Wednesday, October 31, 2012

So Many Blog Post Ideas, So Little Time

It's Halloween already.  I've been so swamped with sewing & embroidery orders I haven't been able to do much else.  Before I go nuts trying to decorate the house for the trick-or-treaters, I thought I would try my hand at something I've been dying to do for awhile:  face painting.

Note:  It's hard to paint your own face without your bifocals on.  (Just sayin'.)

Outside.  And no, even though it's Halloween, those are NOT those stupid "orbs"
everyone's always talking about.  I really need to clean my lens.

The other photo shows the colors better, but this one shows
the design much more clearly.
And yes, my camera really likes to focus.  On itself.

Other things happening on the home front:

I got to work on at least one Halloween costume this year.  A friend of mine wanted to be a Smurfette, but wanted to be comfortable while working the typical 9 to 5 in a cubicle.  So we dyed a white shirt and some leggings that pretty aqua Smurf blue color, only the leggings were too high in synthetic content and wouldn't take the dye as well as the cotton shirt did.  So Phase Two included running out to the local fabric store, buying some inexpensive flat-fold jersey (that neither of us could help "petting" repeatedly - it was that soft) and a pattern for leggings.  The leggings made up in about an hour, start to finish.  I may just have to go buy that pattern for myself.  (Wonder how long leggings will stay in style this time around?)  Anyway, my friend now has an awesome custom dyed t-shirt, some really comfy leggings, and a Halloween costume that she can use again.

And I think she makes a really cute Smurfette, don't you?

Other creative stuffs:

Guess who finally finished his mom's custom-decorated slip-ons from Payless?
These.  Are.  AWESOME.
And I'm the only one with a pair so far (hee hee hee).

Embroidery jobs that flew through here lately:

Note to future customers:  when you tell your students that they need to
purchase a white polo top to have custom embroidered, you might want
to mention that they should select a shirt WITHOUT an existing logo.
That C and crest weren't part of my custom design.
Should have taken a picture of the cuter one, though - the Falcon
looked like it was about to capture the Tommy Hilfiger flag logo.

For a band mom.
Whose three kids in the program all have interesting nicknames.

And last (but not least), here is the Sewing Assistant doing his best to look like a scary Halloween kitteh:

Happy Halloween!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fine Tuning & Going a Little Old School

 Because I am that kind of mom.  I mean, I'm all for new technologies and such (and trust me, I use it to my advantage on a daily basis), but sometimes you just gotta fall back on what you knew way back when.....

Still playing around with the Halloween decor; fine tuning the eyes in the tube for all the outdoor plants up the front walkway.  It's starting to look nice & creepy (and here's a shout out to new technology - LOVE the night setting on my camera, even though it means I HAVE to get the tripod out and set it up just to take a simple snapshot...)   :

This will either make them laugh, or it will keep them from coming
to the front door.  We'll have to see how it looks when I have all of them
cut out with all the different colors in them. 

Whazzat?  You have no idea what I'm talking about?  Hmmmm.....after trolling my blog, I'm discovering that you are (ahem) in the dark after all - I guess I never posted about this little project.  My bad!

Old School #1:
Simple craft:  save your cardboard tubes (from toilet paper or paper towel rolls); head to your nearest Dollar Tree or 99 Cent Store and pick up multi-paks of glow in the dark bracelets (they are EVERYWHERE right now with the Halloween stuff); find some eye designs by Google-ing images of scary (or Halloween) eye clipart; draw them on the tube (it doesn't really matter if they are perfect, trust me); cut them out carefully with an X-Acto knife and a very sharp pair of small scissors; crack the bracelet and shake it up; fold it into the bracelet shape & attach the connectors included in the pack; stuff it into the tube; then go outside and stuff it into one of your trees, bushes, or plants.  The bracelet should glow for several hours - this is one I cracked open about three days ago to start beta-testing, then threw it into the freezer.  It's still going strong, so I'm pretty sure the new ones will be scaring the kiddos all night on Halloween.  Especially since we have about 8 of these multi-tier topiary type bushes out front, LOL.......just imagine eyes in every tier, in about five different colors.....

Someone is fired - AGAIN:

 The Sewing Assistant, sleeping on the job.
As usual.

New School # 1:

C'mon, seriously?  Who names their daughter "Monet?"
No matter - as long as they can pay for the embroidery job....

