Read like an Egyptian

First of all, thanks for all of the compliments on my dress so far! I finished it last night, but I’m not going to show it yet. I’ve found that I still have some work to do in order to get my dummy tweaked to my measurements–it seems to be a bit broader in the back than I am at the moment, and the dress doesn’t really fit it as well as me so it’s hard to get good pictures. And it’s way too dark to get a decent picture on myself– the lighting in here is just awful for that sort of thing. So I’m going to show my somewhat spontaneous afternoon/evening project instead.

Years ago, I saw a pillow similar to this in one of my mom’s catalogs, and thought it was such a clever idea–a pillow to prop one’s book up at the perfect angle! I’ve had the picture clipped in my inspiration notebook that I occasionally consult for years, since I was having a serious case of both DIY snobbery (i.e. “I can totally make that”) and my usual cheapskate ways (“You want me to pay $30 for a pillow? That’s ___ movie tickets/books/yards of fabric that I can get on sale/albums/etc.”) But I never quite got to it.

It was actually knitting that brought it to mind again– I’ve gotten to the point of the wrap where I’m getting bored with the repetitive nature of it and just want to get it done so I can move on to something else. So in order to keep my brain busy, I was experimenting the other day with reading at the same time. Slowed me down on both, but it worked–albeit rather awkwardly, since I was sitting here in my computer chair using my knee to keep my book pinned between my leg and the little pull-out board that my keyboard sits on. (Yes, I know that this would have been a lot easier if I’d been using my Kindle at the time, but I was already reading the paperback.) So attempting to copy this book pillow, finally, seemed like a good solution.

And here’s the results!

 I didn’t entirely make this up– I got the idea for the base from this tutorial on Instructables. But I didn’t really care for the more domed top that just using two squares made, so I went for cutting four triangles for the top instead. (Projects like this make it great to have a quilter mother, because she had a perfectly-sized equilateral triangle-shaped ruler!) And then I had to do some improvising with the base because my math was off and I had to add strips, and then figure out how to get the corners to work from there…so it’s not as neat a job as I could have done, but I’m still pretty proud of it.

Isn’t this fabric just so fun? I got it as a stocking stuffer a few Christmases ago– kind of an inside joke from my mom, because we both enjoy the now-defunct show Stargate SG-1, in which the race of evil aliens is based largely on Egyptian mythology.  I know it’s kind of geeky of me, but I just couldn’t resist using it for a pyramid! (Plus then it helps my stashbusting efforts– I used nearly the entire yard, and just have a rather oddly-shaped smallish piece left. So into the scrap bin it goes.)

I did make one small modification to the original design–I added a piece of elastic that goes around 3 sides of the pyramid to help hold the book open. It’s not working quite as well as I’d hoped with my current read– I’ve been re-reading all of my Tolkien books to follow along with this podcasted college class, which has been a lot of fun. Of course, all of my Lord of the Rings books have been read through and carried around in my bookbag and/or purse quite a few times, so the spines are all creased up (to the point where I may start losing pages, in some cases!)

Works like a charm on my less-battered books, though. What a relief.

It seems like it will support the Kindle quite nicely, too. (This fabric print seems to be the perfect camouflage for the skin I have on it!)

I don’t know if I’ll actually use it, but the original design had a bookmark attached from the top. So I went ahead and did the same. To weigh it down some, I added a few beads to the end. (The lower two are recycled from an earring I never wore, and the glass one was a random one from the stash.) The bookmark is a little impractical at the moment, honestly, because it’s way too long. So I may shorten it up at some point, either by removing and then re-attaching the beads further up, or just taking the lazy way out and tying a loop in the ribbon at the top.

The timing of this was probably very good, actually. I doubt I’ll be able to do much, if any, sewing this week.It seems that everything decided to pile on this one week– between my two additional jobs that I have to supplement my flute teaching, I have to work the next 6 days, including nearly the entire day on Saturday and a band competition on Friday. Plus a family wedding. Plus all of my usual flute teaching. Plus I’m running out of food in the freezer to eat–the only way I can snag relatively healthy food between lessons, generally–so I’m actually skipping my usual Monday night rock climbing in order to cook a meal and get other necessary things done around here. Like put away the three loads of laundry that I washed today. (Including the one that I just remembered while typing this that I forgot to put in the dryer. Drat.) So yeah–I don’t have anything new cut out yet, so unless I can fit a reconstruction in there, sewing’s not happening.

Long story short, I may be quiet here for awhile, since any craftiness that’s going to happen will most likely be knitting that wrap. Or distracting myself from knitting the wrap via books. Gotta test this pillow out somehow, right?

Now why didn’t I do this a year ago?

