I had this perfect pair of Tommy Hilfiger jeans: Relaxed fit. Bootcut. Fit like a glove and perfectly broken in. I think I had them for about 8 years until disaster struck. A terrible bowling accident. I was releasing my ball for what was sure to be a strike, but accidentally kind of stepped down wrong, half fell down and *RIIIP*—one of my leg seams had ripped from the knee almost clear to the crotch! I was so glad I had a sweatshirt to tie around my waist so I could finish playing.

I was terribly saddened by the loss of these favorite jeans, but around the same time, I was lucky enough to have downloaded this Liberty Jane Jeans Pattern for American Girl Dolls! Instead of tossing out the jeans, they would live on forever as a pair of adorable jeans for my doll collection! At first I was going to create the jeans exactly to the pattern specs, but then I found  a little article about adding a zipper to the Liberty Jane Jeans Pattern. I had to do it. I started looking for a tiny zipper, but then I thought, why not use the zipper straight from the jeans? Zippers can be cut to size, so I could make it fit! And then I started thinking, why stop at the zipper? I decided to make the doll jeans as close to the originals as possible!

Authentic Tommy Zipper!

I carefully removed the original Tommy Hilfiger branded tape from the zipper shield, so I could add it to my tiny jeans. I removed part of the actual waistband from my jeans and cut it down to the right size. I love the red contrast stitching on the inside! I also added on tiny belt loops. I couldn’t use the original jeans button since it was so large, so I found some dolly-sized ones online.

The Pocket Emblem

I cut a logo from a rear label inside my jeans to use as an appropriate-sized pocket emblem.

The Real Leather Label

My original jeans had an embossed leather label. It was far too big to use, so I decided to make my own! I cut an appropriate-sized piece of leather, and used a Creative Heatworks tool (bascally a woodburning tool with interchangeable points) to brand my label.

The Jeans!

Finally, I used a few different grades of sandpaper to add wear similar to that of my jeans. I think they turned out so adorable! Definitely one of the most detailed teensy things I’ve ever sewed! Those belt loops were tricky!

Filed under: crafty — Rachelle @ 9:15 pm

Last weekend I completed my second MS150 bike tour! It is the most fun way to raise money for a great cause—finding a cure for multiple sclerosis. Last year, I completed the ride on an old Trek mountain bike and did only a bit of training, but this year I had my stylish new road bike and a lot more training under my belt! It made a huge difference. I felt stronger during the ride, and much less pain afterwards! Thanks to my great sponsors, I raised even more money than last year too.

I was a member of my company team again this year, which is definitely the way to roll! As a member of a large team, you get a private team bus to take you to the starting point, and you get a private team tent to party under at the halfway point. Every year there is a contest for the best-decorated team tent. Our team picked a decorating/party theme of Mexican Fiesta this year, so our tent was decked out with colorful decorations, maracas and sombreros!

Our team mascot is a banana, so I decided I’d make our mascot into a pinata to go along with our theme!

First, my dear husband created this amazing 3-dimensional cardboard base for me. I filled it up with candy, added a strap to hang it up with, and taped it shut.
Cardboard base for banana pinata

Next, I covered the cardboard base with a layer of newspaper strips. I used a paste made from flour and water. It’s messy, but washes off easily.
Banana Pinata - Covered with newspaper

Then I wrapped this with a layer of crepe paper (it’s the stardard stuff on a roll that you buy at party/paper supply stores). I used the same flour paste on this.
Banana Pinata - Covered with a layer of yellow crepe

For the next layer, I made slits in the crepe paper before I glued it on in order to get that authentic pinata look. :) For this I used YES! paste. I think it’s really designed for scrapbooking and book arts, but it worked swell for this. It’s a little thicker, allowing me to apply more accurately than I can with the flour paste, so only the non-slit edge gets glued down to maintain that “fluffy” look! I also added on arms and legs made from twisted-together pipe cleaners. I just poked holes in the pinata and stuck them on with gobs of glue.
Banana Pinata - Covered with a layer of cut crepe

Finally, I added facial features, hands, and feet that I printed on a laser printer. I printed two of each hand and foot as mirror images of each other and glued each set together with the pipe cleaners in between. The face parts were laminated before I glued them on to make them more sturdy.
Banana Pinata - Completed

We named him Juan! When he was hung in the middle of our tent, a sombrero was added, and maracas were taped to his hands. :) The kids on the team had a great time busting him open and eating all the candy goodness inside! It was a fun addition to the party.

