New year, new space

I know, I know, it’s well over a month into 2017. But I’m not moving fast these days, both physically and in terms of crafting. For those of you  who are just tuning in, my sewing room is becoming baby #2 (aka Padawan’s) room. We’re finally getting to the point where Hobbit is starting to sleep through the night more consistently, thank God! But that means we also don’t want to have another little guy in the same room waking him up at this point, and vice versa. (Even though he’ll really be spending his first few months in the bassinet in our room, since the less walking I have to do for late night feedings, the better.) Anyway, the point is that I’ve officially gone from a sewing room to a sewing nook in our closet, with my fabrics and less frequently used supplies moving to the basement. And clearing this room out has sucked up a lot of the time in which I would otherwise be making things.


Ignore the crappy lighting, since I can’t do anything about it, but here’s the new space! My machines live at the wall that is shared with our actual bedroom, and Doug drilled a hole for a power strip so I could plug everything in. My must-have supplies are in an IKEA cart that tucks nicely under my skirts and dresses. And nearly everything else is in a large downstairs closet that connects to the finished part of the basement.

And look, new machines! I finally have gotten the Janome coverstitch machine set up and tested, and I think this is the beginning of a much more beautiful friendship with my knit projects. In addition, my mom generously passed one of her extra sewing machines on to me, so I have a newer Bernina to play with! While my old machine has more decorative stitches, this one actually has that lightning bolt stretch stitch, and a machine light that functions. Both of which have been handy already. (Let’s be honest, decorative stitches aren’t something I’ve used much  since my teenage years anyway.)

Along with the rearranging, I’ve also been trying to declutter as much as I can stand to, including being really honest with myself about project leftovers I can’t find a use for after years/free fabric people have dumped on me that isn’t my taste/etc. I’ve still got some work to do on scrapbook and miscellaneous craft supplies, but here’s a sampling of what I’ve managed to let go of. (Understanding that I’m a pack rat by nature, and the thought of doing that Konmari extreme declutter horrifies me.  So this is huge!)

  • 65 yards of fabric, which was well over 10% of my stash. (The Stashbusting Sewalong group is trying to collectively get through that much this year, so yay team!)
  • A stack of scrapbook paper that was around 5″ tall. That’s a lot of paper. (This actually  went to my best friend, who uses it for a particular item she creates for an annual craft fair at her church.)
  • A bunch of stickers, including several unopened packs that were clearly from the 90s. Sandylion, anyone? (Too obviously girly for me to save for the boys, since my one naturally gravitates towards things like trucks and dinosaurs and safari animals all on his own.)
  • Most of my really cheap-feeling acrylic yarn/yarn with alpaca, since my skin has made it very clear that wearing any animal fibers against it for longer than 20 minutes is a no-go. (I did keep some cheap acrylic for kids’ crafts, and one alpaca yarn for some boot toppers, since it’s a versatile color and I’d be wearing those over jeans or leggings.)

And, for the sake of catching up, here’s a quick summary of everything I sewed in January.

Cake Espresso Leggings Since it was the only thing on my #2017makenine list that is actually wearable for me at the moment, I made another pair of Cake Espresso leggings, this time in a grey ponte. Technically, I made two, though I finished the second this month. Unfortunately, the second pair is currently unwearable– while this grey ponte from my Christmas haul had a four way stretch, the teal that I used for the second was more of a two-way stretch. As a result, at the risk of TMI, I can’t get them pulled up enough to fully cover my backside. I do have enough fabric left over than I can add some length there, but I’m going to wait until after the bump to try them on again and make sure that’s not the only issue. But I’ll probably just unpick the folded-over waistband and stitch on a new one to give me the coverage I need to be comfortable wearing them. I did get to play with my new coverstitch for both of these, so that was fun!

The rest of my sewing was rather utilitarian. Part of rearranging the closet to accommodate my sewing machines was needing to figure out what to do with our dirty laundry, since our washer and dryer are two floors down from our bedroom. So I recycled one of my old handmade curtains into two new laundry bags. Having something that closes is definitely a must, since one of our golden retrievers is a total kleptomaniac and our socks will be all over the place if he gets a hold of them.

I also have been playing around with a more old-fashioned paper planner this year, since writing things to do out seems to help me remember better. The particular one I purchased is a print-at-home, and one of the major perks for me was having lots of note pages so I can treat it like a bullet journal, and therefore have all of my lists of projects to work on and books to find and whatnot without having to write out my calendar every month. But my binder was boring, and I needed a way to keep my pens with it, so I used up most of some leftover quilt cotton from an apron that I made several years back to make a cheery cover for it. (The button is part for looks, and part to keep it closed in a way that Hobbit hasn’t figured out how to get past yet! He’s starting to figure zippers out, so that was a no go.)

