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!

February Stash Diet update

Here’s my totals for the month!

For sewing, I finished a whopping 6 projects! Three pairs of Thurlows, a Plantain tee, plus an infinity scarf and a tablet case. I love the months off from my retail job. I only used up two pieces of fabric completely, though I made nice dents in the fabrics I used for the pants. I did also buy several pieces of fabric this month–there was my travel exception that I made for Mood, plus I used my regular allowance to buy a piece of faux leather for my March of the Shieldmaidens project. I also bought two half yards of fabric to make a baby gift for a friend, since I needed a little more to get free shipping anyway and I really don’t have baby-friendly stuff on hand.

Total fabric out: 7 1/2 yards
Total fabric in: 10 yards
Difference: + 2.5 yards
Total stash left: approximately 327 1/4 yards
Pieces of fabric completely used up: 2 (the cherry print cotton for the charcoal Thurlow pockets, and the paisley knit for the Plantain/scarf)
Patterns used: 2. I believe I have one more to go for my pattern buying allowance.

For knitting, I finally managed to start the sleeves on my cardigan! I also finished up a scarf for the Craftsy class that my mom and I have been working through together, aside from sewing the two halves together and weaving in the ends.. I am so, so close to finishing up that skein of yarn– if the method for figuring out yardage from weight that I found is correct, I only have about 20 yards of this particular yarn left. Seriously, what do you do with 20 yards of yarn?

I didn’t do so well on the yarn in vs out this time. Since I was sharing my beginner knitting Craftsy class with my mom, she decided to buy another one for us to work through together–the “Improve Your Knitting” one, which is probably what I would have gone for in the first case if it had been available at the time. I did check my stash, but unfortunately didn’t have anything on hand in the right weights and amounts for the three projects that we’ll be making for this class. So I ended up buying another 8 skeins of yarn! Hopefully these will get entirely used up during the course of this class, but I will not be counting these towards my yarn purchase allowance when I do use them up.

On the plus side, aside from my cardigan, I can make my totals a little more accurate now. I was finally able to give one secret project to its recipient–I made these dishcloths for my bestie, who recently bought her first place! So this was part of her housewarming gift, which had a geeky-but-practical theme going. So these have the Earth symbol from Stargate, a TARDIS, the Golden Snitch from Harry Potter, and the Starfleet Academy symbol from Star Trek. (I also bought her this apron–it references both Lord of the Rings and the Big Bang Theory, and is a favorite quote to throw at each other on a regular basis–a cookbook, and a cast-iron skillet–also known as Samwise Gamgee’s/Rapunzel’s security system!) I basically used up both skeins of yarn on these dishcloths.

I didn’t quite finish my Robson coat in time for the end of #bluefebruary, so I’m going to count that yardage total towards March. I also did some dyeing to prepare for my costume yesterday–I’m trying to do my costume on a pretty tight budget, so I dyed some bedsheets that my parents were getting rid of. They did get darker, though not quite dark enough for my intended costume. So I think I might sew the main part of the costume up anyway, and then try the one dye I know works for polyester. (You have to boil it on a stovetop, so I need a smaller quantity than queen-sized bedsheets!)

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!

Year-end crafting

Now that Christmas is over and all gifts have been given, I can show the rest of what I’ve been up to this month.

1. Herbal eye pillows. They’re filled with flaxseed, lavender, and peppermint. I got the idea and the basic instructions from this blog that I found while Google-searching how to do it. The pillows themselves are bits of muslin from testing out that little black dress at the beginning of the year, and I was able to use some 100% cotton scraps from several projects over the last couple of years. I made one for myself, one for my mom, one for the cousin that I got in the family drawing on my mom’s side (as part of an after-work relaxation kit–she’s a nurse, so she has to put in some long days), and one that I’m not sure what to do with yet.

I usually make a necklace or two for my mom’s stocking every year as well. So here’s this year’s–she mentioned she didn’t have much gold-toned jewelry. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the chain is broken up here and there by some antique gold-colored freshwater pearl beads.

I also got some lovely sewing and knitting (mostly)-related gifts this year from my family…

New fabric! From left to right, 3 yards of a lightweight charcoal denim that absolutely has to become pants, a black/white/grey silky print (I think about 2 yards), and a yard each of 3 cotton prints for me to make a new bag, of this style. It’s kind of cool that I basically have an entire outfit here! I’ll just have to make sure to choose a pants and top pattern that will work well together.

