Monday, April 24, 2017

Decorating Onesies (A Pseudo-Guide)

Babies are expensive. Everyone who's ever received that ginormous hospital bill knows that. And then the clothes - who else gets to change their wardrobe four times a year? (Other than supermodels.)  This is, of course, why I garage sale. And yet, there are times when I really want a specific onesie, or I've only been able to find plain ones, and I want to make them a little cuter.

Thus, my 'journey' of decorating onesies began, and today I'm going to share with you what I've learned, along with some pictures of all the onesies I've decorated so far. My skills have definitely improved over time!

The simplest way to decorate a onesie is with a Sharpie, but you can make it just a bit nicer by using a black fabric marker. These are only a few dollars each and should last quite a while. That's how I made my first several onesies.

As a general rule, I cannot take credit for the following designs. For the most part, I copied them from various sources around the Internet. Where applicable, I'll link to my source.



As you can see, I stuck to white onesies with black marker. While they're still cute, they look very unprofessional. This is fine; babies make everything look better. And yet, I wanted to up my game.

Enter the freezer paper stencil. I haven't posted a lot about freezer paper stencils before, but they're really a genius (and very cheap) way to personalize fabric. There are plenty of great tutorials out there, so I won't go into all the details of how to do it.  The only cons I've found to freezer paper stencils are: (1) for the amount of time you put into making them, they're not reusable and (2) it's really tricky to do designs with a lot of lettering.  

I also branched out into non-white onesies. Here are the first few I made:

I've made this design as an adult-size t-shirt before, using just fabric markers. It's hard to tell in the picture, but the silvery paint is actually quite glittery. This was a bit tricky to stencil, but for the most part it's just basic lines and simple curves.  The trickiest part of freezer paper stenciling (so far, for me) is keeping track of all the little inside pieces - those have to be ironed down separately, and they're so tiny and easy to lose.

This onesie is bright orange, so it took several (4-5) coats of fabric paint to get good coverage. After removing the stencil, I free-hand painted in the small details: the dots, the 'banner', and the little sunshine dashes.

These next three were done at the same time, but here I actually used patterned onesies for an extra professional look.

I loved the little pink bow on this onesie, so I tried to match the paint to the bow color. This onesie is super sassy, and looks great with Jo's purple ruffle skirt.

I'm pretty sure this was originally supposed to be a boy's onesie, but there's nothing boyish about it now. The glitter doesn't show up well in the picture, but the words are mega-sparkly.

For this one, I just copied Toadette's emblem. This one actually required two different stencil applications. I first painted the white, pink, and peach parts, and then once those were thoroughly dry, I put freezer paper stencils back over them and painted the black parts.

There are a few gaps in the paint, but when Jo's wearing it, you don't really notice them.

I sort of designed the pattern for this next one - I found the wreath as a free vector image, and chose a font I liked. :) The quote is from Emma by Jane Austen.

I love how it looks on this little ballerina-esque onesie!

For my final (for now) set of onesies, I had a handful of blank white onesies. By now, I've learned that if I want a white onesie to look professional, I need to either add a lot of color, use a fairly complicated design, or at least choose a design with colors that wouldn't really look good on any other color.  Here's one of each solution:

I sort of designed this one as well. The quote is from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I found the wreath as a free image online, although I chose to free-hand paint my own flowers (after the stenciling). I used the font Simplicity.  I painted the words in a subtle blue-purple gradient.

This is probably the nerdiest thing one can put on a Star Wars onesie. :) I stenciled the letters and the basic shape of the gun, but I free-hand painted all the little light grey lines on the gun.

For this one, I downloaded the font 'Harry P', to make it look extra Harry-Potter-y (totally a word). It's hard to tell in the pictures, but the Snitch is extra-sparkly.

So this was mostly just to show you what I've been making, but maybe I've also succeeded at imparting a few tips for making your own.

I use So-Soft fabric paints, of which I have a whole rainbow (plus black, white, and glitter) that I purchased probably 8 years ago (and they're still going strong).

