The one productive thing I’ve done all day….

Apparently my motivation to do anything productive decided to take a leap out the window in honor of February 29. But I can halfway check one thing off the list from the last post– I made a croquis! (Yay, I can delete those swimsuit pics off of my computer now!)

So here’s me, in sketchy form. And here’s what I’ve noticed from looking at this so far:

  1. I guess I’m a little more pear-shaped than I thought, at least it looks that way from the front view. Though my shoulders balance it to an hourglass pretty well. But this explains why empire waist stuff always makes me look pregnant.
  2. I’m not dreaming it… I do have proportionally extra-long arms!
  3. Helloooooo, reason why I always have so much trouble fitting pants–my stomach is pretty flat, but look how far my thighs stick out in comparison!
  4. I think I need to add “swayback” to that list of alterations I need to learn to do and use on a regular basis. I didn’t realize my back curved quite that much.

Yeah, I should go cut something out now.

Chop shops and awards and sewalongs, oh my!

Monster post alert!

First up: I got sewing goodies for my birthday!  A rotary cutter, a mat, this pattern to make my own ironing aids, a straight edge for cutting and grainline measuring (all things I tend to borrow from my mom on a regular basis)…and of course, those two pieces of fabric. They’re both knits–the green is a rayon jersey, and the blue is made from hemp! They were given to me to make with this one Butterick pattern I recently picked up for a convertible jersey dress you’re supposed to be able to make 6 ways. All of the solid knits in my stash were a quarter-yard short of the necessary yardage, and I looked at the layout and there was no way around it. (Of course, now that I have fabric, I cannot find the pattern anywhere. How annoying is that?)

In preparation for my impending return to a more regular work schedule, I spent about 5 hours cutting things out in the basement yesterday, and only got through 2 things in my bagged-up pile (plus a super-quickie project to work on while sewing with a friend on Friday). It was just a day where there were lots of delays. Like the first knit top I cut out, I didn’t have quite enough fabric in the piece I’d originally pulled from the stash for it to work with the layout, so I had to swap it out for an entirely different one. And then I had to trace a pattern out of BurdaStyle. Which happened to be for a fully lined jacket. And then I discovered this….

Look at the flaws on this corduroy! I didn’t see it in the store because the piece was pre-cut and folded, and it was only along one selvedge. But there were quite a few of those worn, bleached-looking spots, and that definitely made my layout more complex. I ended up cutting the interior peplum out of the lining instead of the corduroy like it called for (which I’d imagine would probably work better anyway, given the weight difference in the fabrics with pleats, I’ll have to piece together the inside facing, and on the inside collar facing bit, I had to allow one of those spots inside the piece anyway.)

I’m hoping to maybe get one more thing cut out today, possibly 2, so I have a good base for starting back at work and still fitting sewing in. But in the meantime, I have some bloggy business to take care of, so here we go…

First off, I got an award from the lovely Hana at Marmota’s Dress Diaries!

 The award is for blogs that you enjoy that have less than 200 followers (and actually, I was surprised to read on hers how many I do have! I never pay attention to my own stats, truthfully.) So since I’m supposed to pass this on to 5 people, here are my picks (based on what Google sidebars told me about follower numbers):

1. Alessa at Farbenfreude. She always makes such lovely, well-constructed things, and it’s interesting to read the tidbits about her life in Germany. I’m also still completely in awe (and slightly jealous) of her “My Handmade Closet” page, since all of my attempts to construct something similar here have been an epic formatting fail so far.

2. Gail at My Fabrication. She’s one of the most frequent commenters here, which I so appreciate! She’s also great at finding wonderful fabric prints, and putting together a wardrobe that works with her “boho to the boardroom” aesthetic. (Also, her top banner picture of the moment just makes me laugh so much!)

3. Helena at Crafting My Own Style. She puts a lot of thought into making things that will fit and flatter and fill the gaps in her wardrobe, while balancing a life that includes a young kid. (Having lots of friends who have young kids makes me really impressed with anyone who can keep the creativity going while having one of those to take care of!)

4. Juliette at Sewing and Style Den. Her clothes are always so fashion-forward, and she does some great posts about fashion in general, as well as some good reviews of things like Burda magazine patterns.

