Saturday, May 31, 2008

the kids

Taken at the first lacrosse game I watched. It really is football with a weapon. (Or as Faith calls it - hockey in the air.) Other than a sore knee where he got checked with an opponent's stick, we've escaped major injury. So far.

Best toy ever. A large empty box. We liked what Uncle Monkey sent in it too, but this kept the girls busy for hours.

Budding interior designer, Ellie, hard at work on the decor.

Later it became a "tic-tac-toe" store. Unfortunately for Ellie, the neighbor's kids had no money on them to pay her to play a game. She quickly decided that games would be free. (Probably just a one day special.)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

early inheritance

I have plenty of projects to post, but no pictures of them. Lovely spring weather means I'm spending a lot of time outside with the kids or working in the garden. That translates to less time to post and worry about photo shoots.

I did, however, take a picture of this stuff about a week ago when my mother-in-law brought it over.

The case and contents came from her mother who is no longer able to sew. She thought I'd apreciate having it. Complete understatement.

There's a ton of great stuff here - vintage needle packages, a darning egg(with needle marks from years of mending), her tomato pin cushion, an envelope from Lee Wards (Chicago area crafters - remember that place?), even a slew of saved buttons. And the case is as fun as what was in it. Basia(my mother-in-law) said she used to take her things to the beach in it when she was young. I won't be headed to the beach with it, but I'll give it a good home.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

carolyn bag

One of the things I did this weekend when I should have been doing something on my list.

The pattern: "Carolyn", picked up at Hobby Lobby in the clearance aisle about a week ago
The fabric: upholstery remnant from an estate sale
The handles: on hand from another Hobby Lobby clearance aisle adventure
The lining: thrifted pillowcase
The flower: from Amy Butler's Madison Bag pattern/thrifted button

Friday, May 23, 2008

and the winner is...

I had some impartial judges overseeing the contest.

From cutting out the names and comments,

to putting them in the official drawing hat,

and the final drawing of the winning name...

At least I thought they were impartial. The winner is... Susie Sunshine! I think she bribed Trixie. Susie isn't above that, you know.

I really did feel sort of bad that a good friend won (not for her, but for all the other kind people, whom I've yet to meet, that stopped by to throw their name in the hat). Since I'll see Susie in July and I don't feel bad making her wait til I put together another batch of these for birthday gifts, I decided to draw another name.

And the second winner is... Julia! Julia, please contact me via my gmail address and give me your information. Congratulations!

Have a great holiday weekend everyone!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

procrastination or memory lapse?

I found this bracelet, completely strung, in my beading supplies when I went looking for my pliers earlier this week. It still had the little clamps on it and I discovered it only needed to have the wires crimped near the clasp. (The clamps were keeping it from falling apart before it got crimped.)

Why on earth would I have not finished it it? It took all of 5 seconds to do. I can't even remember putting it in there, though I vaguely remember putting it together. The smaller painted beads were bought on our first adoption trip to China and have the double happiness character on them.

No sense wondering at this point. I'll just enjoy wearing it. Finally.

Also, I didn't really put a time on the contest deadline. So, if you haven't entered, you have until my children arrive home from school tomorrow - 3:00pm Chicago time. I'll try to post the winner later that night.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

linen blouse

No time for creative titles. I have ten minutes to post before picking up the kids.

This is from the same pattern as the crabby pants. A rare occurence of actually using the pattern and fabric I bought for it within the same season it should be worn. The top is VERY loose fitting. More so than I would have liked in the shoulders, but I'm wearing it now and it's not bothering me. We'll see how it washes up. (I did prewash and dry the fabric, but it'll be interesting to see how it all lays fresh out of the dryer, as I do not iron linen. What's the point?)

What drew me to the pattern was the detailing on the front hem. Very Flax or Eileen Fisher.

And I can tell you again how much I love my serger. The inside makes me as happy as the outside with that machine. This last picture is a truer representation of the color - at least on my computer.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

melissa's skirt

Look what one of my students did!! This past Saturday I taught a class on the Little Hip Skirts pattern by Favorite Things. I had a great group of women, but Melissa wins the prize for finishing her homework first (and sending me a picture of it!).

Check out that edgestitching, people! You've done me proud, Melissa.

You have no idea how this thrills me. Every class I've taught, I've carried my camera to class, but I either forget to take photos because I'm so busy or the projects aren't completed by the end of class. To know that someone went home and starting applying what they learned right away is wonderful. Thanks for letting me share this Melissa!

