Category Archives: Crafting

She’s Crafty: Project Life

cultivate a good life by Becky Higgins
So back in April, I made the decision to finally start a Project Life book.  Out of equal parts of laziness and being a cheap ass, I have not yet started my Project Life book.  (The “core kits” are like $30 on Amazon which really isn’t expensive at all, but when you add up the kit and the binder and the pockets it just seems to get really expensive really fast, and sometimes I just have a hard time spending money a lot of money at once on things that aren’t a necessity which is silly since I have no problem spending, like, $50 a week on unecessary crap in small increments.  This is also why I still haven’t gotten my second tattoo, but I digress…)

But, I have a birthday coming up in less than two weeks.  (Side note: How the hell is it already two weeks from my birthday?!)  So I’ve decided to buy myself the materials to get started as a birthday present to myself.  Plus starting Project Life on my birthday deals with my need to start it on some milestone date rather than just some random Tuesday.

I didn’t do a great job with my goal of documenting my 28th year per my 28 While 28 Goals, but I’m hoping that taking on my 29th year in Project Life format will help me stick to it.  After all, the whole point of Project Life (at least as I understand it) is to be the most lost maintenance type of scrapbooking and life documentation.

I just clicked purchase on my Amazon cart so there’s no turning back now!  So, friends that participate in Project Life, now is the time to share your favorite sources of Project Life inspirations, materials (the freer the better!) and sage wisdom!

She’s Crafty: That Time a Made a Tree Skirt

Remember back in November when I took on the goal of improving my craftiness?  Well, I went balls to the wall crafty in the month of December and haven’t done a damn thing since then. I burnt myself out. I knitted so much right before Christmas my wrists hurt. Physical pain.

But some time has passed, and I’m ready to get my craft on again. I’ve also decided to share my projects with you on a monthly (or maybe twice monthly depending on the amount of craftiness I’m rocking over here) series – cleverly named She’s Crafty. This accomplishes two things 1) it makes me continue to grow my crafting skills and 2) it creates a blog series which was one of my #28DBC goals.

For this first installment, I’m sharing the project I’m definitely most proud of. Friends, I sewed a mother-effing tree skirt, and it turned out awesome!

Running In Chucks tree skirt finished

This project was not as quick and easy as I was expecting hoping it would be.  Beginner mistakes were made.  I actually almost cried…more than once. But I now have a handmade tree skirt to celebrate Christmas for years to come. Here’s how the trauma it went down.

I used this pattern from McCalls.  (I also planned to make the stockings, but my mom thought they looked like a fun project so she actually made them for me.) I cut out the pattern and then laid out my fabrics and interfacing to cut the pieces.  Mistake #1 occurred here.  I forgot to iron my fabric until it was too late (read: after I started cutting.)  This is also the point at which I learned I have no good space in my house to do this. Cutting the pieces was a pain in the ass, but I got it done.

It was now time for the sewing begin! The first step was to baste the interfacing to the top pieces. Basting is basically temporarily sewing pieces together. Basting is also, in my opinion, the world’s biggest waste of time. At least for this project. I quickly discovered I could iron the pieces together and the interfacing would melt just enough to stick while I sewed one section to the next.  Easy peasy.

Unfortunately on top off the frustration of basting, my sewing machine was being an asshole. My bobbin wasn’t winding properly (though I discovered later that was my own fault – mistake #2.) My thread kept snapping. It was a hot mess. I called it quits for the night and decided to tackle the project at my mom’s house the next day. She has a nice sewing room with a cutting table, ironing board, and much more high tech machine.

It should be noted that at this point in my sewing career, I sew pretty damn slowly. Putting the sections for the back and front together was easy enough (once I was using a fully functional machine), but a slow process for sure – like 8 hours to put together 8 pieces for the top and 8 pieces for the bottom slow…but I got it done with little drama.

Tree Skirt partial

When it came time to sew the top and the bottom together things got messy (again.) Apparently sewing round edges is not my strong suit. Also, I realized I sewed the button loops on backwards (mistake #3) and had to do that a second time. At this point in the day I was tired, my back hurt, and I was getting really easily frustrated.  My mom offered to finish the skirt for me, but I really wanted to complete the project myself. Half and hour, and very little progress later, I reached that point where I needed to walk away or things would start rapidly progressing downhill. I really needed the project finished that day though so I surrendered and let my mom finish sewing the top and bottom together.

Despite not finishing the project 100% on my own, I’m really proud of myself for getting it done. I absolutely love it, and it looked awesome under the tree if I do say so myself.  Plus it cost far less than buying a tree skirt at the store because tree skirts are apparently ridiculously, absurdly expensive.  Of course, one could argue it cost me way more in time since I spent an entire Saturday working on it, but I like to think of that as the priceless element of the homemade tree skirt we’ll have for years to come!

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