Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Wool Firefighter Pocketed Fleece Lined Pants

Tis' the season for cold & damp in the Pacific Northwest. To prepare for the dropping temperatures I have been coming up with all sorts of projects for myself.  This is my first attempt at a lined pant for the wee one.  He was in need of some utility pants for his daily outdoor excursions.

Lil Guy wanted me to make him a pair of fire person pants and I wanted something practical he could wear for day-to-day use.  I picked a heavy weight, woven wool fabric in a vibrant red. This is a fabric that can take some abuse. 

The pants are lined with a light weight bamboo fleece.  Oh so soft and helps wick moisture too; not to mention adding warmth.

My favorite part about these pants are the reflective details and pockets.  Reflective piping is used around the fleece lined front pockets.

Two more pockets adorn the back of these pants.  Sturdy & plenty big to stuff all sorts of goodies in.

Of course, they needed some reflective leg stripes. These were iron-on and I'm thinking I might go reinforce with thread.

Lil Guy was very pleased with the results and even commented on the pockets.  Yes!  It always feels great to be appreciated for the love & sweat I put into his wardrobe.  As he grows, it's been fun getting more input from him & help in creating the clothes he wears.

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Urban Bike Spats for the Rain


Most of my creations are life inspired; and as y'all know my newest love is biking, it should come as no surprise that bicycle spats for rainy Portland are my newest handmade item.  

I made these using the same laminated cotton I make my art smocks with, BPA & PVC free. They are lined with a bamboo fleece.   A reflective piping runs down the length of the back of spat, giving you a bit more visibility. They snap on the sides for easy on and off with an adjustable elastic stirrup to help keep the spat in place.

I like the idea of playing with this design.  For instance, I think a knee-highed spat would be mighty protective from the elements and sassy. I also think a pair of these would come in handy with my wee one.  Adds more protection and definitely ups the style factor, if I do say so myself.

Currently I have these spats available through custom ordering on my Etsy shop.  PDF pattern is in the works. 

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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Civia Halsted, Cargo Bike of Sorts

I recently moved to the biking mecca of the USA and have to say I am really enjoying myself on my two-wheeled beast of a bike, Civia Halsted that I purchased at Joe Bike in Portland, OR.  This is an everyday hauler with a frame-mounted front rack that can hold various awkward objects.  It's a utility bike that is much smaller and lighter than most cargo bikes.  It's my station wagon.


Cargo Bike Love

It's a cycle truck with the basket connected to separate tube from the handlebars; meaning basket stays in place when you are turning & moves with the body of the bike, not the handlebars.  Notice the 20" wheel in front and 26" back wheel. The smaller wheel is stronger and has a lower sense of gravity, so it can take the weight and aids in stability. It's basket is rated to hold 50 pounds but I've probably carried 75 without issue.  Once loaded down, it can become the tiniest bit wobbly in the steering and the bike just glides. It's a super pleasant to ride and a decent price to boot. 

I've attached a Bobike Maxi Tour on the back of the bike.  I can tell you that having the extra head protection is worth it!  Darn bike tipped over with me & Lil Guy. It was my mistake, I felt so bad. He was a little shook up but completely protected.  It did a good job of cradling his body.  His helmeted head would have slammed against the concrete.  Found out how thankful I was for the added protection and it became a learning moment for mama.

The one drawback with this bike, it doesn't travel well on the Max Train AND I haven't been brave enough to try the bus yet.  For a bike capable of carrying cargo, it's relatively light and kind of amazing that I could get it hooked on the Max to begin with.  Of course I have to unhook the child seat and keep my goods in a tub to make all of this possible.  Maybe I just need a FlyKly Smart Wheel to electrify the bike & I wouldn't mind being loaded down and commuting 20 miles or so.

I've cut down on the amount I drive big time.  More than that, I get a sense of joy when I am pedaling to my heart's content.   The world isn't whizzing by quite so fast and my senses are alive.  

Stay Tuned for more bike accessory fun...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Cardboard Craft Firetruck for Halloween

Joyful it is to be a parent & craft with my wee one.  Halloween is no exception, and this year Lil Guy wanted to be a fireman. We got to work on a fire truck.

Cardboard Craft

It's amazing what you can create with some cardboard and hot glue.  A trip to Ace Hardware yielded useful accessories to give this truck some visibility for on the streets this Halloween.

This baby has front headlights, emergency lights and back brake lights.  Melissa & Doug poster paint made it a washable experience for Lil Guy to paint his truck with.  Had a pair of suspenders laying around that were perfect for making it wearable. 

What craftastik Halloween creations are you working on?  Love all things cardboard for kiddos and always excited to see what other people are making. Leave a comment! 

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Friday, October 11, 2013

DIY Portable Stereo for Your iPhone

What! What!  Now here is a craftastik way to give your iPhone some more volume when you are wanting to kick back and listen to some tunes.  Now, I can't take credit for this idea, as my beloved brought this to my attention from the interwebs.  We decided to give a paper towel roll a try and ya know, it does give a slight sound boost and I dare say a bit more bass tones.

