Wednesday, December 31, 2008

new year, new room

Ellie's last gift on Christmas morning was a card from her dad and me. Inside it said simply, "Go look in the guest room. Merry Christmas! Love Mom and Dad".

This is what she saw:

The view from the door. Those of you who've stayed here as guests will remember how much of the room that double sized bed took. I'm amazed at the space in here with just a twin. Since Carol convinced me that lowered expectations were the key to a happy holiday, I abandoned the idea of sewing a quilt in time for Christmas and bought bedding from the Shabby Chic line at Target. Carol is a wise woman.

The bed was handed down to us from a quilting friend (I posted it a few months ago). It was actually two headboards. I painted them pink and raised the one used as a headboard slightly more than the footboard.

The bookcase is one of two that Chris' grandfather made for him and his brother. The maple vanity and dresser also belonged to those grandparents and date to the early 40's. The vanity was Basia's when she was Ellie's age. The chair is from IKEA, was white and used to be in my room. It's pink to match the bed and got a new covered seat from an extra set of sheets that coordinate with the bedding.

This is the best picture I could get of the valance. I made it out of the same set of sheets from the bedding. Not happy with it at all. I might try adding another layer of white below it - sort of a valance petticoat - to see if that helps. If not, I'll be working on an alternate idea over the next few months. There's a scalloped hem at the edge to mimic the shape of the bedside lampshade.

The cedar chest was given to us by Basia's cousin. It holds the sofa slipcovers. Since there's nowhere else in the house it will fit, Ellie gets to live with them.

The beads hanging in the middle of the photos are attached to a fan pull. They don't look so odd when you're in the room, but they seem to take center stage in these photos.

Ellie's view of the parasols before she turns out her light at bedtime.

More detail shots below.

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room details

A varied collection of needlwork. Most were thrifted (the pink one is from Carol). The Beatrix Potter themed sampler was stitched by my mother for Ellie after her adoption. (Sorry, the paper is on the glass to hide our last name.)

The girl in the kimono is from my childhood. My grandparents brought it back for me from Japan in the late 60's or early 70's. There's a matching girl in a blue kimono that belonged to my sister and they were nearly hung side by side over the headboard, but I just didn't like how it looked. The more I thought about it, I decided Trixie should keep one in her room just like Cindy and I did. The other shadow box is Ellie's footprint from the time she learned to walk. The angel was a gift from my mother and has a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt on it. (Ellie was named after her.) I realized as I was taking photos that I've yet to switch out the pictures in the frames on the dresser. For now she gets to look at a picture of her brother as an infant and a former pet of mine. The oval frame holds one of her referral pictures from China.

I'm hoping this becomes one of her favorite parts of the room. She finally has a place to play with her dolls that is out of the way and that Trixie can't bother(in theory anyway). The awesome kid gloves came in a package from Carol. Also on the sewing to do list is a cushion/cover for the chest so the finish doesn't get too scratched up. I'm hoping it'll look like a window seat when it's done.

One of my favorite things in the room - a rug from Chris' grandmother and grandfather. This also dates to the early 40's and used to be in their dining room when Basia was growing up. We used it for a time in the old house before converting the room it was in to Glenn's bedroom. I can't believe how well if fits this room.

Finally, to answer blackbird's question - How did we keep this a secret? The guest room has a lock on it, so that helped a lot. I just had to remember to use it even when I was in there. Glenn was also sworn to secrecy as he helped me move things and saw the place in process. She did see me painting things, but I told her I was doing the work for a friend who wasn't very crafty. (Sorry Pam, she totally believed me when I said it was you who couldn't paint.) I also told her that Basia wanted the large bed back, but Ellie never asked why, which is unusual for her. She thought our moving the computer out of the guest room and into our bedroom was to make it easier for us to use. When I told her she couldn't go in there even with me because I had presents that needed to be wrapped in the room she totally bought it. In other words, I lied, lied, lied.

It was all worth it, she loves the room.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

gifts for the kids

It's getting harder and harder to come up with things I can sew for Glenn. This was the only last minute thing I made this year, mainly because the idea didn't come to me until a couple of days before Christmas, but it went together quickly. Basically, it's a bedside organizer that attaches to the upper rail of his loft. (You can see bits of his unmade bed in the background.)

The main pocket is large enough for a magazine or book. The two gusseted pockets are meant for his glasses and nintendo DS. The plaid pocket on top was made by sewing two strips of ribbon together to be deep enough to hold his ipod. It passed the likability test with him. We'll see if it keeps his stuff any more organized. I won't hold my breath.

Trixie got an apron that matches this one. I realized that I'd cut the pieces for both over 4 years ago. I remembered thinking that it would be big on Ellie, but I should size ahead to give me time to make it. And now it belongs to her little sister. (Don't tell.)

It came in handy for her newest interest - washing dishes.

She also got a set of her own puppy lunch napkins from some scraps I had. There's been more than one battle over the cat ones I made for Ellie.

I'm hoping to have all the artwork hung in Ellie's room tomorrow so I can take pictures and post her big gift.

