Too many posts about ornaments. Don’t worry, this won’t be the last but I will stop after the new year. These went to new homes today with Bird and Gu’s teacher and full time aide at school. Each one is so unique. They have cost me exactly $0 recent dollars (all stash/scrap materials). I can’t stop making them but eventually, I will.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
I saw this ornament on my dear friend Lindsay’s blog this morning and had an immediate need to try one for myself. On her review she mentioned that she hates hot glue and in my mind I heard, “Hear ya sister, I hate hot glue too.” Feeling validated, I made mine by sewing the folded halfs together with a zigzag stitch (similar to how you would attach two lace panels, just butted up to each other). Then I sewed them onto the base circle and created the tucks with a good old fashioned needle and thread. It took longer for sure but it also allowed me to add all those little beads. I think another two rows of tucks are in order and I need to be more careful where I tack because this ornament could certainly be more spherical. All in all, fun project, clever construction with the turned circles, great stash project, and a delightful ornament.
Monday, December 5, 2011
So Bird really needed an angel costume. Ahem, okay, people interpret need differently in our house. The dress was inspired by the book “The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree.” Have you read that book? A dear friend gave it to me last Christmas—the first Christmas after we had met. It is the story of a little girl, Ruthie, and her strong and capable mother who provides a dear Christmas to her daughter despite being alone and just scraping by(1918-her husband has not returned from the war). Ruthie’s mama makes her a dress during the night from her wedding dress because she has no other gifts to give or money to buy material. A true night-sew. The dress in the story is better, of course. Really this would be lovelier made from silk but there isn’t a wedding dress around this house anymore--it has already been refashioned into tiny little baby clothes—and the machine wash shiny polyester organza has appeal. Shiny for the Bird; machine washable for the Mama. If I did it again, I would spend more time and set in the sleeves to a square yoke rather than the raglan and I would make the sleeves fuller. I thought I had drafted the sleeves big enough but really, I think they needed to be full circles. I’ll get pictures in the daylight with a little person in it hopefully tomorrow.
Monday, November 21, 2011
My little Bird is fanatical about few things, details on costumes and decorating for Holidays. She was very disappointed this year when the Halloween decorations (which she still doesn’t feel are adequate) came down and we didn’t have anything to put in their place. She helped me right the wrong by painting that little autumn tree that hangs on my door. We covered a shoe box lid with fabric and modpodged/hotglued it on for our front door. Birdy wanted to add a 3 foot turkey, we were somehow going to make together, parked outside our front door. I was less than enthused about both the turkey and the idea of making it. When I stumbled across this post, I knew we could strike a compromise.
The twins helped me make all these little felted balls by fluffing and separating roving wool, a dozen or so at a time over a week. We would throw them in the wash tucked inside a sock with all our hot/warm laundry and then keep washing the biggish ones until they were a uniform size. After a few days, they started accumulating even with the Lu throwing them all over the house. Today we strung them on string and put them outside. Easy as that. We made more than we realized and had enough to string across the front of the porch as well. I love the little felt pom-poms and can’t stop thinking of all the pom-pom garlands I need. Birthday pom-pom garlands, Valentines Day, a Christmas tree garland. I foresee lots of pom-pom projects in our future.
This spring I’m going to become the aunt to two new nephews. I’m halfway done towards my goal of making each new nephew a baby quilt. I started piecing this on my old machine (so a while ago) from material left over from a quilt I made another baby nephew. His first birthday will be in a few weeks. I quickly stalled with no recipient in mind but when I found out that my sisters were expecting I got some momentum to finish it. I started the hand quilting the first weekend of October and finished last night, with some very big breaks in between for important things like Halloween.This is the first quilt where I’ve actually taken a picture of the final product (thank you little blog) and it looked so charming hanging from my front porch.
Friday, November 11, 2011
This was a little linen outfit I made Bird when she was bitsy. The pattern comes from a delightful Finnish pattern magazine Ottobre. I don’t remember the issue but I think I made it fairly soon after it came out so probably Fall06 or Winter06. This makes me wonder where this is now because it is most certainly Baby Lu’s size. I think there were two pairs of pants as well. One in the light embroidered linen with ruffles. Out to the garage.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Two of my best friends work with the young women in our church which means, by association, I occasionally work with the young women in our church. My friend JJ has the most spot on sense of style. I spent Friday helping her execute this vision. Together we made all those crazy sugar cookies, cupcakes, and sugared fruit. She always envisions details that I have no idea how to do. It becomes a learning process each time I’m enlisted which ends up being delightfully fun for me. This fall she has really expanded my skills with her demands.
This is a picture of cleaning up my sewing room/den. The purple fabric has been on the floor for 6 months after I used a bit of it to make a rapunzel costume. It was easier to make the fabric into purple skirts for my girls than try to find a spot among my stash for it to live. So I did. Honestly, this is the last thing I would ever buy probably to make skirts because I have a strong and undying love for natural fabrics which this one is most definitely not. But they turned out cute, they machine wash/tumble dry and keep their original body, and both girls love them. So much that Bird couldn’t be bothered for a picture and Lu had to be bribed with a dum-dum for the 10 seconds she stood still before she ran away.