All you need to do is cut a whole in the paper towel roll to fit your phone of choice.  Just make sure the speaker is pointing into the tube. I couldn't help myself, I just had to pretty it up!  As we just moved, I couldn't find my stash of washi tape that is hidden in a box somewhere. What I did find was a roll of purple duct tape and one roll of pretty blue imitation washi tape.  Works for me!  Now... I hear that adding some plastic cups to the ends are a nice addition.  Can give the sound more direction.

  Anyhoo... I leave you with this to blast on your portable stereo... "I Can't Live Without My Radio".

Monday, September 30, 2013

Reupholstered Child Bike Seat Tutorial

Vera of Biking Chandler has sent me a Bobike Mini cushion to reupholster.  That means I can now bring you the tutorial I talked about in my previous blog post.   You could really do this on any child bike seat cushion, but I have found working with Bobike cushions to be really easy.

Gather Child Bike Seat Redo Supplies:

Child Bike Seat Cushion
Upholstery Fabric
Fabric Spray Adhesive
Clips (paper clips would work also)
Mat & Rotary Cutter (optional)
Sewing Machine (could do by hand)
Elmer's Glue

Let's talk fabric.  I used a delightful multi-colored striped upholstery fabric that is sturdy.  It is cotton and will need to be weather proofed.  There are many options out there in sprays for fabric that aid in this.  Doing so approximately every 90 days will help repel water and stains.  You could also use an outside upholstery fabric made of polyester that can withstand a bit more. 

Now that you have your supplies gathered up, you are ready to cut out the pieces.  I cut TWO separate pieces.  I know there are pictures that illustrate one piece of fabric being used. Ignore that bit, that is a snafu.  Using one piece didn't work out so well.  Oops.  Anyhoo... use the cushion as a template and cut approx. 1.5 inches around each of the intended pieces; top and bottom.

Pieces cut, you are now able to break out the adhesive and get your sticky on. I used a multi-purpose craft glue that seemed to work fine.  I wanted this to be a fairly permanent thing, as it keeps the fabric from shifting on the cushion. Working with ONE piece at a time, I LIGHTLY sprayed the cushion and LIGHTLY sprayed the fabric.  Too much adhesive will bleed through fabric.  Be careful, this can happen easily. Carefully lay intended piece of fabric on the cushion with special care  and make sure the fabric is taught by smoothing your hand over the surface of fabric, rubbing the wrinkles away.

Starting with the top piece, begin to  clip the fabric back.  It helps if you really pull the fabric as tight as possible so it will lay nicely against the cushion.  Illustrated above, you can see how I pinned back the fabric when going around the corners.

When coming to more severe inverted corners, it can be helpful to snip the fabric like pictured above.  Go back with glue to reinforce and keep from fraying.

When reaching the bottom, I just folded fabric under.  You will be sewing around the whole piece. Once finished clipping piece 1, you are ready for the 2nd piece.

When you start the process again on the the second piece, you will be folding over the top of piece 2 to meet up with the bottom of piece 1.  I was careful to continue the correct color of stripe, to give it one continuous look.  Something to be noted if working with a patterned fabric.

I had to use some creative thinking skills to figure out how to manipulate the fabric in the above pictured opening in the cushion.  Carefully slice the fabric in the middle of the opening.  From the end of the sliced line snip outwardly to the corners, creating triangles essentially.  Think of this as an envelop cut of sorts. 

Pull the pieces you snipped back, and clip with clippie.  Reinforce this with Elmer's Glue once finished sewing fabric to cushion.

This is what it should look like fabric side up clipped.  Sew closely around the opening.

All clipped up and ready to sew. 

1/4 inch seam allowance worked swell for me.  Sew along the outside of piece 1 and then sew along the outside of piece 2.  At times, I found it helpful to use a bone folder to help push the fabric in under the foot of the machine when sewing the fabric snipped corners. Don't forget to also sew closely around that tricky lil opening.

As my lil guy says, TAA DAA!   I'm stoked for Vero of Biking Chandler and I hope she likes the outcome. 

After sewing, I went around with pinking shears cutting off excess fabric.  I wasn't too concerned with what the back looked like.

 Here you can see how I was gluing around the opening.  I waited for this to dry and then went back  a second time with glue.  I wanted it to be sure the fabric stayed in place and didn't fray. 

So there you have it folks!  A great way to give an old bike cushion some new personality.  I can't wait to see how it looks on the Bobike Mini. Also, nice to know that there are people out there reading my blog. Comments are also always appreciated!  Would love to hear about anything bicycle craftastik! 

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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Homemade Bar Soap with Green Girl Basics

Had a delightful day wandering through the woods with a dear friend, chillin' & then having a late night soap making session. I never quite knew the creative joys of soap making until last night.  My dear friend Colleen is an experienced soap maker & walked me through the process using her Green Girl Basics soap making kit.  

