window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);} gtag('js', new Date()); gtag('config', 'UA-54570621-1'); Keeping it Real: January 2014

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Crochet pillow - work in progress...

crochet pillow

Started last night. Inspiration came from here. It is one of my favorite crochet tutorials. Though it looks beautiful in all those colors, I'm going to stick with two tones of pink for the time being. 

http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/blooming-flower-cushion.html


Now we'll see how long before I can show the complete project...

See you around,

keeping it real, craft blog

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The 5-minute book cover tutorial

 
book cover tutorial, 5 minute book cover, sew book cover, felt book cover

I read a lot of books, mostly on the train on the way to and from work. Even though most of my books are paperbacks bought used from Amazon, I still like to use covers to protect the books when I put them in my bag everyday.

A while ago I made this:

book cover tutorial, 5 minute book cover, sew book cover, felt book cover

It is sized to fit the smaller paper backs. But I recently ordered some books that are slightly larger and needed a new cover. I made it last night and decided to share because it is a very easy and quick project.

book cover tutorial, 5 minute book cover, sew book cover, felt book cover

Seriously, it doesn’t take longer than 5 minutes to sew this book cover. Here is the tutorial:

1. Gather your supplies:
book cover tutorial, 5 minute book cover, sew book cover
• a piece of felt big enough to cover the book (including seam allowance on the top and bottom of the book and extra to fold over (pockets for the front and back covers)
• ribbon for the pages market (if you want one). I used about 20 centimeters, but length will vary depending on the size of the book you want to cover. Extra if you want to use ribbon to embellish the cover in any way
• buttons (or any other embellishment you want for the cover)
• thread (I used red thread to match the ribbon and the buttons)

2. Measure around the cover of the book

book cover tutorial, 5 minute book cover, sew book cover, felt book cover

3. Cut the felt: I used a rotary cutter but regular scissors will do just fine, just make sure you cut a straight line

book cover tutorial, 5 minute book cover, sew book cover, felt book cover

4. Measure again around your book, making sure both pockets are the same size

book cover tutorial, 5 minute book cover, sew book cover, felt book cover

5. Pin in place

6. If you want to use a page marker, pin the ribbon on the inside top of the cover. Here is the cover, all pinned and ready to sew

book cover tutorial, 5 minute book cover, sew book cover, felt book cover

7. Sew the top and bottom of the cover, securing the pockets in place, as well as the ribbon marker

book cover tutorial, 5 minute book cover, sew book cover, felt book cover

8. Sew on buttons and embellish as much as you want

book cover tutorial, 5 minute book cover, sew book cover, felt book cover

And your cover is ready to use. And it comes together so fast that you can make half a dozen in various sizes without much effort. Go make one now!

book cover tutorial, 5 minute book cover, sew book cover, felt book cover

To see how it looks with beads as an alternative embellishment, take a look at my summer book cover here. and, while you're at it, you can also check the crochet book cover!

Enjoy,

keeping it real, craft blog




Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Crochet afgan blanket

After not months but years, I managed to finish this blanket (or almost finish, since there are still some loose threads to tuck in).

crochet afgan blanket

Here is the (long) story. Three years ago, when my daughter was born, I crocheted a flowery blanket for her crib. My son (older by three years and two months) loves to sit in the couch during the winter months with a series of blankets and decided he wanted a new one.

Currently there are three blankets living in our couch, one in son’s bed and the other in daughter’s crib. They are all crocheted; three were made by me, one by my mother and the other by my grandmother. None of them is exactly pretty, but they serve their purpose (and colorful makes you happy, right?).

Anyway, three years ago I committed to making a sixth blanket with just two guideline: it had to have flowers (if little sister has flowers, big brother wants flowers) and I had to use yarn scraps.

crochet afgan blanket

Inspiration came from here but no matter how hard I tried, I could not figure out how to make the flower look the same. After a while I gave up and I just came up with my own flower and I’m happy with the results. One of these days I will try to post a tutorial.

crochet afgan blanket

The blanket is made of 294 squares (14 x 21), all different in terms of color coordination. I was working with several bags of year leftovers kindly provided by my mother, who’s an avid knitter so I had to make do. 

It is bigger and heavier than the other blankets, so I’m almost sure it will be commandeered by my husband (even though it has flowers), but we’ll see. Here it is in all its (still wrinkled) glory:

crochet afgan blanket

Someday I would love to make an actual quilt but right now I can’t seem to find the time to sit down and focus for the time it would take me to cut and sew fabric with enough accuracy to actually make something other than a complete mess.