5. Ginger at Ginger Makes. She’s newer to sewing, but puts together some great stuff! And since she’s also a knitter (as many of my sewing blogger friends seem to be) and has more experience with that, I enjoy seeing what she makes there. Gives newer-knitter me some inspiration!

Second order of business: I’ve decided to take on a new project. I actually found out about this loosely-organized “Check The Technique” sewalong through Alessa and Ginger awhile back, and was definitely pondering it. My recent adventures in jacket tailoring convinced me that I need to sign up for this one, because even though I think I can do a fairly good job on a lot of things, there’s always room for improvement. And with no deadlines or specific projects in mind, I can focus on the sewing techniques that I want to learn. I borrowed the list from Alessa, with a few modifications–vintage sewing isn’t really my thing, so there are a few things on the original list that I don’t really feel a need to learn, like “grading a vintage pattern”. I’d much rather focus on some fitting techniques for modern stuff. Also, there’s several things on here that I’ve played around with before, but I don’t feel like I really know how to do them yet, or it’s been awhile and I’d like a refresher course. So, without further ado, here’s my version of Check That Technique!

Things I just don’t know how to do that I want to learn:

  • Bound Buttonhole (attempted once, but with epic fail results)
  • Facing a shirt or dress (amending this to drafting a facing for that, as I’ve sewn facings quite often!)   
  • Faced hem
  • Scalloped Edge
  • Shirring 
  • Waist stay
  • Making and using a croquis (my addition, and this project is in the works atm….)
  • Making and using a pattern sloper (my addition)
  • Fitting adjustments: FBA (attempted here, but if my last attempt on that pattern was an indication, I failed….and then there was this, so clearly I don’t get it yet), that hip-to-waist thing (my addition)
  • Tailoring stuff: pad-stitching, hair canvas (my addition)
  • Bag-lining a jacket (my addition)

Things I’ve tried before that I want to improve on:  (with links to relevant projects)

  • Boning (haven’t done this one since, oh, before I started my blog)
  • Front Fly (my nemesis!)
  • Blind hem (it just always seems to show, dangit!)
  • Pintucks  (done here, but that was on a knit and I’ve never done it on a woven)
  • Inter-/Underlining a garment (done here, here and here, but I still feel like I need work here)
  • Making bias binding 
  • Welt pockets (because, you know, that)
  • Zipper: hand picked, lapped, invisible (I’ve done all 3 multiple times, but being comfortable with sewing zippers just seems to be that thing that eludes me! I still have to read the directions every time I sew an invisible one, and I’ve done it at least 20 times now!)
  • Getting the tension right on my serger (my addition)
  • Altering a pattern for design details (my addition, and one I’ve done a couple of times, but it only works out about half the time–I’m thinking of this one, which was less than stellar)
  • Regular stitched buttonholes (my addition– the automatic buttonhole sizer on my machine hasn’t worked since I had to replace the buttonhole foot that I broke, and I’ve been having trouble getting them consistent since.)
  • Seam Finishes: Bound, Faced (not even sure what this is!), Flat-felled
  • Sew Leather (or faux leather) (since the last time I tried was a disaster)
  • Sew Jeans (which I’m hoping the Craftsy class I got for my birthday will help with)
  • Ruching (because I kind of feel like I should get it looking better in the front than this or this)
  • Installing eyelets and rivets (my addition, because of this headache)
  • hemming sheer fabrics (my addition, and one example)
  • Adding a lining when it doesn’t call for one (my addition, since it always seems to complicate things. Like here. And here. And especially here.)
  • Sleeve vents (hopefully easier than this, the next time)
  • Fabric Dyeing, since it seems to be a hit-or-miss thing for me so far.

Been there, done that, got the shirt. (Or dress. Or skirt. Or whatever.)
(Note: I’m not saying there isn’t room to improve, just that I’m fairly confident in my ability to execute these well!)

  • Lining a dress (check, check and check)
  • Making a belt (check)
  • Making a fabric covered button (check)
  • Pockets: patch pockets (check), inset pockets (check)
  • Piping (check and check)
  • Finishes: Hong-Kong (check and check), Mock Flat-felled (check with waterproofing!), Serged (check on lots of things, but let’s use this as an example)
  • Sew pants (after last summer, I’m feeling much better about these!)
  • Sewing a shirt: collar & collar stand, (check) cuffs (check), placket (also check, though this technique does need some work)
  • Rolled hem (check)
  • Raglan Sleeve (check and check), kimono sleeve (check, even though I altered it later for practicality reasons)
  • Collar: mandarin collar (check and check), notched collar (check)
  • Matching fabric (stripes, or more stripes, or plaids-check)

Thank you for bearing with me during this super-long post, and have a lovely, creativity-filled day!