Friday, November 4, 2011
This is a dress I made for my little sister to wear to a high school fall ball. Not many girls would wear white to a high school dance but she had clear ideas about exactly what she wanted and the personality to pull it off for sure.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Pattern: McCalls MP436
Fabric: Something machine washable in very pink (per Bird’s Halloween request)
I thought this dress went together beautifully with less effort than it looks. I cut out on a Monday afternoon and finished the following Tuesday night with a little parenting and cubscouting in between. However, it took me weeks to acquire all the fabrics/trims because I refused to pay full price for any of the cuts. This dress takes a lot of fabric! The pattern is good once you get past the yardage requirements for all the different views. Bird loves it—great twirl factor. The cape is a lovely addition. I got the clasp at JoAnns. We lined it in a velour to add a little more weight since it does get real cold here trick-or-treating. She loves swishing that cape around, (think Mother Gothel from Tangled) and I’ll probably make some more cloak/capes in the future for dressups. (The effort to product ratio is perfect.)
Friday, October 28, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
I haven’t been sewing a lot. The addition of the Tulip-Lu to our family was the line crossed. Every day is crazy. I tried hard to get a picture of Bird and Lu together but a certain baby made a certain bad choice near a certain fountain of water and my plans were foiled (once again). Imagine them together.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
My friend Alli made chenille blankets for her kids. The weight and snuggle-ness of her blankets caused me to search online for tutorials. I ran across this blanket at Aesthetic Nest which I just loved enough to jump right into this project. Unfortunately long lengths of stitching at a machine is quite possibly one of my least favorite activities. I’ll happily hand quilt, embroider, smock, and bind but running long lines across quilts is painful. I started this project on my old machine and had to really push to get half done with the quilting—at which point I put it away for at least a month. I thought it would live in UFO-land forever. Then I bought my new machine and thought of it as the perfect way to run through some strait stitching. I enjoyed it for three passes. The new machine brought it out of wretched to bearable and the wee blanket was finished just in time for the arrival of a dear friend’s new baby. I made it with Joel Dewberry stashed prints (birds and binding) and three layers of cheap flannel I picked up on sale. When it was finished I nearly couldn’t part with it. The weight, the soft parallel (mostly) lines, one of my favorite prints, and the movement made me forget about the pain and start a second one right away. The brown and orange bird blanket I stitched with lines just under 3/8th inch apart. The new one I did a generous 1/2 inch spacing. I love the thinness of the tighter lines but I can’t take the redundant time at the machine. Bird loves using the second one as a TV blanket. I gave the first one away before she noticed, otherwise, she would have protested. She really likes these and the magic of taking it out of the dryer for the first time and seeing the colors blend together in the chenille will probably seduce me to make another again.
Which brings me to: OH. MY. HECK. I bought a new machine! Yup, the days of sewing on the Toyota are over. It was with me through a lot of projects—beloved projects that turned out splendidly, but it just wasn’t cutting it anymore. I wanted a machine that had a large variety of model specific feet available, that had precision stitches, great buttonholes, and was a delight to sew with. After an agonizing month with many many hours spent mostly with Berninas and Pffaffs before I settled on a Pfaff Expression 4. She’s a beauty. I’m enjoying her a lot, while trying to get used to her at the same time. Little things bug (like the extra step before engaging the security stitch at the end of the stitch) but I think when I get used to those things I won’t even remember them. I’ll have to be reminded to update on how I’m taking to her. Things I love now:
Feet and attachment options
Stand alone sewing machine—I’m not really into all the embroidery options other machines are built for
Thread cutter, lovely
Pivoting with the half foot lift (I sensed there was something missing in my life)
Long throat length
IDT (Pfaff, you rock my world)
Needle positions to spare
Long long stitch length to baste/gather
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Pattern: vine/flower motif taken from Beautiful Bishops
Fabric: Linen Cotton Blend (70/30)
Trim: Beading Insertion (stash item), lace trim from local shop next to Quilts Etc. (what is that shop named?), mayarts silk ribbon from Lace Place, pearl cotton Anchor embroidery floss 8 weight
This was such a fun sew. It came together in less than a week because the weeks prior to Easter were spent with a sick baby. I love smocking—I never remember how much until I’m in the middle of a project and then I’m usually thinking that I should do some leisurely smocking instead of trying to get it done in just a few days. There is somewhere around 1850 inches of tucks on this dress. I sometimes forget when drawing out what I want how long details take, especially when you are using a no-frills economical machine that fits no specialty feet. I finished this on Saturday night before Easter and went test-driving machines on Monday morning. There are so many projects I want to start but won’t until I have a new sewing machine, hopefully mother’s day, only I’ve run into a quandary making a choice between two amazing machines, different brands. I think I have 11 must have presser feet chosen for either. My next set of tucks will be less painful and more precise for sure.
Bird loves it. It is wonderfully twirly and a white dress feels particularly special to her I think.
"Mama, pwlease make me a pink cindewelly dress tonight when I sweep. Da one da birds make. Dank you."
Many times items are finished as I'm dropping into bed, already mostly asleep with good intentions to take photographs in the morning light. Thinking of the last 5 years, I've realized how few of those pictures were taken. Worse, the documentation of those few are scattered among several hard-drives. Night sew will hopefully be the project to change that. My first goal is to get new stuff up and secondly, to dig into the archives.