If you have any suggestions for an easy beginner quilt, please bring them forward and maybe I can get some inspiration.

Enjoy,

keeping it real, craft blog

Monday, January 27, 2014

Jeans refashion part 2

Remember these pants?

Well, I managed to finish them during the weekend (in between vacuuming the house, keeping the kids entertained and a zillion other things).

kid jeans refashion

I added a detail to the zipper as planned and then realized that the tag on the inside was frayed and ugly (the pants were hand me downs, if you recall), so I decided to make a new tag using the same ribbon.

kid jeans refashion

It took me a while to get it right but I managed to sew it on without major downfalls (PSA: always check if the bobbin has enough thread before starting to sew, otherwise said thread will end exactly when you think things are going well).

kid jeans refashion

And here they are, ready to roll (actually, they rolled already because little girl wore them to school today).

kid jeans refashion

Enjoy,

keeping it real, craft blog

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Myrtle the Turtle - fee pattern at Purl Soho

Because I always need to plan ahead, I'm was looking for something to make for the kids as an Easter gift and I found these cuties:

http://www.purlsoho.com/create/2013/09/15/mollys-sketchbook-myrtle-the-purl-turtle/


There is a free pattern and the instructions seem clear enough. Go check them out.

Now let's see if I can actually get round to making them (I always need two of everything, unless I want to start a war)...

keeping it real, craft blog

Friday, January 24, 2014

A blanket for Dog

Along the past few days I have discovered one huge advantage of blogging: since I need something to blog about, I have been pushing myself to finish some of the projects I have laying around the house.

A couple of days ago I finished the dolls closet.

And last night I was looking for an easy project that wouldn’t take me a long time, and I found Dog’s blanket in the downstairs closet, unfinished and still with a needle stuck in the fabric.

This is Dog and she’s been living with us for almost a year (the only kind of dog I would consider having in an apartment, even a big one like ours), and is well loved by both kids, even though she was a present for my daughter. Dog came with lots of accessories but she had no blanket.

toy dog blanket DIY

It was my first attempt at bias tape and a not very successful one, especially in the corners, so I guess I need to practice more and improve my skills.

toy dog blanket DIY

The fabric came from an old polo shirt and the dog applique is made with felt scraps and was cut using this Sizzix Die Cut.


toy dog blanket DIY

Dog loves it, and so do we.

Enjoy,

keeping it real, craft blog

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

DIY Barbie doll closet


DIY barbie doll closet

My daughter received two Barbie dolls for Christmas and they came with several princess like dresses that I had no idea how to store in a way that she could easily reach. Someone suggested buying the dolls a closet, but I was not willing to shed that money on something that may not last very long in the hands of a three year old.

So, after New Year’s Day I took two days off work since the kids school was closed and tweaked with some ideas. I ended up using a small storage box that my mother didn’t need anymore and, after a few alterations (finished last night), the dolls now have a closet.

DIY barbie doll closet

The rod is a chopstick from a pair I brought home from a Chinese restaurant years ago and never used, the ribbon came from my stash and the mirror is from an old makeup bag. The hangers are made from paper clips but I’m not happy with them so I’m trying to come up with an alternative.

DIY barbie doll closet

On the floor of the closet the dolls have some containers (from an ice-cube tray) for shoes, bags and jewelry.

DIY barbie doll closet

And now I’m hoping the dolls love and use their closet for a long time to come.

DIY barbie doll closet

See you around,

keeping it real, craft blog

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Jeans refashion

Do you have in your closet clothes that you don’t use because they are not exactly right or that you used so often that you are tired of them? We all do.

Sometimes, however, with little effort (and cost) you can turn them into something new than you can enjoy again. This is something I do on a regular basis and that I hope to be able to share with you in the future.


kid jeans refashion


The jeans in the picture are not mine, these are size 3T hand me down jeans that I think are too boyish for my 3 year old daughter. But since I’m frugal and she has to wear jeans to school every day, I’m not about to turn them down. So I decided to spruce them up a bit.

This is not really a tutorial but the idea is that if you sew a pretty ribbon close to the edge of the hem. I didn’t sew it exactly on the edge to avoid the risk of it fraying too soon, and I’m also thinking of adding an embellishment to the zipper of a side pocket (which is on the leg you can’t see in the picture). I used the sewing machine, but if you don't have one, you can sew if by hand.