As it turns out, I had a rather crafty Thanksgiving weekend. My family has the same routine every year–on Thursday, we go to my dad’s parents, and on Saturday we go to my mom’s parents. My dad’s side is a lot smaller/quieter, so I brought a box of beads and such with me and spent most of the non-eating time making earrings for the craft fair. My original plan was to do the same yesterday, but we also have a yearly tradition of decorating gingerbread houses (though now that the cousins are basically all adults, it’s just the girls that do it) and my gingerbread house was, shall we say, a little involved. So I did that the whole time instead. As for Friday, my friend Nicole came over and we had a pillow-making party! She’s making some as gifts for her nieces and nephew, and I’ve had some stuff sitting around for well over a year to make some for my ongoing room decorating project. We both had a rather productive afternoon…and I have to say that after that jacket, it was SO good to have a quick project!

So here’s my finished results. The green is a kind of faux silk-looking weave, and the velvet is my salvage from that total fail of a wrap that I was planning on wearing to my brother’s wedding last fall. After all, hand-dyed silk velvet is way too yummy to just throw out. (Even if it did turn out to be a huge pain to cut out, since it kept shifting every which way.)

I’m happy with the trim on it, too–that was leftover from a minor shirt embellishment/refashion from a couple of years ago. Adds a little more interest to the fabric. (And just ignore the lumpy look of the bolster pillow– I was having trouble getting it to stuff evenly.)

I know the velvet in particular is not going to stay this pristine-looking–but I don’t believe in pillows for decoration only, and fully plan on using them to shove under my head while I’m reading and such. And I think it’ll be cool to see how it changes as it crushes.

I also ended up getting an early Christmas present from my parents…

Meet Donna 2.0! The old one served me well, but it did have its limits. And fell over a lot, since the base was rather unstable. And was constantly tilting to one side. So since a big overall goal for my sewing these days is improving my fitting skills, having one that stays still is a plus. And I think this one will be a little nicer to pin into than duct tape! I’m just getting started on figuring out the measurements– I know I’m going to have to do some padding for sure, because Donna’s a good bit flatter in certain areas than I am! But hopefully I can have all that sorted by the end of the month.

In the meantime, I started the new jeans muslin tonight. And I have the backs of play capes embroidered and ready to go. And craft fair jewelry, of course. So hopefully, despite having a much fuller workload this week than last, I’ll find some time for crafting!

Friday Favorites, Episode 42

Going to be a long one this time, since I have stuff saved from the last two weeks. So in no particular order…

Ok, that’s it for today… my big project for today, since my time of not working on Fridays is probably over (starting back at the garden center tomorrow), was experimenting with henna to dye my hair. And my time for letting it sit is getting close to done, so I have to go wash mud out of my hair. And then maybe I can go sew!

Shirt and scrapbook progress

C and I finished almost the entire scrapbook yesterday! It’s a total of 58 pages, and we only have 3 left to go (movie quotes and song lyrics that we weren’t able to get written out in advance.) I also got the scrapbook covered in fabric, and I’m trying out this snaplock system that’s supposed to be more secure for large scrapbooks than those awful posts. If it works, I’m probably going to redo at least half of my scrapbooks with this. (Especially the one from college that I recently discovered that the cover fell off of because the posts tore out of it!) So far, so good, but I don’t quite trust their adhesive (since the fabric cover added a tiny bit of extra thickness that made it pop off a couple times yesterday) so I think I’m going to glue it in securely when all is said and done. There will be pictures, but not yet.

I can, however, show pictures of these.

These two pillows (with pillowcases over top) were made this afternoon– see the last post for why. They came together really fast, actually, despite being two pillows and removable cases. My mom generously offered to help since I was on a time crunch (was given the fabric yesterday morning, but since C and T were over pretty much all day, and C and I spent at least 10 hours putting that album together–I’m really not exaggerating–I just didn’t get to it at all then). So I cut out the pillows and she sewed them together and stuffed them while I cut out the pillowcases. I also did the handsewing on the pillows. I was really pleased with the cases, actually, though I’m really glad I have the serger now because I was able to make the insides of them all nice and professional-looking. So I don’t have to feel bad about giving it to someone!
Because of Mom’s help, I also had time to do a little bit on the Doolittle blouse, so this is how it is so far:
I really hope the armholes are going to be ok. It seemed fine when I was trying it on in front of the mirror to get the placement for the gathering and to make sure the sides fit, but they look like they’re angled really oddly on the dummy! But this is the top of the front so far….
…and the back. Which I had to basically double the width of the dart I’d already sewn in there. The front isn’t completely done yet– I’ll still need to sew off the underneath edge once I figure out exactly where the buttons should be placed. I also did get the band for the waistband ready to sew on, but had to stop to eat dinner. And now I’d better get the pillows packed up for that Bible study!