A very browncoat weekend

I have to admit that I was getting a little frustrated last week over being two months into the year and having virtually no finished projects to show for it. (At least, not finished projects that I actually got to keep, other than that one reconstruction.) But it’s ok, because I finished two things over the weekend. And yes, they are both of my brown coats!

First off, the raincoat is now 100% finished. I got my Fashionable Stitch order of replacement eyelets in last week, and hammered them into the belt on Friday, just in time for heading out on the town on a somewhat rainy night. I did my best to get an action shot, since I’d already gotten the main detail pictures, but due to the rather useless clutch purse that I could barely even fit my phone and wallet into, all I had was my flash-less phone. But here’s my attempt anyway, and my apologies for the blurriness. And the darkness. And the fact that you can’t even really see the belt. But I promise you that I’m wearing it! The verdict: it’s not quite as warm as I’d hoped, but it’s still most certainly warmer than my store-bought raincoat that I use in the spring and summer months. So I guess mission accomplished?

I also finished my corduroy jacket over the weekend. It took me some time to figure out the vents in the sleeves, but with a great deal of help from Sigrid’s tutorial, I finally managed to fudge my way through it. Not the best job ever, but hey, couture hand sewing! (It’s there, buried among the interfacing and the frayed edge.)

Today’s my birthday, and I really like to have something new and me-made to wear for that whenever possible. So I basically spent all day yesterday frantically sewing to try to get this done– about 5 hours on the machine to get the lining/facings sewn together and into the jacket, and then another 4 hours hand-sewing the lower hem and the lining and all of the buttons while watching movies with my (very patient) boyfriend. But I finished it! I’ve already worn this two ways–jeans and my new Princess Bride t-shirt for low-key hanging out with my family this afternoon, and paired with tights, boots and this dress for church this morning. (Because, as I put it on Facebook this morning, it’s my party and I’ll wear tropical prints in February if I want to!)

I’m really happy with how this jacket turned out. The fit is great, it’s super-comfortable, and the style details remind me a lot of this other brown corduroy jacket that I had and loved in high school, which was a vintage lighter brown one from the 70s that my mom had sewn for herself. It was a bit too small across the back for me and too short in the sleeves, so I eventually let it go, but the wide collar and patch pockets on this one bring it to mind. I think that the basted fitting method worked really well for this, since the fabric was tough enough to take it, so I’m not sorry that I didn’t make a muslin.

The lining combined with the dark chocolate exterior still reminds me of the packaging for Junior Mints, though!

Don’t you think?

One last note, since several of you commented on my last post about how organized I’m being with the bagged-up projects. Thank you, but this is actually rather unusual for me– I’m generally not a very organized person at all! I’m usually the person who cuts something out and then realizes when I get to that step that I forgot to cut out my interfacing yet again or that I don’t have a zipper or that I forgot to make sure I have the right color of thread or whatever. But I’m trying to plan ahead this time, especially knowing that my sewing time is going to be pretty limited over the next couple of months. I doubt I’ll get any sewing in tomorrow since I’ll have to work and all, but I’m hoping that they won’t need me to come in on Tuesday– all of my students that day have cancelled this week for one reason or another, so that leaves me with basically an entire free day. So I’m hoping to be able to spend it tracing out a couple of things and cutting out several of those projects so they’re all ready to go!

jacket progress

First off, thanks for the kind words on my last post, Mary and Gwen!

I’ve been making some nice progress on my jacket over the last several days, though slowly because I basically had no time to sew at all over the weekend. So here’s what’s been happening so far:

I basted the jacket together to check for the fit– I cut the size 40 out of the Burda magazine, but with 1″ seam allowances instead of the 5/8″ it called for. And look how much I still had to take it in! (Every line that’s further to the right.) The only place where I think I might need to adjust a little more is adding a teensy bit more room under the arms, but with the extra-wide seam allowances, that will be simple enough. Doing it this way made it really easy to sew for real, too– after I traced the new stitching lines onto my pattern pieces, I just sewed right over the basting lines, so nothing will get lost in translation.