My sewing this month has been pretty slow so far, since I wasn’t able to sit down in the closet cave for over a week. But hopefully I’ll at least finish what I’m currently working on before this month is out! I’ve got a few things that I’d really, really like to finish before Padawan makes his appearance, since I have absolutely no idea how much luck I’ll have in getting both boys sleeping at the same time for awhile. Wish me luck!

Top 5 Misses of 2016

While I did have some things I made this year that I really liked, my output this year also definitely had its “meh” moments. So here’s the things that just didn’t quite work out as planned…again, all things made for me, and more or less chronological.


IMG_3415 1. The pajamas that look like hospital clothes. I mean, I still wore them regularly enough, because they’re pajamas, and I needed them. And I guess they could be worse. But the tea dyeing experiment was a total fail, the pants are actually too long and I never bothered to fix them even though I’m constantly in danger of tripping on them, and the shirt is just a total frump fest. Definitely more the pjs that scream “I don’t care today” than the ones you wear to feel both cute and comfy. It’s sad, since my first pair of Sewaholic Tofino pj pants turned out cute and comfy. But at least I got some fabric out of my stash, right?

Appleton Dress



2. My first version of the Cashmerette Appleton dress. The dress itself isn’t too bad, though I wasn’t exactly happy with the wrap skirt and what felt like a lack of guaranteed coverage to me. Elastic makes it work, but I shouldn’t have to engineer internal straps just to be sure my basic knit dress will stay closed, you know? Honestly, I think the biggest miss on this was the fabric. I hardly ever wear red, or such a pinky shade of coral, and I’m really not sure what my brain was thinking when I picked up this coupon of fabric in Paris. Probably something along the lines of “la vie en rose.” I’m dorky like that. My machine deciding it hates hemming ITY didn’t really help. I wore it a few times, and I’ll probably wear it again once I can, but I still like my previously mentioned second version soooo much better.

20160717_192224_LLS IMG_4227

3 and 4 are both versions of the Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono tee that I made this year. Nothing against the pattern, since my previous version turned out great and I still wore it a lot while I could this year. Both of these were also fabric issues, I think– the coral was just too thin and didn’t have enough give, which caused the neckline to go all wonky. And the ivory one was just a pattern hack gone wrong for the clinginess that the knit ended up having. Especially around my waist and hips. Again, I still wore both of these, and will probably continue to do so after nursing. At least, until I get around to replacing these two basics with something better. I have other priorities I need to get to first. (Or maybe I’ll just straighten out the hemline on the ivory one, at least. That might help.) My biggest frustration is really that this is supposed to be such a simple, basic pattern, and I screwed it up twice in a row.

IMG_4388 5. The hippie-esque shirt that was nearly the last thing for myself that I made this year. As mentioned in the post, it’s partially a victim of bad timing– I’ve outgrown it for now, and won’t be able to really give it a chance until I’m done with nursing the new baby. But this one also has much to do with the fabric itself, specifically the colorway. Beigey tan reeeeeeally isn’t my best look. But it was deep stash, and at least it’s out.

How did you all do this year? Anything supposedly simple that went very wrong?

when wardrobe disaster strikes

So, as anyone around the mid-Atlantic/northeastern region of the US knows at this point, a big stormy mess of doom is coming straight for us. (Particularly my area, if the fact that the Weather Channel is hanging out at the beach I visit every summer is any indication. It’s rather weird to see a beach and boardwalk I’m actually familiar with on tv!) So, since the big concern is power outages and water, one of the main preparations today was catching up on my laundry. No big deal, right?

Except that somehow, despite the fact that I NEVER keep pens in my pockets, a pen somehow got stuck in with one of my loads and ran through the dryer. (Since I’m living at my parents’ until after the wedding, my dad is the most likely culprit–we’re guessing it must have somehow gotten left in the washer and then lost amidst my clothes.) The result is that the entire load basically got ruined.

Some of it wasn’t so bad–the clothes I wore to paint at my fiance’s house last night, for instance. A pair of pajamas that I got for Christmas last year got it pretty bad, but at least I just wear those to sleep in. The bigger problems were that nearly all of the t-shirts, the hoodie sweatshirt, and several pairs of the jeans I wear to work also got it pretty bad. (All thrifted, and most I only wear to work because they just don’t fit right, but I did have one pair that fit well enough that I wear them outside of work, too. So now I’m just down to 3 pairs of “real” jeans, and I can only wear the skinny jeans with a limited number of tops. Boo.) My one brown pair of pants that I wear at least once a week, even though they’re too short (I’ve been holding out until I have time to make some), also seem to have gotten a little, though it’s not quite as noticeable. And aside from those cute pjs that I’ve had less than a year, this is what’s making me the saddest…
10/23This was one of my outfit pics from this past week–all me-made except the boots. The top was safe because that was from a different load, but my teal microfiber skirt, which has become a staple this fall, did get some ink splatters. Another me-made that I wore yesterday met the same fate. I’m trying soaking those and the work t-shirt that got it the worst in a combination of detergent and oxy-clean to see if it will help. The two me-mades might be salvageable, because the skirt is dark enough that the ink just looks like a smudge instead of an obvious stain, and the top has a kind of splotchy (on purpose) dye job to begin with. The black ink is an obvious difference, but unless I missed a spot, it looks like both splatters are on the back, and so I might be able to hide it by leaving my hair down. Maybe this is wishful thinking on my part, but it’s rather upsetting to consider that these two things might be ruined, when they’re both still actively involved in my wardrobe!