An Old-School, New-School Combo:

New School:  The wireless mic that the field show soloist needs to have somewhere
on his person because he doesn't have time to run up to the podium during the show
for his solo.  Needs a secret, secure pocket close to the front, so he can hit the
button and have it near enough to the pickup on the bell of his sax to prevent
distortion or loss of sound.

Crappy photo of Old School:  After measuring the mic, I serged the top edge
and turned it under for a clean finish.  Then I measured the front of the pocket with the
mic unit inside of it, took two tucks in the bottom corners for depth, and sewed them diagonally.
After rechecking the fit, I pinned the front part of the pocket to the back part, to make it
a little easier to remove and reuse should they need it again next year.
When I'm not "with the band" any more.  

Stitched the side from the top of the pocket (with reinforced backstitching)
to the point of the diagonal and stopped (backstitching again for reinforcement).

Folded the diagonal toward the side that was already stitched,
started the stitching on the bottom at exactly the same point where I had
just finished off, and continued across the bottom.   I repeated this
when I got to the other corner.  After stitching all of this into place, I
serged around the entire pocket, leaving the top of the front open.

The finished pocket, sewn to the inside of the soloist's jacket with
a simple straight stitch.  This will make it possible for the next uniform chairperson
to detach the pocket and reuse on the jacket of whomever has the solo next time.
The inside, hidden pocket with the snugly-fitting wireless mic firmly in place.
Wish you could see & hear the show - the music is awesome this year.

Really, Really Old School:

Son # 1 comes home with some hysterical story from work roughly three weeks ago, about one of his co-workers who seems to have a real gift for humor.  He can come into the break room, look one of his fellow employees up and down like he's deciding whether to make a pass at him, then mutters "Mmmm, mmm, MMMMHHHH!" before walking on.  Apparently, this scenario repeats itself every time these two guys cross paths - and it's pretty funny because everyone knows they are just posing.  Son #1 gets the bright idea to make a custom t-shirt to wear underneath his uniform shirt as a surprise - then brings the other employee in on the joke and they decide that I need to make at least three of them - one for each of them to flash at the employee the next time he comes into the break room "eyeing" the other guy, then one to present to the employee as a gag gift.  

(Notice how "the son decides to make custom t-shirts" became "I NEED TO MAKE AT LEAST THREE OF THEM"?   Yeah, I did, too.)

Son #1 surreptitiously photographs the "swinging" employee, brings it home, puts it through
Photoshop & makes a black and white, high contrast stencil silhouette.  He tapes the printout to
a piece of Reynolds freezer paper, does part of the cutting
before he goes to night class, and mom finishes it up.
Note that he had to "borrow" mom's X-Acto knife, mom's cutting pad, and mom's new blades to do this.
And that mom had to go hunt for these items in said Son's bedroom afterwards.  Just sayin'.  

Mom irons the freezer paper stencil, shiny side down, onto a pre-washed shirt.
Out comes the Jacquard Textile paint in black, and mom paints it
on with a cheap-o foam brush.  It's much better than using a bristle brush.
(Dab the paint on if you're going to try this at home.  Works better than actually making brushstrokes
 - especially in areas that have tiny or thin pieces of the freezer paper cut.  Otherwise, you
can dislodge the smaller cuts and distort or ruin the pattern.)

This brings back all kinds of memories of doing late-night, last-minute painting projects
during art school (college), and mom gets all nostalgic and stuff.

Thought you might appreciate a view from the stencil side.
I know it looks like some crazy kidnapper got wild with the
duct tape, but be patient - all will be revealed when the paint dries
and the stencil can be VERY carefully lifted off the shirt and re-used.
Remember, mom has to do three of these suckers, and she's not about
to spend another three hours tonight cutting out all these tiny little details.  
The finished project (shirt #1).  Two more quickly followed
this one.  Can't wait to see the photos of the other employees
when Son #1 presents the shirts to them.  
Yes, this kind of detailed hand-cut stencil work takes a lot of time.  But - I really didn't have time to hit that learning curve to burn and use a silkscreen on my Yudu tonight, possibly wrecking the only two sheets of emulsion that I currently own and probably ending up doing it this way, anyway.  I figure I saved myself a lot of time & frustration.  But I WILL master that Yudu some day....especially if (and probably WHEN) either Son #1 or Son #2 come up with an idea for multiple t-shirts that they "really, really need by tomorrow, Mom!"