My goal for today was to get the pockets taken care of, and I succeeded. So I did a little process photography– I was afraid that the Burda directions would be typically tough to follow, but this wasn’t bad at all!
First I had to press the pleats in and baste it…

Then sew the bands on the top. (The only problem I ran into here was that I should have checked to make sure the nap was going the same way, because I didn’t and I didn’t notice until the pockets were already sewed on. So let’s just say this was a design detail that I did on purpose, even though it was really just me thinking that the interfacing would probably be better on the outer side.)

Next step was to sew the lining to the other side of the band, with a gap for turning, then to sew all around the outer edge of the pocket.

And this is what I ended up with–it made a pretty nice clean finished edge, and I had no trouble with the lining peeking through when I sewed the patch pockets onto the jacket!

On a random note, this lining fabric is reminding me of Junior Mints.

And here’s the pocket on the jacket–it’s a little off-grain with the corduroy, because of the flare in the jacket, but it is parallel to the bottom edge and I think that was more important here.

The other project I’ve done over the last several days was to package up some projects for the next few months. I still need to cut things out, and trace out about 3 patterns from the Burda magazines and Sewing Handbook, but this is about a dozen projects’ worth of fabric packaged up with the patterns, any thread or notions I need (minus interfacing, since that will come with cutting out.) Since I’m starting to get work at the retail job already, at least I did yesterday, my plan is to cut out several of these all at once after I finish the jacket. And then I can just sit down and sew them whenever I have the time, in whatever order I want to do these in. I’ll most likely tackle the ones outside of the bin first, though I have to trace one of those patterns and double-check my jeans muslin to see if I need to make any more fitting tweaks. I think this should make it fairly easy to work in some mending projects and refashioning as I go on this, too!

Well, that was suprising…

I’ve been following the One Pretty Thing blog for awhile, though somewhat inconsistently (because the full text never loads on my Google reader. I hate when sites do that!) But I happened to click through today, and check this out… I made a tutorial on BurdaStyle for the pleated trim I did on this green top 2 springs ago, and there was a link to it on there today! So just wanted to thank them for the shout-out–it’s good to know that someone found it inspiring!

Oh, yeah, I did some sewing today. I know how to fit my jacket. I altered the pattern for the lining. I just haven’t taken pics yet. And I’m getting totally sidetracked by Pinterest, so I don’t think it will happen tonight…

knitting update (and a surprise)

I’ve been finding it a lot easier to find time to knit than to sew lately. Probably largely because my boyfriend’s and my schedules have worked out over the last month or so that we can find several hours to hang out on Thursday in the late afternoon into the evening. So we’ve been keeping it pretty low-key and basically just cooking dinner and then watching some favorite tv shows or movies. He doesn’t mind my need to keep my hands busy while I’m sitting for long periods of time, and I feel like it’s easier to be social while knitting. At least at the point I’m at on this project. So except for some time yesterday when my best friend was also over and I was resizing some t-shirts on the serger for her, I’ve mostly been just knitting while he’s around.

This is where my Camille Shrug is at right now– the back is completely done for now (until the end when I have to finish the edges with some ribbing), and I’m about 30 or so rows into the first sleeve. It’s pretty brainless for now, just a straight stockinette with a 2-stitch decrease every 10 rows or so. What’s got me a little stumped as I work is that I think I may have to add some length to the sleeve–the largest size has something like a 20.5″ finished length, I’m knitting the smallest size, and from shoulder to wrist, my arm measures at a whopping 24″. (Told you I have monkey arms!) Unless I’m envisioning this completely wrong, since it does look like a long-sleeved shrug on the model. If my measurements are right, the lace chart plus ribbing should end up taking about 8″, which is pretty much elbow to wrist on me. So I guess what I’ll do for now is get it to the point where I’m supposed to start doing the lacy bit again, maybe knit the other sleeve to the same point, and then hold it up and see where it’s at.

I am pretty proud of how the back turned out. Despite all of the counting, this was actually really fun to knit the whole way through. And after the nightmare that was the Cadence chart, I didn’t think that would be possible! But I think it looks really nice so far, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it looks once it’s all blocked!