But this also leaves me with a dilemma–as much as I wanted to avoid buying clothes this fall, I do wonder if I should just replace the brown trousers and the one pair of jeans. I know I could sew them, and I have the fabric to do so, but I just don’t have the time until the wedding dress is done. And that does put a dent in my wardrobe.

To leave this on a happier note, because I’m still way more upset about this than I probably have a right to be–after all, they’re just clothes and it’s not like I don’t have more, I just get emotionally attached to the ones I spent time sewing in particular–here’s my other fun outfit from last week. Again, both pieces of clothing are me-mades (the green Vogue dress from last fall and the Junior Mints jacket, again. Thankfully, this particular challenging-to-make dress was NOT in this load of laundry!)

I’m back!

…and will have more of an update later. For now, just playing around with the direct-to-blog feature of Picasa– I wanted to post some jewelry pics anyway. None of these are anything new, except to this blog– everything was for the craft fair, and I’m dipping into the collection again in an attempt to disperse it. So here’s a quick rundown of the latest things I’ve found a home for…
1. A bone and shell bead bracelet with silver spacers, which I’m keeping for myself. I’d been eyeing it since I made it anyway.
2. Glass leaf earrings, also for me. I wore these today, actually.
3a-3b. The last one I’m keeping for myself at the moment. This one was a lot of fun to make, actually– I’m calling it my “Amalgamate’ necklace, because it’s bascially all of the whitish/tannish/clearish neutral glass beads that I had that didn’t go with anything else–all single beads, so I couldn’t even make earrings. They’re all individually linked together with wire and then hanging off of a bulky chain piece.
4 & 5. I gave these two pairs of earrings away tonight, as low-key birthday gifts for two friends of mine–they’re sisters, and their birthdays are close together, so they had a last-minute joint party tonight. Just a few of us over for cake and ice cream. I tried to pull ones out of the collection that fit each girl’s style/personality, and they both seemed to really like them. The first is carved wooden beads and crochet-covered beads (for the 60’s-loving friend who prefers smaller, simple jewelry), and the second is glass beads and chandeliers (for the Renaissance-loving friend).

Hoping to get another post in tomorrow (or later today, really), since I actually finished a new project tonight! But sleep first. Besides, I don’t know how to post more than one picture for this feature.

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yarn studies, revisted

I got some nice comments on my last yarn-related post, so I wanted to take a little bit of time to address a couple of things that came up and update you all on where things stand there.

First of all, I may or may not be allergic to wool. I’m not really sure, because I’ve never actually been tested to find out exactly what I am allergic to. (I probably should be at some point in my life, since they run rampant in my extended family and pretty much everyone in this state inevitably ends up with some form of seasonal allergies. But I haven’t.) I know that the wool beret I had in high school made my face break out in a line of hives, and when I touch yarn that’s got a lot of wool in it, I get this nasty deeper-than-skin prickly feeling in the palms of my hands for hours afterwards. But then there’s that 10% wool sweater I’ve had for years that I mentioned– I don’t know if it’s the blend, or if it’s been washed so many times, or if maybe this whole wool thing is all in my head and I’m a hypochondriac or what, but that one doesn’t bother me. (I’m pretty sure it’s not all in my head, though.) I’m at least sensitive to it, and it may be just the lanolin, because I was able to handle some sheepskin slippers that I got my mom for Christmas. And I tried touching an alpaca/acrylic blend and didn’t feel the urge to drop it like it’s hot. (I’ve heard the alpaca is way more hypoallergenic than sheep wool. And warmer.) So maybe I’d be ok with that, or angora, or whichever the one is that’s made from goat hair. (Is that cashmere or mohair? Or both?)