 And I got new yarn! 2 skeins each of this really thin bamboo yarn (I’m guessing for socks)…

….and 2 of this lovely colorway of the Serenity yarn I like. For acrylic, it’s super-soft and I love their color palettes!

A few other miscellaneous things: 3 knitting books (2 with some really lovely patterns, and one that’s a pocket-sized tips book), a tiny circular needle which I’m guessing is also for attempting socks, 2 pairs of scissors (a badly-needed pair of new fabric scissors, since mine are rather dull, and some pinking scissors so I can stop stealing Mom’s all the time), and a little pendant from my sis-in-law.

Here’s the close-up– we both love Van Gogh, and I already had the “Starry Night” pendant. So this is the “Sunflowers”, of course. I love that it came with two little sunflower charms so I can make some earrings, too! (Sunflowers are my favorite flower, as you’ve probably figured out by this point.)

So that pretty much wraps up the holidays. My seasonal retail job is basically done for the year, so unless my job hunt proves more fruitful over the next couple of months than it’s been so far, I’ve basically got no work other than my flute teaching until March. So I think a lot of my non-job-hunting/non-work time will probably be spent playing around with some of these things. I’m hoping to get that mock-up of the raincoat cut out this week. And I have one more holiday-related project up my sleeve, which must get done this week. I’m also planning on doing the traditional year-end wrap-up post at some point this week. But first, I need to figure out where to put all of this stuff…

I like big boots and I cannot lie…

(Sorry…couldn’t resist the pun.)

Anywhoo…still no word from the instructor about that muslin, so I went ahead and did a quickie project.

I really do like my big tall boots. I started wearing them somewhere in the vicinity of the end of high school/beginning of college, and they’ve been my go-to winter shoe ever since. And I have to buy some pretty pricey ones in order to fit my oddly-sized feet (note to shoe manufacturers: extra-wide feet does not automatically equal extra-wide calves), so I pretty much literally wear them until they fall apart. (Actually, the first pair I got, I still have even though there’s holes in the sole of the heel– I’ve used them as my pirate costume boots with a little help from some self-stitched gaiters, and also as riding boots one summer that I took lessons, between my two years of grad school.) So this is to help them last a little longer, because they flop over at the ankles when I put them back in the closet after a day.

I got the idea from a recent post at Craft Apple, and it was really simple to sew–basically just an open-ended tube that’s stuffed and tied. And everything was stuff I had on hand: the fabric was from my scrap bin that I put together in last week’s organization binge, the cording was left over from lacing up the back of one of my Lord of the Rings-inspired costumes, and the stuffing actually busted an entire piece from my stash! I had almost a yard of this canary-colored fleece that I think was given to me for free, because I can’t think of any reason I would have bought it. And I had absolutely no idea what to do with it. So I chopped the entire piece into smaller bits and used that to stuff these. It might sound kind of wasteful, but in a way it was actually pretty practical–if I ever need to clean these since they’re inside my shoes, I can just untie the bags, dump all the stuffing into a mesh laundry bag and it’s completely machine-washable. And like I said, I couldn’t think of anything I’d actually sew out of it anyway. So there.One yard down, a thousand to go. Or something like that.

I’ll make a second set at some point– I have brown boots that are even older than these and also need some love. And I think I have just enough of the batik print left for a second pair. So I just need to figure out what to stuff it with. Maybe that yard of royal blue fleece that I’m also not sure what to do with…

a tale of two opposites

First off: The instant gratification project (with a short backstory)! My dad has had rental properties for some time now–since before I started college, I think. That was largely how my parents paid for that for both me and my brother. And while I was still in school, I’d occasionally help him out with fixing them up between tenants as my class/work schedules allowed. Mostly in terms of painting and cleaning off disgusting kitchen appliances. It’s not unusual for his tenants to leave things there– I think my brother and his wife have a chair from one of the more recent incidents of that. My best find was a beach umbrella, which was still in great condition, and which I’ve been toting with me every time I’ve gone to the beach since. (Being of mostly Anglo-Celtic-German decent, I tend to burn like a vampire in the sun. And not those sparkly poser Twilight ones, either.)