I also made a secret knitting project that I couldn’t write about until now…my boyfriend’s birthday was this past Thursday, and so I made him this as part of his birthday present:

He’s been rather curious about my crafty habits since he found out about them, and has been asking me all sorts of questions about it. And he did mention at one point early last month that he wouldn’t mind if I made him a hat sometime. So I finished this right at the end of January. (After several bouts of basically having to lie to him over the phone about what I was working on. And I am a terrible liar.) It was pretty simple to make, other than just picking that third stripe color in the first place. (His favorite color is green, and he was wearing a black coat a lot at the time, so that was easy. Finding something manly that looked good with those two things was surprisingly hard!) This was the first project where I’ve actually done multiple colors where it wasn’t variagated yarn, and that was surprisingly painless. The hat pattern (the Strib Hat on Ravelry) had a link to a good tutorial for how to start and end the stripes when knitting in the round, so that helped immensely. He was pretty happy with it–he’s been wearing it around every time we’ve been outside since, and wants me to make him a scarf with the leftover yarn (of which I have quite a bit of the brown and green in particular!) I was going to attempt this, but I think that intarsia may be beyond my skills for now, so I think I’ll just do something stripey and basic instead.

He ended up giving me a surprise on Thursday, too. After lots of questions about my various hobbies, I found out that he made me this:

He said he’d wanted to see firsthand what it was I enjoyed about making stuff, and figured attempting jewelry would be easier than, say, getting his hands on a sewing machine and trying something with that. So he found one of the simpler-looking projects with instructions on the Fire Mountain website, got the materials it called for, and gave this a go. He admitted that he was pretty frustrated while he was working on it, and said this isn’t going to become a regular hobby for him, but that he definitely felt a sense of satisfaction when it was done! I’ve never had a guy make anything crafty for me before, so I thought that was pretty sweet!

So, so close….

My goal for yesterday was to finish the raincoat. And I almost made it. But then disaster struck, in the form of eyelets…

All those raggedy sharp edges…. apparently all of that trouble I was having with the belt for the Licorice dress wasn’t a fluke. The eyelet setting went even worse this time. I even asked my tool-savvy dad for help, and he couldn’t get them to go in right either. So we concluded that the eyelet setting tool is a piece of crap, and that I’ll need to get a new one. He thinks he can get the eyelets out without messing up the belt itself, which is hopefully going to be the case. So I’ll have to talk to him about that soon… I can salvage the buckle either way, but worst case scenario, I found just enough fabric to make a new belt if needed. I just need to remember to keep an eye on the A Fashionable Stitch shop for when the eyelets come back in stock so I can get those, the hammer-in tool instead of the awful pliers tool, and some new belt backing if necessary. Sunni’s customer service is great– I emailed her last night to ask if she carried those aside from the entire belt kit, and got a response back within half an hour! So I would definitely highly recommend her shop. (As an aside, Sunni, if you manage to find jeans rivets to stock, I will love you forever!)

On a happier note, I think the coat itself turned out pretty good!

Not quite the same look as what was in the magazine– let’s just do this properly and I’ll do a pattern review, shall we?

Pattern: Burda Magazine 3/2009, #119

Pattern Description: Double-breasted trenchcoat with gun flaps on both sides, knee length, inverted box pleat in the back.

Pattern Sizing: 34-44. I made the 40.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Close, but not quite…I just realized now, while looking at the line drawing vs. my photo, that I should have pulled it closed more in the front when I was figuring out button placement and that’s why the double row of buttons would have just looked silly. Oops. Oh well, it’s probably more functional this way, anyway! I also left off a few of the extra details, like the mini-belts around the wrists and the epaulettes. And the belt, obviously, but that will come.

Were the instructions easy to follow? They’re Burda magazine instructions. ‘Nuff said. Truth be told, I didn’t follow them too closely, because I had to rework half of the order to accommodate the waterproofing, and my desire for a full lining. But hey, look how nice it looks! Inverted box pleat and everything! Um, don’t look too closely at the internal hem, ok? That was a bit of a wrestling match, but hopefully it won’t show too badly.)

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I liked the styling of it, and would have quite happily incorporated those extra details if they wouldn’t have added extra holes in unnecessary places that I would have had to waterproof. There wasn’t really anything I seriously disliked about the pattern itself, more my construction process. But that’s not the pattern’s fault.

