edge 1 1/4" down. Leave an opening so you can pull your elastic through. Notice the X. Sew.
Use a safety pin to pull your elastic through the whole pant. Then sew your elastic ends together, and close up the whole. I like to put a small piece of looped ribbon into the seam there to make it the back, and I like to run a stitch up the fabric along the original seam (not pictured, but leave a comment if you want one.) to secure the elastic and prevent twisting.
Turn right side out and you have some comfy new lounge pants! 

******A few Notes******
*Make sure to pre-wash your fabrics, to prevent shrinkage later.
*I also generally serge my edges, but was in a hurry on this day. Also knit doesn't unravel the way cotton and other fabrics do so it wasn't as big of an issue for me.
**Share some love and leave a comment so I know who you are! Also, stay tuned, I have a fun project in the  works and what I am making is headed to an online auction in support of a little boy who just had open heart surgery.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Very Viking Birthday!

We call my third son Concobar. And he loves it. In fact, he is my only child to HAVE a nickname. No others stuck, and J is strongly opposed to nicknames. But the baby, he gets one. His Aunt refers to him as "Concobar the Barbarian!" and so for his first birthday theme, we ventured out of the Young ideas and went to Viking. He had a banner, a cake, and a GREAT costume.

I used a 3XL Hanes shirt from the Men's section at Walmart for his shirt and pants. Super easy(Tutorial is in the works!) The Vest I winged my way through with some fabric out of my Mom's left over pile and the belt was pieced together from the Hanes shirt. I love the bulky look of it! We had to put on the spats too, but instead of using Velcro, I used some Suede cord again to tie them on. I think it really completed the look. I then made a simple skull cap with a band  out of brown fleece(the vest was also lined with this) and added some stuffed horns. PERFECT!
Felt Banner attached to some Suede cord fund in the craft section at Walmart.
Fantastic Cake by Ashley from Ashley's Cakes by Design. Look her up if you are in her area!
I think the best part were the foam battle ax and mace!  He sure had a fun time picking on his brothers ATTACKING INVADERS!


Did you all see our Guest Spot last week? Check it out here!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sweatshirt to Child Pants Refashion!!!

Guest Post with a good friend of mine! Susie from!  We first met on a message board because we both had little boys in Nov '09. I have loved getting to know her and I know you will LOVE what she has to share. Since we both have boys I am hopeful that she will have lots of ideas to share in my exploration of Crafting for little men.

I started sewing when I was 6 years old, my mom would sew every night and I would sit on the floor and watch her.  I started gathering scraps, and when she showed me how to sew by hand I made my first project-a belt for my older sister. I started sewing on a machine when I was 14 and things picked up from there!

I majored in Theatre in college, but mostly focused on Set Design even though I was working in the costume shop also during that time.  After graduating, I returned to my hometown and began costuming many local productions, as well as designing and supervising production for a regional theme park.  I also enjoy sewing fashion and accessory items, and now creating  for my child. 

 I've always enjoyed trying to extend the life of things around the house, giving them a new use if possible.  While I was pregnant I decided my next commercial project would force me to commit to re-purposing something in every thing I made.  So, after my son's birth, I launched my etsy store Free Rose.  Everything I feature on there, from my cloth diapers, to handbags and fashion pieces, is hand made by myself and feature repurposed fabrics.  I enjoy working within those constraints because it really is a great challenge and is very fulfilling. ~Susie

Elastic Free Upcycled Sweater Pants by Free Rose
Supplies: One sweater, Stretchy pants that fit your child (to use as a pattern) Scissors, Pins, Thread, Sewing Machine, Serger if available 
These easy upcycled baby and toddler pants are made using the neck of a sweater as the waistband, eliminating the need for elastic and providing a comfy seam free waistband.  When choosing a sweater, measure your child’s waist and and find a sweater with a similar neck circumference.  The sweater pictured has a thick 2” band collar, a turtle neck would make for a cool fold-over waistband; I even made a cool button-fly pair using a button up, collared sweater! A close knit is also helpful so that it will not unravel while you work with it.  Any fiber content will do; I used 100% Wool so that mine could double as a cloth diaper cover. Here we go!

