Crafty stuff made in my home.

Gifts which are thoughtfully made seem more meaningful to me than gifts that are purchased in the store. I'd really like my children to grow up learning the value of hand-made items.

:: sigh ::

... but they're all into Tinkerbell right now. And the amusing irony is that the recent Tinkerbell movie fully promotes the notion of being crafty and creating things on your own. My 4-year daughter thinks it's cool to be a tinker girl, and is glad that I'm a tinker dad. But she doesn't want tinker toys. She wants Tinkerbell.

In the meanwhile, this is a personal collection of things made.


2011-01-09 20:28:58
by: jovial_cynic
It's been a few years since I've made any wallets, but my wife had her sewing machine out, and I was feeling inspired.

Tyvek wallet:

I patterned it after a thin Fossil bi-fold wallet I picked up recently.

My Tyvek wallet is considerably slimmer than the Fossil wallet. The Tyvek wallet in this photo is FULL of cards, and the Fossil wallet is empty.

Here, you can see the wallet stuffed with 6 cards. That's how many it holds.

I also made a COW wallet:

It's the same pattern as the Tyvek wallet. But it's a cow instead.

Pretty fun.

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2008-10-16 15:01:15
by: jovial_cynic
My clever crafty wife, who's been cranking out baby blankets like a crazy woman, decided she wanted to try her hand at making messenger bags, and knowing that I was keen on the idea of making one out of heavy-duty tarp material, she surprised me with this when I got home from work the other day:

(click for bigger)

(click for bigger)

And here's me wearing the bag:

(click for bigger)

Sewing sure is cool. So are messenger bags made of tarpaulin. And so is my wife.

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2008-03-28 23:16:56
by: jovial_cynic

image: Measuring Tape with needle and thread (cc) blmurch

My mom is visiting for a couple of weeks, and one of my favorite things about her visits is the stories she shares. She's a fantastic story teller, whether she's sharing stories from work, or from her childhood.

On the way back from the airport after picking her up, I asked her a bit about the Korean War, having just gotten into a discussion with some folks over at the Kimchi Mamas blog about the cultural impact the war had on the Korean people. It turns out that many Koreans who went through the Korean War have been hesitant to talk about it, and in the case of my Korean grandparents, they were no exception. They did, however, share some stories with their children, and my mom shared the story with me.

At the time of the war, a military draft was established, placing guns in the hands of farmers who had no clue how to use them. The North Korean army, on the other hand, had all been trained reasonably well, so the battle between the North and the South was basically a massacre. My grandfather, who was married with two children at the time, fled. Seems reasonable to me.

My grandfather was a tailor, and made his living making and mending clothing. My grandmother did the same, and for all the time that I've known my grandparents, they've done reasonably well for themselves in their profession. Also, it had always been amusing to go to Korea as a teenager and try on the clothes they had made for me. Amusing, because at the time, I was into name brands and fashion, and the thought of wearing homemade clothing was undesirable.

During the war, my clever grandfather managed to survive and support his family by fleeing from city to city and offering his tailoring services to the soldiers in those cities. He'd offer to mend uniforms in trade for food, water, or cash, and did this throughout the war. Very resourceful indeed.

I was inspired by this story, and it brought to mind one of my favorite quotes:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

-Robert A. Heinlein

I've posted this quote on my site before, but it's worth repeating. It's probably one of my life's mottos. Anyhow, in honor of my now deceased grandfather, I've decided to take up sewing.

I've sewn before -- I made Tyvek wallets in the past, but sewing some Tyvek together is nothing at all like sewing clothing. Clothes require a bit more precision, and in order to work myself up to making full-sized clothing, I figured I'd try some doll clothing. Specifically, a shirt for my daughter's beloved stuffed pig.

I didn't feel like running to the fabric store, so I rifled through my closet and found a shirt I don't wear anymore.

Here's the shirt. It's comfortable, but I was willing to sacrifice it for my daughter's pig.

Here's a basic t-shirt pattern that I found. I modified it by cutting it down the front so it's more like a button-up shirt.

Here's an action shot. Yup.

Look. It's a shirt.

It fits. Excellent. My daughter will wake up in the morning to find her pig dressed in new threads.

And there you have it. My next step towards becoming a more functional human being (in terms of utility) is learning to sew. I'm not sure I'm ready to make a shirt for myself, but I do have three daughters who probably aren't terribly picky about what they wear...

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2007-07-13 15:09:10
by: jovial_cynic
I'm rather fond of papercraft, on account of it being so inexpensive and easy to do. It's like making your own toys, which really just tickles the kid in me. And now that I'm a father, the idea of getting kids involved in papercraft sounds great. I'd love for my kids to grow up knowing that they don't have to rely on expensive brand X toys to have fun; they can have fun by making their own toys, writing their own stories, and creating their own world.

Recently, I stumbled upon Canon's Craftown, which includes dozens of papercraft buildings, vehicles, and structures so you can make your own little paper town. This is fantastic.

As an extension of this, I'd really like to build a little play town out of wood. I'm not great at woodwork, but I have enough wood tools and know-how to figure things out, and I think it'd be really special for my kids to play with the wooden town and even paint the structures. And maybe I could create cut-out templates and post them online for other folks that would enjoy doing the same.

... while I'm at it, I could include my little metal figurine people and scale the town to their level, and start a collection set...

Ok. Maybe I'm going a little overboard. But it sure sounds fun.

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2007-04-30 21:46:30
by: jovial_cynic
This is clearly my best wallet yet.

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2007-04-14: SPIDER-MAN WALLET 2007-04-12: DENIM WALLET 2007-03-20: TYVEK WALLET