Fabric Used: A waterproof taffeta from Gorgeous Fabrics for the outside, and some polyester stuff I was given for free years ago for the lining. The lining is also fully underlined with flannel for warmth. (I also used the flannel for interfacing where needed.)

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
As already mentioned, I fully lined the coat, rather than the yoke/sleeve only lining that the pattern called for. And the accidental design change in the front with the buttons. I did a lot more topstitching than it called for, since the taffeta was very prone to fraying and I needed to finish all of those seams accordingly (lots and lots of flat-felled seams. Great practice for those jeans I still plan to make.) I also used a belt-making kit from A Fashionable Stitch, rather than the directions that the pattern called for. I made no sizing alterations, since I wanted to allow extra room for bulky winter clothes, other than maybe making the sleeves a bit longer.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I think it makes for a nice, classic trench-coat look. I might sew it again whenever my lightweight spring jacket wears out–wouldn’t this be fun in a bright, cheery twill print or something? 

Conclusion: This has nothing to do with the pattern itself, but I am SO glad to be done with this thing. And I really hope this raincoat holds up for a long, long time, because I don’t want to waterproof anything again for a long, long time!

In other sewing news:
1. In one of the recent interims of letting waterproofing stuff dry before I could continue, I made these:

 Yes, I have another bridal shower to go to! This time, for a cousin getting married in March (the wedding I’m knitting that black shrug for.) So I whipped up yet another of my go-to apron pattern, along with the potholders I tried out back in the fall for a last-minute addition to a friend’s shower gift. These seem to be along the lines of the colors she wants in her kitchen, so hopefully my cousin will like them! I can probably make the apron in my sleep by this point. The potholders still need a bit of work, as I still haven’t quite figured out the best system for getting the bias tape around the top, (Probably because I keep insisting I can do better than the pattern, and making the loop out of the bias tape instead of a ribbon like the pattern calls for.)

Speaking of that black shrug, I’ll do a knitting update soon…. in about 3 rows, it will make a better picture than what I can take now. But there has been progress. Honest.

2. My next project is mostly cut out and ready to go. And it’s….(drumroll)….another brown coat! More specifically, the brown corduroy one that was #1 on the list. Hey, I’ve been meaning to make that thing for 2 years now. So I have the outside all cut out and interfaced where needed, with some extra-large seam allowances. My plan is to baste it together, tweak the fit where needed, mark that on the pattern, and then cut out the lining. Corduroy’s tough. It can take being a muslin and a finished jacket. Now if only I could find what’s left of my old fabric notebook so I can remember how many yards I can take off my stash list…

3. I also need to sit down soon and figure out what I need for the next several projects I’m going to tackle. Especially since the button packs are buy one get one free next weekend! (And maybe check out the Simplicity patterns, since they’re 5 for $5…)

4. I got an early birthday present today…I’m signed up for one of the sewing classes at Craftsy. I got an email this morning saying that the pants-fitting one is currently half-price, and since I have both jeans and trousers coming up in the queue, I figured this would help immensely. I do have two pairs of jeans that I love the fit on (one boot-cut and, surprisingly, my one pair of skinny jeans, both purchased from Goodwill), and a pair or two of pants that I also think fits pretty well. Actually, I was thinking just yesterday that I wish I could replicate this one brown pair I have, because the fit at the top is great but I’ve washed and worn them so often that there’s starting to be some obvious wear-and-tear on places like the back welt pockets. Plus they’re just too short to look really good with my boots. So since the whole idea is reverse-engineering the fit without destroying the original jeans or pants, this could be just the thing! I’ve liked the Pattern Review classes I’ve taken in the past, but I’m excited to try the Craftsy ones since they have video and no set dates, so I can just do it as I can without stressing about falling behind. (Plus they’re less expensive. Always a plus.) I’m thinking for the jeans, I can use this to make whatever last tweaks are needed to the muslin I already made for the last jeans class, and use the pattern I already have from there. So then I can finally cross that off the list, since I’ve been saying for, oh, only the last 3 or 4 years in a row that this is going to be the year I successfully make jeans!

Things left unblogged

Warning: This is going to be a rather picture-heavy post.

My raincoat has a sleeve now! Which I forgot to waterproof after I got done teaching last night like I’d meant to. I got sidetracked by finishing up the last two rows on the chart for the back of my shrug that I’m knitting, and swatching for another upcoming project. So I guess I’ll have to do that today, and not sew on this. (It doesn’t really have a lining in there yet, I just stuck it on the hanger with it so I could get an idea of what it looks like.)