Step 1: First, you will need to lay the sweater flat and inside out (right sides together).
Step 2: Then fold it in half with the front of the sweater to the inside, making sure it is flat and smooth.  Since a collar naturally dips to the front, we will be doing all of our measuring based off of the larger back seam.
Now, fold your childs pants along the middle with the front to the inside, making sure they are smooth.  Below you can get an idea of where  we are going with the patterning.  Moving on to measuring and cutting...
Step 3: Measure the outseam of your child’s pants (this is the seam that runs from the hip to the ankle). Add 1” for a hem allowance.  Using a ruler and that measurment, you will want to measure from where the collar meets the shoulder, down into the side seam of the sweater. You will need to add a 1/2” seam allowance.  I used a cutting mat, clear ruler, and rotary cutter, so I could measure my outside and seam allowance at the same time, it makes things much faster, and keeps your sweater lying nice and flat while you finish patterning!   *I measured 18” from the bottom of the collar for my approx. size 18-24 M pair.

Cut along your out seam, this removes the sleeves from the sweater.  (Set them aside, you can make a second pair of pants from them too!) We are halfway done!
Step 4: Now, go back to your children’s pants, and measure the center back seam, from the center of the crotch (where all the pieces meet) to the base of the waist band in the back.  Return to the sweater, and mark that measurement-starting at the base of the collar (where it meets the body of the sweater), adding 1/2” for your sean allowance. *I measured 9 1/2” for mine.
Step 5: For the next step, you’ll need to lay your child’s pants over the sweater, matching the crotch of the pants to your 1/2” above your measurement and the outer leg seam with your cut edge.

 Trace or cut along the inseam and hem, adding seam allowance (1/2” on inseam, I did a 1” hem so I would have extra to lengthen the pants later.)
Step 6: Pin the 2 seams together on your garment.   (Quick sewing tip: Pinning perpendicular to your seam allows you to easily stitch right over your pins!)

Thread your machine and set it to a tight, smaller than average stitch to prevent the knit from unraveling, a stitch length of 2 should generally work. Sew seams together, being careful keep your knit from stretching.
* If you are making these as longies for cloth diapers, you can easily add a soaker layer to the front and back before stitching the inseam.  The scraps from between the legs would work perfectly.
Your raw edges will need to be finished to avoid unraveling.  I used a serger, but a medium zig-zag along the edge would work also.
Step 7: Now onto the last step!!  Before turning up the hem, I like to trim a small corner off of the  bottom of the hem so that there is less bulk along the seam. 
 Turn up the bottom of the pants 1” (or whatever seam allowance you added in step 5) and pin

Stitch along the raw edge with a zip zag, which will finish the edge and hem the pants in one step, making sure to not stretch the garment as you stitch.  I also recommend using a zig-zag in this step because it is easier to remove if you even need to adjust the length of the pants, and makes it easier to keep the knit flat.
All that’s left is to turn your pants inside out and say “WOW! That was easy and these are adorable!!”  :)
I spent an evening hoping for an action shot, but my son was so comfy in these pants he wouldn't stay still.

Isn't she great!?! I love this tutorial and I intend to hit up the local Thrift store in search of a nice sweater or 2...or 3! 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween 2010 Part 3

Happy Halloween, did you all have one? I managed to finish my costumes with 36 hours to spare! Which is a huge improvement over last year. Remember when I told you what the boys wanted to be?

That's right, a cast of characters from the old Sonic the Hedgehog game. With no pattern available I was left to my own devices (and free hand drawing/pattern making) again this year.  It was easier than I thought, but also quite time consuming. But it was a labor of love, and the excitement from the boys was worth it. Taking pictures was difficult though, as I am sure you can imagine, what with three boys aged 4, 3, and nearly 1. What do you think I will have to make next year to top this? I may have to start sewing in July!

And now for the DEBUT! Sonic, Knuckles, and the Baby as Tails!


I am so proud of these costumes and I think they turned out so well! Let me know what you think!

***Disclaimer: I need to point out that this blog post is also an entry into the Giveaway Blogs Spook-A-Look Halloween Photo Contest. Contest Hosted by and***