Saturday, March 25, 2017

Throw Pillows Revamped

Throw Pillows Revamped - AnnaVirginia FashionA few months ago I worked on repairing/revamping a two sets of throw pillows.  I’ve wanted to write a blog post about it since, but I’m finally getting to it now!

When I was newly married about 9 years ago, my husband and I bought two sets of microfiber throw pillows from Costco.  They were a good deal and we each got a favorite color of ours.  After a couple kids, several washes and out-of-state moves, the stuffing inside was not as fluffy as it was originally.  In fact, it was lumpy. 

I opened them up and took out the yucky, matted, old filling and put in some new stuff.  It lasted a short while because the new stuff I put into them was poor quality so the pillows went flat pretty quickly. That was disappointing!

Recently, I ended up with two pairs of twin size pillows that are from Costco and only $10.  They were stuffed with memory foam chunks and the fabric holding them was felt and then a zippered cotton cover.  They were very uncomfortable to sleep on (too hard, thick and smelly, in case you’re wondering)!

Throw Pillows Revamped - AnnaVirginia FashionThrow Pillows Revamped - AnnaVirginia Fashion

I decided to use them for stuffing the throw pillows! I used three twin-size pillows’ worth of stuffing for four throw pillows.  I cut the zippered cotton covers down to the size of my throw pillows while retaining the zippered side (twin size pillows are 16x20” and the throw pillows are 16x16”, so it was quite simple!).
Throw Pillows Revamped - AnnaVirginia Fashion

While the throw pillows were un-stuffed, I figured I should add some zippers to the microfiber fabric. (Back in the day I washed all four pillows in the washing machine and once time one pillow didn’t go down far enough into the basin.  It rubbed the whole time on a lip in the washer and burned a jagged line/hole into the pillow.  It was a sad day, but I stitched it back together and we still use it!  I just try to put it’s “scar” facing to the back!).  I found zippers that are great color matches! It was a bit tricky to sew them in there, but not as bad as trying to stitch on the zippers while the pillows were stuffed.

Throw Pillows Revamped - AnnaVirginia Fashion

Once the cotton covers/inserts were ready, I stuffed them with the memory foam chunks, and zipped them closed.  Then I put the inserts into the microfiber covers and zipped those closed.  I fluffed them up and they looked great!  If they start to go flat, I just punch them like a punching bag and do a couple karate chops and they look great again. Hi-ya!

Throw Pillows Revamped - AnnaVirginia Fashion

Sunday, December 4, 2016

4 Little Sweaters

4 Little Sweaters - AnnaVirginia FashionSo, tomorrow I'm going to the hospital to have my fourth baby.  I decided about 2 weeks ago that I had to have a gift from the baby and me for the other three children to give them at the hospital.  I decided that coordinating sweaters and vests would be adorable!

I found a couple patterns (I didn't want to improvise the whole thing) that would work and went from there.  I did have to improvise quite a bit as it was, because these patterns call for different weight yarn than what I used.  I can eventually type up what modifications I did, but for now I really wanted to post the adorable set that I made.  I'm excited to give them to my children when they visit me at the hospital tomorrow!

To make sure they fit well enough, I did do size-tests on the kids.  But then I hid them away and they haven't asked me about them since, so that is good.

The baby size is about 3 months, then the little girl sweater is about 2T, then the bigger boy vest is 5T and the bigger girl sweater is about size 7.

I used Hobby Lobby I Love This Yarn to make these, since that yarn is very stretchy.  I'm so excited!

The boys' vests are inspired by Elfin Hat and Vest by Patons (free pattern).
The girls' sweaters are inspired by Flower Cardigan by Vendula Maderska (free pattern download with Ravelry login)
4 Little Sweaters - AnnaVirginia Fashion

4 Little Sweaters - AnnaVirginia Fashion

Monday, May 2, 2016

Fringe Crochet Vest

My husband has worked five years with an amazing company, and they honor all the employees that have been there for each year by fives, so we were invited to attend a dinner in his honor (among others)!  The invitation said to wear "dressy western" attire.

I have nothing that is western!  My cousins in Colorado had the western wear, but I never had anything remotely western.  Guess that's what happens when you grow up in San Diego!

Laredo Paprika
Laredo London
So, I started searching Pinterest for "Dressy Western Outfits" and only a handful of ideas came up that I could work with.  I realized that first, for both my husband and I, we would want to get some cowboy boots.