Secondly, I’m not entirely opposed to working with acrylic yarn. My handwarmers and both hats that I’ve made so far were from acrylic yarns, and I found both to be pretty comfortable both to work with and to wear. But I know it has a tendency to pill–I noticed that my handwarmers are already getting a rather fuzzy halo, like in that pre-pill sort of way, and I’ve really only worn them a couple of times so far. And some of my store-bought acrylic sweaters are horribly pilled and got that way pretty quickly. I also know it’s not the most eco-friendly option. Technically, I know that cotton isn’t the most eco-friendly option either, but it still seems somehow better to go for yarn that comes from a regrowable plant rather than, you know, plastic or whatever it’s made out of. (Unless it was recycled yarn. That’s different.) And I am trying to move more towards natural/greener options in my fiber choices where I can. So if I was going to knit an entire sweater, I’d rather it be from something natural that would hold up to washings and wearings. Even if it would probably cost me three times as much money to buy the yarn. 😛

Thirdly, I did get the book in. Pattern-wise, though it had a couple of things I liked, a lot of it was kind of…meh. But I did enjoy reading through the section on the different fiber options and the qualities of each and such. I’ll admit it, I was one of those nerdy kids who actually really loved the research parts of my school projects. Especially the history/literature ones. So I’ve been having a pretty strong urge to go to the local yarn store that isn’t a chain that I recently found out about, and buy a whole bunch of yarn to play with. I’m not sure how intelligent a choice that would be for me, because then I’d end up with all these random single balls of yarn that I wouldn’t know what to make with, but the urge is definitely there. As it is, I’m thinking that I might just go ahead and start off with each new yarn by knitting a swatch (even if I have to unravel it afterwards so I have enough yarn to use), and start recording/reviewing them on here. I know you can read reviews on Ravelry, but it might be nice to have my own little private encyclopedia of non-wool options that I can keep adding to. Especially as I start getting better senses of what I can substitute for wool. And if it helps someone else, too, all the better. Because I’ve already done enough nerdy Google searching to realize that there’s not really a one-stop place to find out what a whole lot of non-wool yarn options are.

Friday Favorites, Episode 38

You may (or may not) have noticed that I didn’t post anything for this last Friday…it rolled around and I realized that due to my avoidance of a certain holiday that shall not be named left me with not very much to share (and apparently no one makes Singles Awareness Day crafts out there in blogland, at least not that I saw.) So I just took the week off. But now I have a good number of things, so here goes!

(And since I apparently have a habit of being completely inconsistent in how I present these, I’m just going to continue that trend…)

Home-type stuff

At Esprit Cabane, there were these really neat candlesticks made from wire. Kind of reminiscent of a flower, so they’d be great for a nature theme, or anyone wanting a rustic-type look. (Their cardboard ottoman is also fun.) At Dollar Store Crafts, they shared ideas for turning a string of Christmas lights and some cardboard egg cartons into a really cool flower lamp, and how to turn water-filled balloons and wax into some candle luminaries. (To fit the dollar-store theme, they suggested using battery-powered tealights so the wax doesn’t melt.) And Apartment Therapy shared some ideas on how to make one of those retro-looking starburst mirrors that I love so much (out of a car mirror, of all things!), as well as a padded tufted headboard. (I still kind of want one of these padded fabric headboards for my room! But it’ll have to wait….) Finally, over at Poopscape Projects (hahaha, that’s the best craft blog name I’ve seen in awhile!), there’s a tutorial for these little containers that look like tree stumps.

Getting technical….

Found a .pdf over at Art Gallery Fabrics that gave a great overview of what those numbers on the sewing machine needles mean, and how to choose the best one for your project. (Very nice presentation too!) And at Daisy Chain Designs, there was a tutorial for an easy, eco-friendly way to clean up silver jewelry. The ingredients: aluminum foil, baking soda and water. Might have to try this with some of my older earrings or something. And at CraftStylish, they shared a technique learned at the CHA conference for how to make flower prints with actual flower petals. (Hint: No paint or ink pads involved.)


Mmmm, these look so comfy…a pair of spa slippers upcycled from a towel and some flip-flops, courtesy of Craftynest. At Whip Up, they shared a link for a tutorial for this absolutely adorable leaf bag. And back at Dollar Store Crafts once more, a coin purse made from an old soda bottle. (I think it’s so cute–it reminds me of Pac-Man!)


I loved Mirella’s shirt that she made for a Sewing With Nature contest– it’s simply gorgeous! Creativity Prompt shared a video tutorial for a “waterfall mini-album“– kind of reminds me of a pop-up book. Pull tabs are always fun. And Christina’s greeting cards that she made for a school assignment really made me smile–not your typical greeting card sentiments!

Finally, just because I can… Valentine’s cakes gone very, very wrong. (The giant heart cookie at the end of the last link especially made me laugh. Thanks to Tracey for pointing me that way.)

Ok, off for my decidedly un-romantic weekend of sci-fi geekiness and crafty fun with my friends! And have a happy weekend, however you choose to spend it.