Love and Paint,
Leah Joy

Monday, April 17, 2017

Another Baby Quilt

So, in February I finally purchased a walking foot for my sewing machine!  And then I found out a distant acquaintance was having a baby, so I latched onto this excuse to test out my new walking foot. :)

Here's the finished quilt:

My goal was to not purchase any new materials for this quilt (other than the batting), and I succeeded. Both the front and back are pieced together from pieces I already had in my fabric stash (or my mom's). Even the binding was leftover fabric from my sister's curtains.

This was also my first time trying chain-piecing. Boy, will I do that again! It made things so much quicker and easier! I was able to keep all my bits in order in their rows. (And I saved at least 5 inches of thread.) :)

I also now know how to make bunting. :)

Earlier this year, I posted about a table runner I made. In that post, I mentioned that I had since found a really great technique for machine binding.  I found this tutorial over at Petit Design Co., and it is brilliant. And so simple, too. It's a two-part tutorial: Part 1 and Part 2. Once you realize how it works, it's so obvious - like, why have we ever been doing this any other way? Look how nicely my corners turned out:

This was the only error in my binding:

Once again, I added a little tag to the back:

It's not very big, but it's perfect for tummy time! And so cute!

Love and Triangles,
Leah Joy

Monday, April 10, 2017

Sparkly Baby/Toddler Skirt

A while back, I found this magical organza-ish fabric on clearance at our local fabric store. They had bolts and bolts of it on clearance, and I so desperately wanted to buy some, but didn't know what I would make with it, so I resisted. But then I realized I could make baby skirts with it, so then I bought 5 yards. I will be able to keep Jo in sparkly skirts until she's in junior high.

Here's the first skirt I made with it:

The under-skirt is made from an old bridesmaid dress (they have to have some use, right?). I used two layers of the organza to give it a little more color and sparkle.

It's been washed once now, and I'm a little disappointed. Neither fabric shrunk, but the organza rolls up a little at the bottom, so now the under-skirt hangs down an extra 1/2 inch.

If I make another in this same style, I'll be sure to make the under-skirt an inch or so shorter to compensate.  For now, it's still cute. Here are a few pictures of it in action:

Jo loves it, too. She loves dressing up and putting on pretty things.

Love and Stars,
Leah Joy

Monday, April 3, 2017

Gilmore Girls Party

This past fall, to celebrate the release of the new Gilmore Girls episodes, I threw four themed watch parties for my friends and family.

Our final event was also perhaps the tastiest. We made homemade pizza and cheesy bread sticks. (Which are amazing, by the way.)

We also all brought our favorite sweets, and made dessert sushi! This was so much fun (and a little gross, too, to be honest).

Here's our spread: marshmallows, fruit snacks, sour gummy worms, gummy bears, Swedish fish, red hots, Butterfinger bites, fruit roll-ups (the seaweed wrap of the dessert sushi world), Joe-Joe's (Trader Joe's Oreos), Red Vines, and Whoppers. (There's also a salad in there, to really balance the meal.)

We tried the 'Oreo red-hot sashimi' from the show, and it was actually really good! Like, I would make these again.

Chloe also made one with a Whopper in the middle:

We made various disgusting combinations in the fruit-roll-ups, too, and sliced them up like sushi:

The marshmallows acted like the sticky rice - helping hold everything together.

While we found some good combinations, most of them were pretty gross, and we ended up just eating the candy straight from the bowl.

Have you ever made dessert sushi? What were your favorite combinations?

Love and Sugar Comas,
Leah Joy

Monday, March 27, 2017

Christmas 2016: Gifts Round-Up

Here's the final post for last Christmas; I wanted to share just a few more things I created.

First up, I decorated this library bag for my sister - with a quote from the Harry Potter books.

I found the bag at Hobby Lobby - it already had the gold dots on it, which I thought would help make this look a little more professional (ish).  You can't tell from the picture, but this bag is really quite large, so even Hermione would find it sufficient for her library books.

Second, I made more of these hanging kitchen towels. I've posted about these before, but I think it's fun how many color combinations you can make with this project.

Finally, I made several more of these flowy infinity scarves. I found the fabric at our local craft store's annual tent sale for about $3 a yard.