See, I told you I was crafty. This is an easy enough project that could be completed in half and hour (or less), but since I rarely have half an hour for myself with no interruptions, it will probably take me a week. I’ll post the finished product when I actually get round to finishing.

Edited:
They are finished, go check them out


keeping it real, craft blog

Monday, January 20, 2014

I have a blog

Ok, I have a blog.And a craft blog, at that!

For years I have been reading and following a long list of blogs. Some I read on a daily basis and others are just saved in my Favorites bar for occasional reference. Almost all of them are craft related because I would love to be crafty if I could find the time. Which will probably never happen anyway, but a girl can dream, right?

Since blogging is another activity that I expect will make another dent in my already stressed days (and nights), I’m keeping it real. While I love to read blogs where people have the perfect houses, raise the perfect children, make the most beautiful handmade clothes, toys, jewelry, etc and, on top of that, take the perfect pictures, that has nothing to do with my life.

So, here are 10 real facts about me:

1. I’m 38, married and I have two beautiful, healthy smart kids that drive me insane on a daily basis. Really insane. Some days I can actually feel my hair turning white when I’m dealing with them

2. Which leads me to the fact that I have white hair. Not all-white but not the you-can-actually-disguise-it-easily kind. Especially when I pull it back from my face. I know that one of these days I will have to cave in and have it dyed but I was hoping to hold that off until my 40th birthday. Which is something that my husband does not like to hear

3. I try to go to the gym 2 to 3 times a week. Which is true. Emphasis on “try”. Last week I actually went on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, though on Friday I only ran on the treadmill for 15 minutes so I’m not sure it counts. I’m still a few pounds overweight and I will never be a supermodel. Or any other kind of model

4. I sew and craft whenever I have time. Some of my work is OK. Some is wonky. My kids still love the wonky things I make them, but other people sometimes look at me like I should be in the loony house for wasting time like that when I should be cooking, or cleaning the house or any other politically correct alternative. Even my husband thinks I spend too much time with my sewing machine (which by the way is as basic as you can get)

5. I don’t have a fancy camera. Actually, I don’t even have a camera other than the cameras that come with my cell phone and Ipad (which, technically, don’t belong to me but to the company I work for), so any pictures I ever put in here will come from one of those sources. When I eventually discover how to upload pictures on the blog

6. I don’t have a perfect house. We live in a 5 bedroom apartment which often (as in, every day) looks as if a bomb has just detonated somewhere close. The kids have too many toys, I have too many books, clothes and craft supplies. I’m getting better at purging but the house is still over cluttered.

7. I lose my patience too often. I yell at my husband and my kids and sometimes I feel like I would like to break something. I never do it, though. Cleaning up the mess would fall on my shoulders anyway

8. I’m a lousy driver. I only do well if I’m driving alone in roads that I’m familiar with. I do OK with the kids in the car. Not so much with my husband. I always feel like he’s there to judge my performance and that usually guarantees a bad one

9. I never traveled a lot. I’ve never been outside Europe. When I was a kid there was not enough money, then I was studying and there was never enough time, then my husband and I started working and wanted to save to buy a house and a car. We finished paying the house when I was pregnant with my oldest. And now I just feel too overwhelmed to travel with two kids. I know of people (through other blogs, of course) that roam the world with a lot more children, but that’s just not me. Last summer was the first one we actually traveled with them, and (1) my husband had to threaten me almost and gun point for me to agree, (2) I packed so many stuff that it looked as if we were going to migrate to another continent forever even though we were only going to spend a week and a friend’s house in the mountains. I even took some bottles of milk and baby cereal for my kids. And their sippy cups. Just because they are picky with their food. Or maybe that’s why they are picky with their food…

10. I love to read. Always have. Any kind of books. Lately I have been reading romance novels. Nora Roberts, Linda Howard, Jill Shalvis, Rachel Gibson and the kind. I post reviews of the books I read on my other blog, The Book Worm. My husband is of the opinion that I have fried some brain cells somewhere along the line and loves to read the back covers for the summary of the plots and crack some jokes about it. I don’t care. I need some pink in my life, even if it just comes in paperback format bought used on Amazon. Which leads to another discussion as to why do I fill up the house with books when I could get a kindle instead. I’m an old fashioned girl. It just does not have the same magic.

And that’s it, folks. As real as it gets.

Feel free to browse around and I hope you enjoy your visit!

keeping it real, craft blog


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