Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pretty Princess Sling Tutorial

We got a call from my daughter's daycare Tuesday, letting us know she'd had a fall. They have a number of playsets in the yard, and of course her favorite was the castle. She landed on her elbow, and at first they thought she'd just dislocated it, but it turns out she had a hairline fracture. We got her all splinted at the ER, and they gave her your standard hospital issue sling. The strap hurt her neck, and it also started to ravel almost as soon as we got home, so I decided to make her some better ones. We went to the fabric store together, where she picked out three pieces from the remnant bin that she liked, and while she slept that night I made her new slings with pads for the shoulder strap.

They were a huge hit at the orthopedic's office the next day, as well as her daycare, and several people have suggested that I should make them to sell. However, I can't afford the hundreds of dollars necessary to do the testing required by the absolutely ridiculous piece of legislature called the CPSIA. (for a better idea of what this means to a small businessperson such as myself, you can read my previous article on the subject)

So instead, here's step by step instructions on how to make your own. I'm posting this under a Creative Commons license - you're free to make these for your own personal use and distribute the instructions with credit (attribution), but please don't make them commercially.

Here's the original sling, which I used as the basic pattern:

And here's one of my new improved versions:

Materials needed
- 1/3 yard (12") of fabric, preferably cotton or some other sturdy fabric. Avoid stretchy blends.

- a spool of 1" grosgrain ribbon
- 1 package wide single fold bias tape
- 1 piece of batting, approximately 8" x 8"
- 2 1" D-rings

All of these should be easily obtainable at any fabric store.

I made these all double layer for strength, and also so they'd be just as pretty on the inside as the out. Fold the fabric in half, then double it over again. Lay the ugly hospital sling on top and use as the pattern, aligning the open end where the hand sticks out with the folded edges.

You'll end up with something like this:

Lay the fabric out flat, and baste the two layers together, then fold the fabric back into sling shape and start sewing at the curved end, first with a straight stitch, then finish with a locking stitch or on a serger, to prevent raveling.

Use the bias tape as binding, to finish the edges of the sling. Fold it at the middle and wrap around the raw edge, and sew in place.

For finishing, cut the bias tape to overlap your start point by approximately 1". Fold under the edge, and sew down the folded end.

Now to attach the straps. You'll do a shorter length at the open end to which you'll attach the two D-rings, and a long strap at the closed end which will be the shoulder strap. Use the hospital sling again to give you the lengths of the ribbons you should be using. Make sure to fold the edges of the ribbon over again to prevent raveling.

Sew the first end down, then string on the D-rings, and sew down the other end. Once attached, center the two D-rings and sew them in place.

Open end:

Sling back:

Make sure to double stitch the ribbon ends, as these are stress points.

Now for the shoulder pad. Cut out two pieces of fabric, 3.5" by 8", with rounded edges:

Cut your piece of batting in half, and sandwich the two pieces of batting in between the two pieces of fabric.

Baste the fabric of the edges down, and trim the excess batting away.

Cut two pieces of ribbon, 5.5", and pin them across the pad, folding the edges under - sew in place. I did double seams, back stitching, as this is another point where tearing could occur.

Bind the edges of the pad the same way you did the sling, and slide the pad in place on the shoulder strap. I ended up using safety pins to keep it in place. I thought about sewing them permanently in place, but decided to leave them loose so they could be adjusted depending on what my daughter wears from day to day, as more layers change what length we set the the strap.

Altogether, to make three slings took me about 2 hours, including taking the pictures. So it's a pretty quick process, even though it doesn't look like it with how long this tutorial turned out to be. Ready ... set ... sew!


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Let me introduce to my oh-so talented mother

An artistic streak runs in the family. It expresses itself very differently in two generations. I create jewelry and embellish parasols, but my mother is a true artist. She's been drawing most of her life, and was very much inspired and nurtured by one of her art teachers. We both share a love of animals, and she's turned her artistic hand towards capturing loved pets, both ours and now those of customers across the country.

She does craft fairs and shows where she will do quick sketches of people's pets on the spot, and also takes commissioned works, sometimes working entirely from pictures people send her, and sometimes creating montages of animals from completely separate images. She works mainly in pencils, and uses them to create images that look like they're about to jump off the page and into your lap, licking your hand on the way.

Here's some stunning examples of her work:

Firstly, a drawing of my childhood, the kitten that "followed me home" (held in my arms, of course) when I was seven years old, who lived to be almost 21:

Secondly, another sentimental shot for me, a black mouse, in honor of my very first pet, whom I named Reepicheep, as the Chronicles of Narnia were some of my favorite bedtime stories:

Here's several shots done for customers, including several pets in the "other" category:

You can visit her website to view many more wonderful examples of her work.

And while you're cruising the internet, you can also check out my uncle's conventional and digital art.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

New DeviantArt account for DBVictoria

I finally broke down and started submitting my pieces to DeviantArt.

Steampunk Gear Earrings by *dbvictoria on deviantART

Stay tuned for more Deviations!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Upcoming events for 2009

It's shaping up to be a busy summer for me.

Next weekend, I'll be vending on Saturday (the 20th) at the Fremont Fair, splitting the weekend with Rivka's Mom, who will be vending on Sunday.

On Saturday, July 11th, I'll be setting up a table at the Steampunk Garage Sale, located at the All Pilgrim’s Church (lower level), 500 Broadway E, Seattle, WA 98102, from 12-6pm.

For the first three weekends in August, I'll be at the Washington Renaissance Fantasy Festival, at its new home in Buckley, Washington.

And once I get through all this, I'll have a little time to recover for my next event in October, the month that marks my 10th anniversary as a business! I will be vending Steam-Con, the first annual Seattle Steampunk Convention.

Hope to see some of y'all at one of these!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Thank You, Mr. President!

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 1, 2009

- - - - - - -

Forty years ago, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City resisted police harassment that had become all too common for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Out of this resistance, the LGBT rights movement in America was born. During LGBT Pride Month, we commemorate the events of June 1969 and commit to achieving equal justice under law for LGBT Americans.

LGBT Americans have made, and continue to make, great and lasting contributions that continue to strengthen the fabric of American society. There are many well-respected LGBT leaders in all professional fields, including the arts and business communities. LGBT Americans also mobilized the Nation to respond to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic and have played a vital role in broadening this country's response to the HIV pandemic.

Due in no small part to the determination and dedication of the LGBT rights movement, more LGBT Americans are living their lives openly today than ever before. I am proud to be the first President to appoint openly LGBT candidates to Senate-confirmed positions in the first 100 days of an Administration. These individuals embody the best qualities we seek in public servants, and across my Administration -- in both the White House and the Federal agencies -- openly LGBT employees are doing their jobs with distinction and professionalism.

The LGBT rights movement has achieved great progress, but there is more work to be done. LGBT youth should feel safe to learn without the fear of harassment, and LGBT families and seniors should be allowed to live their lives with dignity and respect.

My Administration has partnered with the LGBT community to advance a wide range of initiatives. At the international level, I have joined efforts at the United Nations to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. Here at home, I continue to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans. These measures include enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples, outlawing discrimination in the workplace, ensuring adoption rights, and ending the existing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security. We must also commit ourselves to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic by both reducing the number of HIV infections and providing care and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS across the United States.

These issues affect not only the LGBT community, but also our entire Nation. As long as the promise of equality for all remains unfulfilled, all Americans are affected. If we can work together to advance the principles upon which our Nation was founded, every American will benefit. During LGBT Pride Month, I call upon the LGBT community, the Congress, and the American people to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.