I looked on Ebay and Amazon and found a good deal on Amazon for both pairs.  For myself, I got Laredo Women's Paprika Western Boot.  I don't know what price you'll find when you check them out, but I got a great deal in my size! For my husband we found Laredo Men's London Western Boot. We also got a good deal on his boot, and great service, as we realized that my husband's go-to size was too large in this boot.  They let us return the pair and get the right size.

We dropped by the local Boot Barn store, and in there I found a crochet vest that I thought was cool.  But being a crocheter, I thought, "I could make something like that!"  I searched for about a week for a pattern, but I realized I was going to have to make it up.  But I found the same "yarn" as the vest at Michael's, which was perfect!  It's called Bernat Maker Home Dec and I got it in Cream.

I started with a circular motif for the back, and a large size N crochet hook.   I used my dressform to make sure it was wearable, and began to crochet the straps over the shoulders.  Once the front measured the same as the length of the motif, I attached them together and then crocheted the "skirt" part of the vest.  I then added a fringe.

The vest project was frustrating, because I knew exactly what I wanted to make, but had a hard time finding any pictures, let alone patterns.  But it was also fun because it came together in the end.  I'm hoping to create a pattern for it in the future, so others don't have to find the same frustration, hopefully!

In case you're curious, the dress I'm wearing under the vest is Anne Klein.  I found it at the second hand store more than a year ago, and I thought chambray (or denim) would be great with the boots.
So there's a crafty, non-western mom's approach to "dressy western" for a fancy dinner.  Hah!

P.S. I'm realizing that in every home I move into, I have to find that photography sweet spot for my photos.  It's a learning process for me and I still haven't quite got the right spot in this new home!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Elsa - The Ice Queen Crochet Doll

Elsa - The Ice Queen Crochet Doll - AnnaVirginia FashionMy daughter asked for a crocheted Elsa just around her fifth birthday.  I had a newborn and Christmas was coming so things just didn't work out.  But suddenly earlier this year all my kids wanted a Unicorn (I'll be posting more about that project asap!).  I told her I could do the Elsa OR the Unicorn for now, and she picked Elsa.  She waited patiently while I finished the Unicorn orders and then I started on Elsa!

I free-handed this amigurumi doll, but used ideas from some crocheted dolls I'd seen online.  I started with the head and finished at the neck.  She was bald until the very end and looked like an alien!  Then I went on to the bodice.  It was really fun to see that form so nicely!  After it was finished I attached the head/neck to the bodice.  Next I made a pair of legs, attached them, and crocheted the skirt right onto the bodice around the legs.  That wasn't the easiest way to do it, but it is seamless and that looks nice!

After that I made a pair of arms, which turned out pretty skinny, but good enough.  My daughter liked the idea of a "flounce" at the cuff, so we went with that.  Then I attached the cape right to her back and crocheted it that way (which was slightly easier that doing the skirt that way but not much, lol). Yay for not having to sew it on afterword, though!
Elsa - The Ice Queen Crochet Doll - AnnaVirginia Fashion

When I was attaching the head to the bodice I really tried to make her neck stuffed full enough to be strong enough to hold a "yarn full of hair... Hair full of yarn" (I'm thinking of Buzz Lightyear and Jessie there...).  Anyway, I tried to really stuff her head but once I started attached strands of hair, her head began to fall over. Oh well.  The hair is attached in single strands using lark's knots.  I made it thick enough at the top to not show her "scalp, but did it a little more sparse around the rest.  It is still a LOT of yarn.

Anyway, in case you didn't gather this from above, she has full length legs under that dress, but it's not a big deal since the skirt is fully attached and not removable.  The cape is also fully attached and not removable.  I should probably block the skirt and cape, but I don't think my daughter will let me pin the doll to the floor for a couple days to dry out!
Elsa - The Ice Queen Crochet Doll - AnnaVirginia Fashion

My daughter chose what her eyes would be by looking at some other crocheted Elsa dolls and telling me which ones she liked best.  She also chose the mouth style (she drew a picture for me) and chose which color yarn we would use.

I'm in the process of teaching her how to crochet, so she can start designing her own things!  But she loves how the doll turned out and it has earned a place on her bed.
Elsa - The Ice Queen Crochet Doll - AnnaVirginia Fashion
I took notes on what I did so that I can re-create this pattern to make an Anna doll from the Frozen movie (I do have a younger daughter, so that may become a necessity at some point!).  I can eventually type up the pattern, but I don't know how soon that will happen!