The only bad thing about the umbrella was its carrying case. It was cheap clear vinyl that had a tendency to stick to the umbrella somewhat when you stuff it back in. On the plus side, it did have a carrying strap. But that broke either last summer or the summer before, and there were just a ridiculous amount of tears in it. So I finally got around to making a new bag for it on Sunday– just in time, too, since I’m going to be going back and forth to the beach several times in this next week and a half! It was so easy to make– just basically sewing/topstitching the strap, sewing that on to the fabric, and then making a closed-end tube out of it. With the drawstring top, of course. I modeled it after the old bag, and the umbrella fits in there rather snugly, but perfectly. And the best thing was that this was all stuff I had on hand– the metal rings were in my box of random sewing thingamabobs (I think from some bag I didn’t get around to), and the drawstring was leftover stuffing cord from the piping I made for some pajamas. The fabric is one of the curtains from my old bedroom. Now I just need to figure out what to do with the leftover curtain-and-two-thirds that I still have left…

Now for my still-in-progress, anti-instant-gratification project:

This is where I’m at so far on my blouse from the May 2009 Burda. It’s going kind of slowly because I’m trying to pin really carefully in order to match up the plaids as much as possible. That, and I had to cut all of the pieces out individually to match the plaids. (And I still don’t think I got it right on the top front…I should have shifted it over a little more. Oh well.) Well, that and both of the concerts I was scheduled to go to this summer were within three days of each other, as in this past Saturday and Monday. (Both of which I thoroughly enjoyed.) I’m really excited to see how this shirt will turn out, though–given the color scheme, I’m a bit surprised at how much I’m loving this fabric.

Plus this shirt has some really great details. I really like those pleats! If it turns out as well as I’m hoping, I strongly suspect that I’m going to use this pattern again.

I’m planning on working on it some more this afternoon, since the garden center has had to cut back its employees’ hours and therefore I have no work until the three lessons I teach this evening. Just have to finish up some cleaning first. And probably some more flute practicing, since the flute ensemble has a concert on Sunday, and I more or less had to sight-read all of the parts last Sunday because I got switched to other parts. But if all goes well, this should have sleeves by the end of the day!

On a final, random note, I’m seriously considering signing up for this Self-Stitched September challenge.  It’s been awhile since I’ve done anything like that, and I like that the parameters let you kind of design your own challenge. I’ve seen some people on there saying they’ll wear ONLY handmade stuff, and others who go the route of wearing at least one handmade article of clothing or accessory every day. So in that aspect, it would be a fairly stress-free challenge (and I wouldn’t have to attempt to sew a bunch of pants in less than a month, or exclude any of my favorite thrift store finds!) Much more user-friendly than, say, the Wardrobe Refashion challenge. And I kind of like seeing what other people come up with for these things. Only a couple weeks left till the fall (eep) so I guess I’d better make up my mind…

Friday Favorites, Episode 25

Wow, I can’t believe I’ve stuck with this long enough to get to 25!

On with the show…

I’m trying to do something a little different this time, and post more things that I like that aren’t tutorials. So on that note, the first item today is a post from Confessions of a Craft Addict. The author makes these absolutely adorable, colorful little girl’s clothes, and in this post she describes her process of how she goes about choosing patterns and colors to go together. (Did I mention she’s also great at mixing prints? And her model is just too cute!)

My Wardrobe Refashion picks of the week: I liked this long green skirt that got turned into a shorter, ribbon-trimmed one. There was also a great boring, logoed T-shirt that got covered over with a really cute owl applique, and a simple but stylish corduroy jacket that got upgraded with a ruffled collar.

BurdaStyle recently hosted a contest to make a cocktail variation of their Malissa dress pattern. I didn’t participate in this minichallenge, partially due to lack of time and partially because I just didn’t like this pattern. It’s the sort of cut that would only be flattering on me if I was very, very pregnant. And maybe not even then. But I’ve been enjoying seeing the variations that have been popping up here and there. As far as blogs go, Mirella’s was a fun one to read about, especially with all the lace detail! But the voting is up now, and all the entries are here. I’m going to have to think about this…. as of now, my favorites are #s 13 (a coral knit-looking one with a cute tie at the neck), 19 (a green one with a criss-cross back), 24 (a plum one with a wide belt), and of course 26 (Mirella’s). Figures, I’d pick all ones that cinch it in…

Not exactly a tutorial, but Recycled Crafts had a post about how steel wool can sharpen pins. I’m kind of tempted to make myself another pincushion now!