And since there’s not much more to say about that, I remembered that there are some things I’ve done more recently that I haven’t written about yet. So I’m just going to put these up now.

#1: Yes, I know it’s February, but I’m going to post about a Christmas ornament anyway!

The backstory: For the last few years, an out-of-town married couple that I’m friends with has hosted a game party around New Year’s–basically, lots of board or card-type games and usually some kind of movie or tv-show watching that has some kind of geeky twist to it. (This year, it was a bunch of episodes of The Big Bang Theory.) And one of the first years, the guy closed the email invite with comparing Sauron (the big flaming eyeball bad guy from Lord of the Rings) to Santa, because they’re both always watching. So that became kind of a running joke. This year, I had the thought one day while I was bored at work that this could become a pretty funny ornament. So I approached my best friend (who is also friends with them) with the proposal, and we agreed that I’d paint the ornaments, and she’d crochet the hats. (I made 3, because of course we each wanted one too.) Since we rode up to their house together, we had some pretty amusing moments of me gluing the hats to the balls in the car and hanging them from the rearview mirror to dry! Our friends thought it was hilarious, and so this is Sauron Claus hanging proudly near the top of their tree at the party.

#2: I’m easing myself back into scrapbooking, after basically not doing it for a couple of years. Admittedly, these aren’t my most creative pages ever, and I certainly wouldn’t win any prizes for them. But hey, they’re done! Most of these fall into the category of “I just want to get something done so I’m just going to write on these pages that I’d already glued pictures to awhile ago and call it finished.”

And you can’t even see the writing on most of these, but since it’s been sitting unfinished in the album for awhile, it’s still better than nothing! I did have fun with making the wavy paper shapes on this one to kind of go along with the way the wall was painted in the restaurant, though.

Easiest page ever, and one that was truly made recently. I just slapped the pictures from the manicures we got for a friend’s wedding, oh, 4 1/2 years ago onto a piece of patterned paper and just wrote on it. I don’t know why I kept putting this off.

This one had been mostly done awhile ago, except for one thing…

See that writing? Yeah, bubble letters that I colored around with a black marker on top of the paper that was already there. I don’t know why I didn’t finish that one 3 years ago, either.

The actual layout took some effort, due to all of the little photos….the writing falls into the category of “it’s getting kind of late and I don’t feel like taking the time to type this and choose a font and print it and everything.” Honestly, I’m thinking I’ll just have to transfer all of my fonts to my laptop, because the printer is in the kitchen, and then I can just sit next to it and feed paper into it to print things. I’d be so much more productive that way.

I’m a little more proud of this one, from a concert I went to back in 2008. Same deal, just writing on the paper myself, but the gold pen makes it more fun.

And I did enjoy doodling on the patterned paper some to go along with that paisley printed scrap of paper that already had the gold on it.

I do have another page about halfway done, but this one actually will need stuff printed on the computer before I can glue it all down. Ok, so I have several pages about halfway done, but at least I’m starting to get some work done on them now!

Aside from the laptop for writing, I’m hoping this will help…one of my major deterrents has been that my scrapbook stuff is mostly put away, so every time I want to work on it, I have to haul a bunch of stuff out and figure out what I want to use and then put everything else away and then put what I actually did use away and it just takes so much time. I like things I can just pick up and work on. But when I was out running errands with my mom recently, we stopped at AC Moore and she found these little totes on clearance. It has all of these pockets and even a pull-out drawer at the bottom, so I can store a good number of the most basic tools I use (other than my computer for typing, obviously.)

See that box? That’s about 2 years’ worth of photos that I recently got printed. And that’s not counting all of the photos from the 2-3 years before that where I either only halfway did a page or just stuck some paper with it to do later or never started at all. Kind of overwhelming, isn’t it? But since the stuff is here now, that will make it easier to start chipping away at these and actually get some more albums done. If I can ever sort out once and for all whether it would be better to organize everything after my last fully completed album chronologically or by broader categories. (My last fully completed album stops at the end of spring 2006. And there’s so many holes in the chronology from photos I never finished–or started–that I’d thought categories might make it easier. Either way, I have my work cut out for me, now that I’ve actually been in the mood to work on this again!)