Love and Floral,
Leah Joy

Monday, March 20, 2017

Christmas 2016: Elephant Toy

Here's how cheap I am: I don't believe in getting babies/toddlers a lot of gifts, because they (1) already have a lot of stuff and (2) won't remember what you did or didn't give them for Christmas when they were one year old.

However, we still wanted to do something for Josephine, although to be honest, it was more so we could have the enjoyment of watching her open a present. :)

We found a cute Duplo train set on Amazon, and I also sewed this elephant toy for her.

I found the pattern here.

The only thing I would change was the part you leave open for stuffing. The pattern has you leave open the top of the back, but I'm not very good at discreet hand-sewing, so the back of the elephant is all puckered.

But still cute!

Love and Buttons,
Leah Joy

Monday, March 13, 2017

Christmas Ornaments: 2016

So, I'm a little late getting all the Christmas posts up this year, seeing as it's about time to post pictures of tulips, but I still wanted to share a few things from this past December.

Here's our mantel this year, complete with the stockings I made, my tree collection, and a playpen. :)

Caleb's parents have a tradition of giving each child an ornament each year. We've decided to adopt that tradition for our family, too.  For Jo's 2016 ornament, I made this little felt strawberry (actually about the size of my fist, so not that little).

We also had not yet gotten her a 2015 ornament (for her first Christmas), so when we went to Bronner's Christmas Wonderland (in Frankenmuth, MI) this fall, we looked for one. I knew what I wanted it to look like, and none of the traditional 1st Christmas ornaments were really looking right to me. Instead, we picked up this beautiful silver and blue ball ornament, and I added a tag with blue cardstock and a silver Sharpie. :)

I also made an ornament en masse to give away to our friends and family.  This year, I made these little felt cupcakes:

They were very time consuming, considering I made almost 30 of them, but they turned out really adorable!

Love and Cupcakes,
Leah Joy

Monday, March 6, 2017

Herringbone Table Runner

This past November, I got a new sister! My brother got married to a wonderful girl, and I wanted to make them something really beautiful as a wedding gift.

I found the instructions for this herringbone table runner over at Laurel Leigh Studios. I highly recommend the tutorial - it was well-written and very easy to understand.

I almost forgot to take pictures of this finished project. I actually had it all wrapped up (perfectly, I might add) and had to undo my wrapping so I could take pictures for you guys.

This project was intense, to say the least. Because of the herringbone pattern, you have to iron down the seam you just sewed before you can add the next strip. I brought my sewing machine into the living room and had the ironing board set up right next to it. Despite making this in October, I did a lot of sweating! :)

Here's the runner after being quilted, but before being bound.

I added this little tag, too.

The batting in this table runner is insulated batting - although I didn't realize that I needed to also add a layer of cotton batting until after I had quilted 100 rows.  So, it's not quite as functional as I wanted it to be, but it is very pretty!


Since making this, I've learned a really great technique for machine binding (more on that in a future post), and purchased a walking foot, but since I had neither of those in my repertoire then, I'm still pretty pleased with how the corners turned out. The only less-than-pretty bits are on the back, and no one will see them there anyway.

I'm really proud of this project - and yet I also kind of want to redo it now that I have a walking foot! Though the table runner is still a good size, it's several inches smaller than I had intended to make it. Because I just used my regular presser foot to quilt it, the whole thing went a little wonky, and I had to trim down quite a bit from the edges to even it out.

This project is so versatile. First of all, herringbone never really goes out of style, so this is something you can keep around forever. Secondly, you can use any combination of colors to make this suit any decor or season. Thirdly, you could even make it reversible; what if you made two 'tops' in different seasonal color schemes? I'm picturing a red and green pattern for Christmas on one side, and then a red and white pattern on the other side for the rest of the winter.

I also had fun experimenting with making hot pads, although, again, I still didn't realize that insulated batting requires a layer of cotton batting to be truly heat-proof. So this hot pad is adorable and completely useless. (Well, Jo has adopted it as a toy, so there's that at least.) 

It's pretty clear in this one how much I needed a walking foot - as the rows all sway out!

Have you ever made anything with insulated batting?

Love and Rainbows,
Leah Joy