Filed under: crafty,cycling — Rachelle @ 9:13 pm

I went to visit my grandma this weekend and we went to some garage sales in her area, which is about an hour north of me, and fairly rural. Sales in that area are either really great or huge failures. I’m usually shopping for antiques or cool vintage stuff. I can tell a “fail sale” before I get out of the car (sometimes I don’t even get out!), because the driveway is covered with crusty plastic baby toys and tables piled full of kids’ clothes. Just not what I need.  I’m looking for people that have cool old stuff, they don’t know the “book value” or they don’t care, and they want to get rid of it! :) Usually sales that have this stuff don’t have much kids’ stuff (or it’s like cool old kids’ stuff, from kids that have long flown the coop!). It always seems to work out that way.

So here are some favorites from today:

1950's Better Homes & Gardens
1950′s Better Homes and Gardens Magazines (2 for $1) – These have great vintage advertisements and illustrations! Love them!

Newel Post Pedestal
Heavy pedestal made from an old newel post ($30) – My husband and I both liked this and thought it would look nice in our basement when we’re done with the remodeling. We’ll probably use it as a plant stand.

1982 Stuffed Talking Meow Mix Cat
1982 Stuffed Talking Meow Mix Cat ($10) – This was a little spendy for my taste, but this thing has a pull cord on it and it talks in the cutest voice! It kind of sings a tiny little bit of that Meow Mix song, like it was the precursor to that.

Kittens Book and Vintage Cat Figurine
Vintage Kittens book ($2), vintage tiger-striped cat figurine ($3) – I have a bit of a collection going for books that feature vintage cat illustrations. I love cats. :)

In addition to this stuff, I got some cookbooks, some DVDs, a few craft supply items and such.

One thing I enjoy on the sly at garage sales, are the opportunities to peek into other people’s lives. Each sale is like a little mystery. The clues you get are the items for sale, the idle chatter of the people running the sale, the state of the garage/house/yard and maybe a peek through an opened door. It is interesting to find out what family members live together in the house/apartment, what sort of things they like to do, what topics they are interested in… You can see struggles that people have gone through, things they have given up on. Commonly: diet books, exercise equipment, furniture that has been poorly re-painted, furniture that has been partially stripped and given up on, car parts that never made it onto a car, dusty sporting equipment…

We went to one sale in a house that looked like a duplex, but it was really a small apartment building with 4 separate little apartments. The sale holder was a tough-looking old fella, I’d guess he was in his 70′s. When I first walked into his apartment, I’d pegged this as a more typical, average sale with old VHS tapes, exercise equipment, some old clothing… But the sale extended into a few of the bedrooms in his place. In the first bedroom we went into there was a stamp collection in albums and as I started flipping through it, the man came in and said that it was his wife’s and that she was Japanese and the stamps were saved from her correspondence with friends. I was struck by how he referenced her in the past tense. I did not want to inquire, well maybe I wanted to, but I didn’t think it would be polite. Then I noticed on his walls some framed certificates regarding service in the US Airforce. Perhaps he met his wife in Japan when he went there on a tour. In the next room, there were some Japanese antiques for sale, and as I admired them he talked about how he and his wife had returned to Japan three times when she was alive, but that she didn’t want to live there again. She loved it here (in the USA) because it was less crowded. At this point, I started to feel a little sad. His wife was definitely dead, and he seemed so alone. Even though he had pictures of some smiling grandchildren on his walls, he seemed so lonely, so alone to me. His face didn’t look like one that smiled easily, so worn, so tired. I don’t know how long his wife had been gone, but I imagine it wasn’t that long–among the items for sale were things like a plastic shower seat, various mobility devices. There were two lidded teacups with writing in Japanese, one said Grandma, the other Grandpa. I felt like he was selling memories. I felt like he was desperate. There was a sign on the wall over her stamp collection in the other room, and the price was crossed off and reduced 5 times. As I had casually flipped through it, he’d said he would take less. He said that regarding everything I touched or looked at. It made my heart ache a little bit that there wasn’t really anything I needed or really wanted to buy.

Filed under: antiques,shopping — Rachelle @ 10:47 pm
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