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Monday, December 29, 2008

paper, plastic or cloth?

I can finally post some gifts I made for the holidays. (The flu has struck our household, so I'm a little behind on posting.)
My sisters and brother-in-law each got two cloth grocery sacks. The fabrics all came out of the stash. The green is estate sale upholstery fabric. Nice and sturdy.
Pears for Heather.
Pomegranates for Cindy.

Something a little more masculine for Michael.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

merry christmas

from our

to yours


and their mom.

(Thanks to Carol for the garland, grandma and Ellie for the gingerbread house, and Jan for the darling gingerbread people.)

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

mittens for my kittens

I'm knee deep in preparations around here. Not much to post that won't spoil a surprise, so here's something I made a few months ago. I finally reclaimed them from Ellie to take a picture. The ground in dirt is hidden on the underside.
They were made from a pattern I got at that infamous garage sale. The pattern calls for a country patchwork look (it dated from the mid-80's so I'm sure you can visualize it), but I skipped the whole piecing part of the project and just used whole fabric for all the parts. They're lined in flannel. Perfect for those cold fall mornings when she just needs a fleece jacket, but by the time school is out all her outerwear is stuffed in the backpack. Twill tape holds them in place through her sleeves.
I'll be posting more after the holiday when I can put some gifts up here as well as the big reveal (Ellie's new room that she's getting tomorrow).
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Sunday, December 21, 2008

the kids

Big week around here:

New glasses

Lost tooth

A visit from the big guy

Bet you didn't know Santa likes to color

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Friday, December 19, 2008

bubble dress

It seems odd to post a spring dress with so much snow on the ground. If you aren't big on the cold, perhaps it will help you think of warm weather.
The pattern is from Oliver & S. I'll be teaching it this spring at the shop. This is a great clothing pattern if you don't have a serger - all the raw edges are hidden inside the lining so you don't have to overlock them (and making something with a lining is NOT hard, I swear).

I can't wait for Trixie to wear it as soon as we get to take the models home.

Those scallops make me smile.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

thrifty thursday

Not sure I can call this first find thrifty, but I love it. A quilting friend called me last Friday morning to see if I was up for a quick trip to an estate sale that featured toy sewing machines and some vintage sewing supplies. Um... yes.
This was my favorite of the toy machines - it's red! Surprisingly, it was also the least expensive. (There was a darling pink one with the original box, but the price was shocking - to me anyway. Too expensive to sit on a shelf in Ellie's new room.)
These were more my speed for thrifting. Cute little accessories. That wheel is thread. I've never seen it sold like that. I bought the tiny spools thinking that eventually they might look cute with Ellie's doll stuff.

My friend pointed out these darners in shapes I've not seen before. The spring intrigued me. It's there to hold a piece taught and in place while being darned. The other has a partial sticker from the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago. I have a great pair of salt and pepper shakers that Chris' grandfather bought his grandmother when they were dating. Actually, I think courting is the more appropriate word.

This is a little boxed set of sewing books with a copyright from the late 20's. However, they're in such good shape that I can't help but wonder if they're reproductions (though I could find no reprint date on them anywhere). The slipcase totally drew me in. Even with my doubts, the price was low enough that I'd have bought them even if I knew they weren't old.

I'm off to try and chip away at my Christmas list. I have a feeling I'll be letting go of a lot of projects in the following week.
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

kimono pjs and cutie booties

More models to share with you.

This one is the kimono pj's and cutie booties from Little Stitches for Little Ones by Amy Butler. Cute book with great projects, but most are relevant only for kids under 12 months.

I think there's a possibility I could redraft this pattern in a larger size to fit Trixie. Goes together quickly if you use a bias tape maker. (The 1"/25mm size was used for the trim on the top.) She also gives good instructions on how to make your own bias tape in the general instructions. Easy to follow if you've never done it before.

All the bias trim was sewn on using an edgestitching foot (Bernina #10). I sew it to the wrong side first so I can do the final stitching on the front where I want it to look perfect. (Yes, you can try to just sandwich the fabric in the bias and sew it in one pass, but I've yet to do this without slipping off at some point and it looks ghastly. Then it's a pain to correct. By the time I've ripped it out and fixed the problem I could have done it the "right" way and not been frustrated.)

I finished these up and just sat and thought about how teeny the kids' feet used to be.

They look a bit harder than they actually are to construct. You just have to sew through a lot of layers and the cutting of all the pieces for this takes as long as the sewing. I think I've figured out a few tricks for making the hand sewing of the lining's sole a bit easier for when I teach it.

I almost want to make a pair I can just stare at here at home.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

quilted potholders

I didn't get a chance to post this before the laptop went kaput.

A little shot of my corner at the shop's holiday open house. Wish that cute little cabinet was mine.

I made some models for 101 Fun to Quilt Potholders out of the new Mary Englebreit fabric line.

Quick. Easy. Good way to use those decorative stitches on your machine.

The little tin dishes are mine. I finally let the girls start playing with them.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

the kids

First snow of the season.

Ready to head to Aunt Cindy's for Thanksgiving. Need to make sure those dresses get worn enough.

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