Archive for August, 2009

* lunchbag

Posted on August 31st, 2009 by maitreya. Filed under Projects with Instructions, Sewing/Fabric Crafts.

I keep resolving to bring my lunch to lab more often, so I made a little commitment device, a new lunchbag.  My old one was a promotional “Labby the Labster” bag I’ve been using for like 6 years, but which I appear to have finally lost (the only evidence I could Google of Labby’s existance is this page in Spanish, RIP Labby).

Lunchbag qualities desired: washable, low fuss, foldable into small size for stuffing in purse to bring home, cute.  I remembered I still have lots of an Ikea tablecloth leftover from this bag I made Amy last year, so that ticks “washable” and “cute.”  For pattern inspiration, I paged through Japanese craft book ISBN4529042642, which is all about lunch bags.  Here’s a simple bag with a tie closure that I found appealing:


I decided not to bother with the handles or the lining (tick “low fuss” and also helps with foldable-ness) and to just wing the bag shape with the scraps I already happened to have.  Essentially, I just sewed 2 12×12 inch squares together along 3 sides, sewed the corners out flat to make the bottom, and topstiched all the folds to give it some structure.  It was really easy.  The great thing about the tablecloth is the edges don’t ravel, so I didn’t have to finish any of the seams.  The tie is just a little piece of woven tape sewed on one side.


And here’s my lunch all packed for tomorrow. :)



* printed fabric vs iron on

Posted on August 30th, 2009 by maitreya. Filed under Experiments, Toys (cat and kid).

For anyone else thinking of making print-out dolls like the ones in Parasol craft or my last post, I thought I’d post a little comparison of Bubble-jet-set vs iron on. I made two dolls using the exact same pattern and fabrics, but the left one was printed directly on bubble-jet-set-treated fabric, and the one on the right was ironed on to the fabric.  For both, the backing fabric was a patterned cotton (the instructions come with a printable backing pattern that matches the dresses, but I didn’t have enough iron ons or treated fabric to use it).


Bubble Jet set iron-on
finish matte shiny
feel soft plasticy
ease of sewing easy slightly tricky (especially by hand)
color washed out saturated
stuffing more uniformly plump seems lumpier
seam allowances be more generous stronger and narrower, but stiffer
technical difficulties printer might jam easy to iron on unevenly

I think the slight advantage goes to the iron ons for this project. I kind of like the plastic finish; they seem like vinyl toys or something. The color saturation is also really obviously superior for the iron-on.

I think it’s a toss up which one will stand up better to real life child use. The iron on will eventually crack, no doubt, but I don’t know if the bubble-jet-set will fade or bleed over time.

I would be willing to bet that digitally printed fabric wins hands down, though, (for doll patterns you designed yourself, anyway).  True Up has a great comparison of the quality of the different services available


* bad Jamie

Posted on August 29th, 2009 by maitreya. Filed under Experiments, Sewing/Fabric Crafts.

One reason the doll patterns in Parasol were so appealing is that I’ve been working on another printed doll project on and off for the last couple of weeks.  The idea sounded ok at the time: my friend Becket‘s daughter just turned 2.  She loves the family kitty, Jamie, but Jamie does not feel the same way about her.  So I was going to make her a Jamie doll she could manhandle as much as her little heart desired.  The idea is modeled after these pillows on Craftster (sadly, the pictures have disappeared, but trust me, they were awesome) and this cat stuffy by Wisecraft.

Perfect opportunity to try out the Bubble-Set-Jet I bought a while back.  I had even gone so far as to presoak some muslin panels, so it was printer-ready.  Here’s where the plan started to go awry: instead of asking Becket for her best high-res picture of Jamie, I wanted it to stay a surprise and downloaded a picture off her blog instead.  Then I erased the background in a graphics program and printed him out as big as my large-scale printer could do, which was close to life size.  (One cute tip for running fabric through the printer: stick sheets of printable labels to back the fabric so it feeds smoothly through the printer.  I’ve also ironed on to freezer paper, but didn’t have any around.)



After sewing around him (backing was the background fabric in the photo, a nice corduroy I got in Australia a few years ago), he looked really bad, though.  It’s partly because I didn’t leave enough seam allowance, and I should’ve made him rounder instead of following the profile.  But I think the main problem is the photo is too pixelated and low contrast and not a good profile.  Mark’s first reaction was “where’s his head?  He just looks like a gray blob.



OK, well, lesson learned.  Off to plan B.

fwiw, I was pretty happy with how well the Bubble-Jet-Set worked.  Very little ink washed out, and there was no obvious bleeding.


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* Parasol craft

Posted on August 27th, 2009 by maitreya. Filed under Crafty Review.

I just downloaded the first issue of Parasol Craft and thought I’d do a little review.  In a kind of karmic series of events, I found out about the existance of Parasol Craft because of some unpleasantness on Spoonflower today. (fwiw, I have always wondered if you can upload not-strictly-yours patterns for personal use.  I guess now I know the answer.  Too bad because all those fancy scrapbook papers are just so tempting to scan in and make fabric out of.)

