Flashback Series: Favorite non-purse, non-clothes projects

Well, 2.5 weeks in my new house and it's feeling a whole lot more like home! I've got a lot done and yet there is still always more to do to organize and unpack.  The two biggest projects left are actually my husband's office and my sewing room.  I think we both expected to have our work spaces done sooner but the other parts of the house seem more important.  I think I'm about ready to tackle my sewing area, but it may be slow going as I'm 33 weeks along and get out of breath and lightheaded very easily, sometimes when not even exerting myself!

So here is another entry in my Flashback Series. I picked 10-ish of my favorite sewing or other craft projects that were NOT clothes or purses.  I tried to pick things that I haven't already shared, though there may be a couple projects that have already showed up in the series. Most of these projects are several years ago because I've begun sewing so many clothes in the last couple of years that it doesn't leave much time for other things!

First, my quilted wall hangings.  I made two of the brown hangings but don't have a decent photo of them together.  They were made to coordinate with my throw pillows on my couch, and I used some fun techniques even though I barely knew what I was doing.  I still love these and keep them around even though I'm tired of the brown couches and just waiting for a chance to replace them!  The other wall hanging was a LOT of fun.  I ordered some blue and orange and multi-colored batik swatches on ebay and cut them into smaller pieces.  Then I placed them into all sorts of different configurations until I found a design that I liked.  I even took photos of the fabric and used a computer program to experiment because the fabric squares were starting to fray from too much handling.  This sunset ocean scene was the final result.  I love this hanging and need to find a place to hang it in my new house!

When my daughter was a toddler I found a fun project online about making spool dolls with paint and mod podge.  I made a collection of six dolls for my daughter to represent our nuclear family plus her grandparents.  I later on made some for my nephews.  This was such a fun project and these dolls are still around years later.  All of my kids have enjoyed them at one time or another.  

When my daughter was 2 I decided to make her a quilt for her bed.  When she was a baby we wall-papered her room with a border that had frogs, turtles, and ducks, and we always said that her animal was frogs, the next baby would have turtles, and the third ducks.  (What's funny is that her brother to this day loves turtles). I found a fabric panel with cute frogs and had to use it for her quilt.  I used some amateur applique techniques that worked okay.  Later that year I made a really cool bug quilt for my nephew, and I'm including in this list a cool ombre quilt I made for another nephew a couple years later.  I had to add the quilt for my third child too, which was all minky and embroidered animals. I've made some other kid quilts but I'd say these are my favorites.

One of my all-time best projects was a soft-structured carrier for my son.  I carried him in it so much as a baby and toddler, and since he had colick and constantly wanted me to hold him, it gave me a lot of relief. I used a tutorial online but by the time I finished it had been altered quite a bit.  I made a different carrier a few years later from a paid pattern and I was disappointed with the result.  This one was great though.  I also used it heavily with my third baby.   This thing has made airport travel, beaches, errands, and much more so much easier.  

Next is another quilt, but this time for my KING-sized bed! Yes, it was a mammoth project, but it has been on our bed for 6 years and has held up extremely well.  I just noticed a few months ago a rip on the back, and it has had a couple of marker stains from children.  Remarkable when you consider that every time it got dirty, we had to drive an hour to my in-laws' house to use their washer and dryer! I bought the fabric very cheap from Fabric.com.  All of the colors were cotton-poly broadcloth except possibly the back, which was an extra-wide muslin fabric, I believe.  I used a polyester batting and quilted along the straight lines.  I had to quilt it standing up with my machine on my large cutting table, while my husband helped me feed it through the machine!  I was a bit disappointed with the shades of yellow and gray initially but I have gotten used to them.  A year or so later I made matching throw pillows.  I love love love the patterns I came up with after searching the internet for ideas.  These have held up very well except the white pillows which are definitely not pure white anymore!  I was surprised that the yellow ones held their crease but they have.