Super easy folks!  Seriously.  You don't have to own an electronic scale because she has everything  premeasured.  We gathered up some supplies that would be dedicated to soap making; pot, whisk, wooden spoon, thermometer, rubber gloves, goggles, soap mold (which could be repurposed milk carton) and soap ingredients.  

Luckily, I had Colleen's assistance because I was trying a trickier cold process soap, using up breast milk that I had in the freezer.  Decided on a milk soap using lime, lemongrass, cedar & ginger essential oils with chamomile & calendula petals I had harvested and dried from the garden.

I learned about the basic chemistry of making soap and about the process of saponification.  I put on my rubber gloves & goggles, transforming into a chemist.  Soap was being created as I stirred my batch by hand (for future batches I will be purchasing a stick blender) until it thickened just enough and was ready for me to pour into my mold.  

"The soap making process is simply the combination of an acid and a base to form a salt also known as soap. Something acidic combines with something alkaline to produce something neutral – this in case, a mild bar of soap. Saponification is the chemical process of making soap that involves an exothermic reaction between lye (sodium hydroxide) and a fat (usually oils). What is commonly known as cold process soap making yields a glycerin-rich soap. Cold process soap is also known as lye soap" 
 - Green Girl Basic Soap Making e-Book. 

Homemade Bar Soap

I was really happy with the results and cannot wait until the soap is finished curing!  It smells exotic and is full of rich moisturizing oils that will be great for me and my family's skin.  I look forward to experimenting with different essential oils and ingredients in future bars of soap.  In Green Girl Basic's eBook, she talks about different ways to dye the soap naturally or I'm even thinking about using different herbal infused teas.  Gosh, she even has a basic recipe for making my own soap for laundry.  So many possibilities for DIY clean. 

Stay craftastik y'all!  Don't forget to check out www.facebook.com/CRAFTASTIK for regular feed of creative stuff and yummy recipes.  AND www.pinterest.com/missladyfingers

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Toddler Bike Seat Reupholstered Bobike for Kiddo


Toddler Bike Seat Redone

It has been awhile folks and I am coming back with something bicycle craftastik.  I recently found a great deal on a Bobike Maxi Tour child seat for the kiddo. We are Portland, Oregon bound and very excited about utilizing bikes as our made mode of transportation.  So expect more DIY bicycle projects in the future.  I digress... I didn't care for the pink cushions and decided to take a go at changing them up.

I used an outside upholstery fabric that I knew would stand the test of time and be easier to clean.  LOVE this chevron and ocean blue stripes and so did the kiddo.  Lil Guy says, "Let's pick out some moooore fabric".  Haha, we could have gotten in trouble together but stopped there.

As you can see, I used the cushion that came with the Bobike to adhere the fabric too. Definitely some things I learned along the way and would do a bit differently next round.  Like, I thought I would like a tiny bit of pink trim to be seen on the cushion and I have to say, I am not a fan.  Would change up the pattern a bit.  I would also use more adhesive to keep the fabric flat and stuck to the cushion. 

I worked on it late at night and didn't get that many great pictures of the process.  Would love to make a tutorial with pictures and step by step directions if someone wants to send me a Bobike cushion to use? Leave a comment or click on my contact info and give me a holla.

Keep it craftastik y'all and don't forget to visit my www.facebook.com/CRAFTASTIK for regular Miss Ladyfingers' happenings.


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Flax Cracker, Sprouted Garden Cracker Recipe


Start off by sprouting all of your seeds.  I could devote a lot of time to this subject & that just ain't going to happen.  I have found Sprout People a great resource in finding directions, pictures & videos in the how-to department.  If something is sprouted, and I am not quite ready to use it, I think it is cool to put in the fridge for a day or two.  I smell it, just to be sure before using.  When in doubt, throw it out!  Pay careful attention for mold when you are sprouting flax.  Also, note that the pumpkin seeds just need to be soaked for a hour.  

Finely chop the sun-dried tomatoes, I use a coffee grinder (that isn't for coffee) & works like a charm.  The important thing is that the sun-dried tomatoes are chopped as tiny as you can get them.  Next, finely dice the spring onion.  Chop the tomato up into chunks.  Roughly chop the basil.

Now we are ready to blend it up!  I use a Vitamix, but a blender or food processor would probably work just fine.  Add seeds, tomatoes, onion, basil and spices.  I blend the mixture up on a low speed, so that the seeds are slightly broke up and ingredients are incorporated. 

Spread mixture on parchment paper or silicon sheets for dehydrator trays. Do not use regular waxed paper.  Spread it as thin as you can.

Start dehydrating your crackers.  If you can adjust the temperature, I start out at 125 degrees for couple of hours.  After that, you can score the crackers where you would like them to separate, if you want your crackers all pretty.  I don't mind the rustic look & happy breaking pieces of cracker off as needed.  After that, you can turn down the temperature 105 degrees & dehydrate to desired crispiness.

Really, you can play with this recipe adding zucchini instead of tomato, or change up the spice mix.  Avocado is quite tasty smashed on top with salt, pepper & a splash of lime.   Or perhaps you would likey with a smear of goat cheese?  Mmm... definitely a new favorite around here.