Anyway, the magazine is a $2.50 PDF download, available right after you pay, for immediate gratification.


Much like it’s predecessor Parasol (which is free), it’s mostly profiles of various crafters, book authors, etsy sellers, and bloggers, including several good ones I hadn’t known about before.  Bonuses: a huge number of links to check out, which, thank goodness, are clickable in the PDF, and an accompanying playlist of songs on Imeem (requires annoying but free registration).

Really, though, I was willing to pay for Parasol craft because of the super cute dolly patterns.  a print a day has even posted two more dollies for free on her blog!  I want to make them all and give them to some little girl to have tea parties with.  There are a few other printable projects included (some embroidery designs, some scrapbooking-type graphics), but I didn’t find them as enchanting as the dollies.

Next issue has a Japanese/Kawaii theme, so I’m looking forward to that. :)


* lab logo

Posted on August 24th, 2009 by maitreya. Filed under Fun with Lab Supplies, Wants.

My lab web site needed some sprucing up earlier this summer, so I brought in a professional.  seventyandsunny makes really great custom headers, which I’d been admiring on her blog for a while before hiring her.  It just so happened that she’d recently redesigned her personal blog with a specimen theme, so she was already thinking of sciencey graphics.  She was particularly thoughtful in helping me come up with design ideas, and then gave me two mocked-up options:



(These are shrunk slightly to fit my WordPress template; they’re a little sharper at full size.)

I went with the second one.  I like how it’s cute, but not overly cutesy.  Another nice thing was that she was willing to edit the mock-up for the final design.  I didn’t end up taking advantage of that because it came out great the first time. :)

Now to update craftlog’s look one of these days….


* crochet cuff

Posted on August 22nd, 2009 by maitreya. Filed under Crochet, Jewelry.

I’ve been admiring the crochet jewelry from Wren Handmade for a while now, so I was really excited to see her pattern for a crochet bracelet on the Purl Bee.  Had to make it right away!


I think my sister-in-law gave me the fun variegated purple crochet thread way back when.  Button from who knows where.

The pattern was easy to follow, and now I’m thinking up what other stitch patterns might make fun bracelets.


* pompom flowers

Posted on August 15th, 2009 by maitreya. Filed under Home and Garden.

Another project from my trip to California.  Becket had bookmarked this pompom flower tutorial by domestifluff and bought some pretty green and purple yarn (who knew Vanna White made yarn?).  At first, they looked hilariously pathetic, but it turns out the big secret is to trim trim trim.


Anyone care to put an ETA on destruction by the kitties?


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* Alisha Louise earrings

Posted on August 14th, 2009 by maitreya. Filed under Wants.

In addition to the resin necklace, I also gave Becket some enamel earrings by a local artist, Alisha Louise.  I got them at Velouria (which you might remember from earlier) and it just so happens that all of her jewelry is on sale this month (though I’m mad I missed the super-sale trunk show)!  I forgot to take a picture of them, so I stole this image off Alisha Louise’s website.  The ones I got were in “pea” and not the color shown, but you get the idea.


They are really pretty in person, with so many lovely colors to choose from.  I’m tempted to go back and get one of the necklaces for myself while they’re on sale.  Becket’s got quite the collection of enamel pieces, so I knew she’d like them. :)  The worst part, though?  It really makes me want to learn how to do enamel myself!


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* Made by Hank bag

Posted on August 13th, 2009 by maitreya. Filed under Wants.

Becket got me an awesome early birthday present (very early since my birthday isn’t until November!)  I couldn’t believe it, since I love Katie Henry’s blog and I’ve actually been eyeing her Made by Hank bags for a while now, and could never quite decide on which one I liked the best and pull the trigger.


It’s very well made, has a ton of pockets, and has Made by Hank embroidered into the strap.  It’s also big enough that I can bring home papers from lab but small enough to still fit in my bike basket.  And isn’t it super cute?  Can’t beat green with white piping.  Thanks Becket!


* fabric necklaces

Posted on August 12th, 2009 by maitreya. Filed under Jewelry, Sewing/Fabric Crafts.

I got to spend last weekend with Becket and Amy in what I hope are becoming yearly get-togethers (last year was Seattle).  Becket already posted about some of our fun.  One of the things we made were these fun fabric bead necklaces from Curious Bird’s tutorial.


You sew a tube from a silky scarf and alternate beads and knots.  Our “homework” was to find scarves to bring.  I have had this neat Japanese silk scarf in my fabric collection (can’t remember where I got it, unfortunately), and I really like how the pattern leads to unexpected bead combos.


Amy’s was even more interesting because she sliced a long diagonal piece of her scarf and it ended up perfectly symmetrical due to her excellent knot tying.  I think the bias cut made her knots more even than mine too.


You’ll have to go read CA Crafter to see more of Becket’s. :)



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craftlog is under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial license. That means that you are all welcome to take and repost my photos, replicate my projects, remix my ideas, whatever you want as long as you give attribution (a link is fine) and it's noncommercial. Thanks!