Sewing for men is tough.  I have made several bow ties for my husband but either they didn't have enough interfacing or I made them too big, etc.  It's really tough to find actual Italian silk fabric for ties.  I found this red and blue fabric from place that sold vintage tie fabric.  I combined two patterns, the Purl Bee tie and Puking Pastilles tie. The thing that made the most difference in this tie was that I had actual tie canvas interfacing from an old tie of my husband's, which gave this tie a really nice hand and weight.  This tie and cufflink set was a present for my dad.  When he passed away last year, my brothers all got ties and Adam chose this tie, so it makes me sentimental and happy when I see him wearing it!

I made a green and pink dragon for my older kids when they were pretty young.  I used the Yoki pattern from DIYFluffies. We named them Yoki and Yoko!  I wasn't terribly happy with the result from all the hand-sewing, and so when my sister wanted one I changed the pattern to make it almost entirely machine-sewn, which made for a much more sturdy final product.  A couple years later I made some black and red ones for my nephew and third kid. 

This next project was so simple but I really loved them.  I made two swaddling blankets from beautiful gauze fabric I found at my local store.  I made them large squares with rounded corners and then used a rolled hem foot to hem around the edge.  They were super quick to make and perfect for a mid-summer baby because they were so lightweight.  And the patterns on the fabric are so pretty!

I used to do a lot more upcycling but haven't in awhile because it's a pain to store old clothes that I want to keep around "just in case." But I'm really glad I kept this old sweater around because it made such a great sleep sack!  It was made from a super stretchy rib knit and with the zipper feature that I kept, I just slipped it over the baby's feet and up her body.  I'm glad it's blue because I'll be able to use it with my fourth baby (a boy) on the way too.  Of course, he may be using purple sheets and pink cloth diapers too, but it's nice to have some typical boy things around too! Sleep sacks are great because you can skip blankets and keep the risk of suffocation low at night.

A few years ago I was trying to figure out ways to personalize my purses and options I could add for brides, and I started entering the world of metal stamping.  I bought some tools and sets, and then decided this would be a great Christmas gift!  I bought two of these large, personalized metal trees off of Etsy, one for my parents and one for my in-laws.  I also bought two of the small trees from a different seller for my sister and my sister-in-law.  I stamped all of the names of everyone in my family and wow, did that take awhile! Then I carefully positioned them on the branches, which was much easier for my in-laws' three kids and spouses and six grandkids than for my parents' seven kids plus spouses and 20+ grandkids! I actually need to make my mom a new tag for my year-old niece and also one for my upcoming baby too.  These were such fun projects and a really unique way to do a family tree, I felt. My siblings all pitched in on the cost, which was kind of high after all the supplies. I'd like one for my own family but the shop selling the little trees has stopped selling them, so I need to find a different option. 

After my third baby was born, we realized we were short a Christmas stocking.  We had bought our others from Target and they didn't carry them anymore.  After Christmas that year, I came up with my own stocking pattern and several variations for interest.  I love how they turned out!  I actually turned this into a business the next year.  I've sold stockings for two Christmases and it's a nice supplement to my income at a time of year when purse sales are lower. My husband had me actually make him a new one this last Christmas, and I will need to make one for the new baby.

Last is a project I made last February for my husband's birthday. Our couch quilt had been getting ragged and we always had to share, which didn't always work when we wanted to be on separate couches! So I made two blankets with super soft and fluffy fabric on one side and sweatshirt fleece on the other.  I serged around the outsides, and voila, two easy blankets! My kids were really jealous, so I ended up making each of them their own blanket, which they love to death.  They really are soft and cuddly! For some reason I can't find any photos of the kids' finished blankets except one from movie night where you can see parts of two of the blankets. 

So those are some of my favorite projects that weren't purses or clothes! It's fun seeing how many of these projects are still in use (probably why they are my favorites!). 

I hope to be able to show off my brand new sewing room next post, but if not, I do have one more Flashback post planned.