And I couldn’t let the week pass without a couple of tutes… first off, there was instructions for a hot pad made from scraps at My Byrd House (which I found through Whip Up). And another one for a tea towel at Sew Take A Hike (love that blog name!) … can’t remember where I found the link originally, sorry!

And now, off to the dunge…er, basement. I’m in the middle of cutting out a new sewing project and just stopped for dinner. After I get some dessert, that is…

pillows, destruction, and amendments

No pictures yet because I ran out of time– will add later today.

Anyway, I spent yesterday on a couple of my sewing goals. Got two pillows made for my friend Tracey, as a birthday/Christmas/condowarming gift. I helped her do some of the painting in her condo just after she bought it, and discovered that her bedroom color scheme fit perfectly with the curtains in my bedroom. So, since one of the things I’m hoping to do this year is use up what I have, I used the leftover fabric from that to make them. So one piece down, oh, I don’t know, probably around 500 to go? (Obviously counting those “too big to throw out, too small to make another piece of clothing and I already own one anyway” pieces, since that’s a huge part of it.) I’m calling it “Weird Fishes” pillows– they’re not really fish, of course, but the pattern kind of has that ocean waves look to it, and she likes Radiohead, so there ya go. 😀

I also finished tearing apart that shirt of mine. So now I need to recut the sheer, pray really hard that organza-like fabric will serge, and hopefully I can get it reassembled today.

Went to a Creative Memories party with my friend Cassie last night. They had neat stuff, to be sure, but as is typical of me, I thought it would be best to spend my money on something I’d get a lot of use out of. (As in, not paper.) So what I ended up splurging on a bit is a Power Layouts Kit –basically, you just lay out the paper and photos and such ahead of time, and then store it in here until ready to use. It’s supposed to make for quicker assembly. I’m hoping this will be more effective than my current practice of storing things in page protectors (and less likely to bend.) Also, I figure it might be helpful for the big themed albums, like my road trip one, because part of my problem with the yet-unfinished Chile one is just sorting through what photos go on what page and such. Cassie and I are also splitting some paper– we decided awhile back to make a scrapbook for Julie, since she went from single to engaged at pretty much warp speed, and had made the comment to me shortly before getting engaged that since it all happened so fast, there were things she’d liked about being single that she kind of missed. (Not that she’d go back by any means.) But anyway, we’re making her a scrapbook to celebrate her single days and all the fun she had– kind of a final tribute before she moves on, and a bachelorette gift of sorts. We were going to just use some stuff we had, but then decided it would be easier this way than trying to coordinate supplies from our stashes. And, if there are gaps to be filled, I’m sure I have something that would fit the color scheme of the paper. (We just got the papers, and not all those title stickers and such.)

And now comes a reason why I decided I need to stick to simple and a few craft goals at a time: I need to amend my scrapbook list. I’m still keeping the original two items, but I’ve decided there’s no way I’m going to have that paper done in time for Tracey’s this weekend, since I wasn’t able to work on it at all this past week. So instead, I’m going to focus on getting journaling written and/or typed up and printed for as many of the pages from my regular scrapbook as possible this week. It looks like I have 21 of those layouts I can put together (though one of them is entirely done except for journaling, because it was from the batch I did at Nicole’s back at the end of December). Several of them are going to be very journaling-heavy… when I first started scrapbooking back in high school (one of my craftier aunts got me in the cousin name-draw for Christmas one year, and guessed rightly that I’d probably enjoy something like that since I liked taking pictures and collaging things) I got into the habit of making “leftovers” pages– stuff like movie tickets, party invitations, things I only had one picture of, whatever random stuff at the end of the school year that just didn’t fit into a regular page that I had. Once I got to college, it started turning into more of a semester thing, since they lined up so nicely with the seasons. I’ve been out of school long enough that I’m now trying to do Jan- Dec albums instead of June-May (so whenever I finish the layouts from last year, it’s going to be a ridiculously huge album since it will cover June ’06 to December ’07. I would have just rearranged the others, but for my first year out of grad school, which was up to May ’06, I had a really nice closing page that, unlike most of my albums, was actually done. So I didn’t want to mess with that.) But anyway, I do have several of these “leftovers” pages from grad school on to put together, and therefore they need a good bit of journaling (especially for things I don’t have pictures from.) I’m hoping that I can get a few pages done today– we’ll see, since I’m also hoping to get my green shirt sewn back together today.


