Saturday, March 30, 2013

Handmade Owl Purse Tutorial

I mentioned in my last post on New Years Resolutions that I was challenging myself to create handmade gifts this year. Easter weekend was crazy in my house because my daughter Hailey and first son Wyatt were born exactly 10 years and 3 days apart and this year their birthdays landed on Easter weekend. It's a good thing I started making their gifts early. Wyatt got a super cute Old MacDonald puppet set and For Hailey I made a zippered and lined Owl purse. Today I'm going to share how I made the purse.

I started looking for gift ideas by googling handmade, teen, DIY, sewing in all different combinations. I landed on a few Owl purses that I thought looked really fun and decided to give it a go. I decided to make two bags at the same time. Since I'm going to try to give handmade gifts all year this gives me an extra present ready to go.

1. I made my own pattern from printer paper taped together. I know you can buy a pattern from one of these sites and if you want to do that I think the prices are pretty reasonable and it takes the guesswork out of sizing and scaling the features, etc. I've made a few bags before so I felt pretty confident I knew what I wanted. I found a cute owl fabric package at Walmart for about $12 with five different but matching patterns. Not the most affordable fabric I've ever purchased but I liked it enough to splurge.

2. With my rotary cutter (just use scissors if you don't have one), I cut out
- 5 layers of the owl body pattern. One for the front, one for the back, two for the lining and one out of a lightweight fusible interfacing.
- Two wings
- Two large circles for eyes, I used pickle jar lids to trace the circle onto the fabric then cut them out with scissors.
- Two medium size circles (I just used a baby food jar lid) and a triangle nose out of orange felt material.
- Two small circles (just eyeball it, pun intended) out of black felt for the pupils.
- Six long strips approximately 2.5 inches by 30 inches for the straps (two out of fabric, two out of a different fabric and two out of interfacing)
- I also bought some thread and a zipper at least an inch longer than the width of the bag. I think mine was 14 inches.

3. To make the front of the bag, the owl face, I first ironed the interfacing onto the wrong side of the front fabric. The interfacing stops the material from stretching and gives it a little bit of stiffness. Then, I just layered on the eyes, nose and wings using a zig zag stitch over the edge of the fabric and a small stitch length. I used a straight stitch on the felt (felt doesn't fray so the edges don't need to be covered by a zig zag).

4. To make the strap, I ironed the interfacing on to the wrong side of the fabric (two pieces) and then sewed the short ends together to make a super long piece. I would have just used a continuous long piece of fabric if I had it but the material I bought were smaller squares. I also sewed the two lining pieces together to make another long strip. Sew the two long pieces with right sides together down their long edges. Trim with zig zag scissors and flip the strap right side out. Iron.

5. With right sides together, sew the owl face to the back, and the inside lining pieces together. Flip the outside bag around and press flat but leave the lining as is.

6. Then I sew on the zipper. I follow the instructions on this blog ( because they work really well. The only variation is to make sure your strap is first positioned where you want it. I also had to trim the "ears" of the top of the fabric to make a straight top edge when I couldn't figure out how to put the zipper on the curve. Maybe one day I'll figure it out.

I think it turned out really well. I was afraid it would be to juvenile for a girl turning 13 but Hailey says she likes it. I filled it with candy and an iTunes card so that probably helped.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

New Years Resolutions

Way back in January (that seems so long ago now), I made a few New Year's resolutions to motivate myself into doing a few of those things I'd been meaning to do for a while but never seemed to start. They were:

1. ORGANIZE: Clean and de-clutter the house. I always clean in spurts. Life can be moving along at a pretty steady pace and everything seems normal. Then, all of a sudden, I announce that the state of my kitchen floor is absolutely disgusting and I can no longer live in this pig pen. When I really start to think about it, this meltdown has a lot more to do with my anxiety level than the mess. But for me, the two are so connected that I need to be aware I feel better with some small amount of organization to the toys that have now taken over 5 of the 11 shelves on my living room bookcases. Less mess = less stress.

2. HEALTH: Take control of my health beginning with the foods I feed my family every day. This is a huge one so I'm making small changes at a time. A this time, 3 months later, I'm extremely proud that I've cut out 95 percent of processed foods. Don't get me wrong, I love convenience food and I've let the occasional baloney sandwich pass my lips but its a whole lot better than before. If there was a line of freezer meals that fit my food goals I'd be in.

3. HANDMADE: This last one was kind of a last minute add-on. I've long been bothered with the excess stuff that fills my house (see resolution #1). I decided this year to give handmade gifts that hopefully show people how much I love them and that I put special thought into each gift. This probably wont make me very popular when my 12 year old has a tween party to go to. I may break the rules a little at times. Here are a couple photos of my completed gifts so far. I hope to share more of the details soon.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Problems of a Two Year Old

I'm not sure where to start with this whole blogging thing so let's just talk about what is going on at our house right now. After 3 solid months in underwear, we put our toddler back in diapers.

We have three beautiful children, ages 12, 2 and 9 months. The two year old, Wyatt,  is almost three, which is why we started potty training him back in December, 2012. We thought we were doing everything right but boy were we wrong.Wyatt seemed ready, he was exhibiting all the signs we were told to watch for. He seemed interested in the toilet, he didn't like being in a soiled diaper, and he was waking up dry after naps and even overnight.


Method number 1, leave your child to run around naked from the waist down. We did this. Dutifully, for three whole days Wyatt went pantless on my couch with the potty in one corner of the living room. The microwave timer set to go off every twenty minutes so that we could bribe/request/force his tushy on that potty. Failure.

Method number 2, by now the books all said to go ahead and put pants on, that your child should be toilet trained. Ha. We had trained ourselves to put Wyatt on the toilet at regular (though longer than 20 minute) intervals. We got pretty good at this over the next few months but if we forgot, or Wyatt drank more than usual, and every time he went number 2, it was Failure.

Method number 3, don't put him on the toilet in the hopes that he will start "initiating" this process. By this time a power struggle had set in and every bathroom trip had become a meltdown, throwdown battle. Maybe, we thought, he will just go on his own if we stop bugging him so much? Failure.

So here we are, back in diapers. I was not happy about it but Wyatt was. He's been the happiest I've seen him in three months. I didn't realize how stressful potty training could be, the problems of a two year old, eh?

Do you have any advice on how to start fresh next time we try to tackle this issue? How did potty training go at your house?