Had a rather productive day. A couple years ago, my mom got two side tables for the basement, which she wanted me to mosaic. The tiles have been glued down for awhile, but I finally got the grouting in today. This is only my second attempt at mosaicing anything, but this one turned out much better. (The first was using beach glass, so it was hard to get them to sit easily, though I still like the way it looks.)

Anyway, pictures…

I also got some work done on the Renaissance dress I’m making for C–I got the bodice lining sewn in and the sleeve points sewn together last night. Today I got it hemmed, and started pinning the trim on the sleeves. So all I have to do is get the trim sewn on, do the eyelets for both it and the underdress, put in the lacing and it’s done! Which is great, since I still have some rather significant work to do on my Narnia swap stuff.

A summer retrospective, part 2

This post is for some of the more recent projects that I didn’t get pictures of until last night. One of these days I’m just going to have to break down and get my own digital camera.

Anyway, this first one is a pair of pajamas from some piratey knit fabric I found on the clearance rack at Joann’s. The skull applique was hand-stitched on the front, and the design was taken directly from the fabric (thus the reason the pirate skull looks oddly happy and friendly). I do have a rather significant amount of this fabric left, so I’m trying to decide what to do with it. Maybe a hoodie… I’m not sure.

This is another pair of pajama shorts– I decided this summer that I was tired of juniors’ sized pajamas that were all far shorter than I feel comfortable walking around the house in, so this was my attempt to fix that. This fabric seriously reminds me of Pepperland. I need a Yellow Submarine shirt to go with.

I get cold insanely easily, and given my propensity to make strappy sleeveless things, a cover-up or two was in order. This is from a textured cotton-type fabric and Simplicity 4334. It was a very easy pattern to make and I really like the fit of the shrug, so I could definitely see myself using it again. Though maybe lengthening the sleeves to a 3/4 would be nice.

I did end up having to not follow the directions exactly, because it would have left the seams for setting in the sleeves exposed in the lining and I didn’t want that. So I had to hand-stitch the lining closed for both of those seams. I also understitched the lining in order to get a cleaner seam.

And I do have a lot of this fabric left over too, but this time there’s an actual reason and not just my bad estimation skills. I just don’t think I’ll get that one done in time that I can actually wear it before it gets cold. 😦

I’d gotten this fabric to make capris last summer (I’ll admit it– I like paisley) but didn’t get around to it until this summer. Typical. Honestly, I haven’t actually worn these yet. For one thing, I can’t seem to find the ribbon I’d gotten to use as the drawstring, though I have a vague idea of where it is (just no time to look because I’m on a sewing deadline.) The other thing is, I’m seriously wondering if it looks too upholstery-ish.

And finally….

Let me tell you the story of this bedspread. It took me somewhere around ten years to finish. Literally. I started it back when I was in high school, cutting the squares from a bunch of my family’s worn-out jeans (you can tell that most of them were from the early ’90s just by the wash!) and starting to sew them together. Until I got bored with sewing squares.

And then I went to college and got sidetracked by everything that goes with it (though I still found plenty of time to sew things that weren’t squares).

One year after finishing my masters’, it’s done and on my bed. Currently serving as a bedspread in order to protect the quilts my mom made me, since my computer is right next to my bed and as a result, I end up eating a lot of meals sitting on my bed while working on things. You have no idea what a relief it is to finally be done with this silly thing!

In other news, I did manage to get one sleeve almost sewn together for C’s Renaissance Faire costume tonight. These sleeves are crazy. And I’m still trying to figure out just how exactly I’m going to get the points to meet, since I didn’t realize when buying the economy trim-by-the-spool that there was actually a reason the pattern called for a specific type of (far more expensive) trim and that was to help finish the seams. So I’m essentially sewing it like the alternate view, but not using the frog closures so it’ll look more like the first.

Also, I’m SO happy that Vincent finally got kicked off of Project Runway. I really think he should have been gone on that first challenge.