Monday, May 19, 2008

little miss crabbypants

My children could have told you that was true, but now I've made it official.

The students in my class this past Saturday inspired me. (They were awesome and got through so much of their projects during class.) I decided it was time to get out some of the linen I've stashed and make clothes that I could actually wear during the current season. Usually I buy the fabric and pattern, watch it sit for a few months, and then finally put it away when I realize that if I do make it at that point, I'll have only a few weeks to wear it before the seasons change.

So pulling out this embroidered linen that I got for a song at a Joann's clearance sale ($1 or $2/yd) and actually turning it into something in two days was a small miracle. I live in cropped linen pants all summer. Very easy pattern to use - Vogue 7883. In fact, I'm nearly finished with the top that also comes in the pattern (being made in an entirely different color - not to be worn with the pants). It has some side seam pockets that are simple to put in. And don't let that "two days to sew it" make it seem hard. I never cut out a pattern and sew it in the same day. That's why it took two days. (I HATE cutting out patterns and fabric so I tend to cut out a bunch all in one evening and set them aside in piles for later sewing.)

Looking forward to wearing them in Maine very soon.

If you haven't entered the contest from last Friday,scroll down and leave a comment on that post. You have til this Friday at midnight to enter. The kids will pull a winning name over the weekend.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

101 and a giveaway

After a few calculations I figured out that yesterday was my 100th craft related post(I'm not counting the weekend pictures of the kids for the relatives, Trixie's injury or my resolution posts - which aren't going too well anyway).

In true craft blog fashion, I have a giveaway for you.

The past two days I've been putting together three colored pencil rolls for birthday parties that Ellie's attending this weekend. The pattern is from Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts, though I've altered it slightly to hold a 12 pencil set. The fabrics are all from my stash which makes me very happy.

The book calls for home dec fabric or linen on the exterior, but I had a ton of corduroy on hand. It's sturdy enough for the job, but wasn't so easy to push out those corners on the bottom(there are 5 layers of fabric in those spots). The twill tape is from the Martha Stewart craft line at Michaels.

My new beloved, perle cotton, was used to stitch the recipient's initial in the corner. (Monograms from Sublime Stitching.)
There are only two pencil rolls in the picture because I'm waiting to find out what initial to put on the third. If you're interested in throwing your name in the hat for the last one, just leave me a comment with what initial and color you'd like embroidered on it. I'll mail overseas as well, so anyone is welcome to enter. One of the kids will pull the winning name next Friday.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

my new favorite thing

Where has perle cotton embroidery floss been all my life? I've seen it in the stores, but never bothered with it because I used the regular six strand floss for everything. I'm a fool. This stuff is great. It's what I used to embroider some purchased overalls for Ellie.

The designs are all from TheWee Wonderful's Tulip Fairy embroidery pattern. They each fit perfectly on various parts of the outfit. I didn't actually use the Tulip Fairy design though. Too big for this project.

Ellie's favorite part - a cat, of course.

The bib could have used a larger design, I suppose, but overall I think they turned out pretty cute.

For those who want to know - I used a simple backstitch on all of the designs(the perle cotton creates a nice thick line with that stitch) with a few french knots for eyes(just once around the needle for those). On some of the designs I was able to stitch inside the pocket to hide the work, but on a lot of it, the stitches had to go through all the layers. Use a very sharp needle. And watch your fingers...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

common threads

Okay, I lied. I said I'd post about some embroidery I got done over the weekend, but then the mail arrived on Monday. In it was a package from Rebekah. I figure that means I can tell you all about an exciting new project.

This year I'll be part of a virtual quilting bee called Common Threads. The link will take you to our blog introducing the participants and showing the fabric and ideas sent for round 1 by Rebekah.

Last night I posted my introduction with a few pictures of some quilts I've made over the past few years. I don't think I've put the first two up here yet. After rereading that post today, I vow never to write again while battling a headache. Considering how the writing part of this stuff is my least favorite, it rambles horribly.

Enough for now, head on over and check out the other amazing women who are involved.

Embroidery tomorrow, I promise.

Monday, May 12, 2008


I did get out the embroidery materials this weekend. The plan was simple - turn this blouse I got on sale last fall into something a little more interesting. I wanted to do some covered buttons with a little embroidery on them like these little beauties from Craftlog.

If you look at the post on craftlog, she says it was hard to make the circles perfect and then center them on the blanks. She was right. (Though a little trick I learned - spraying the back of the fabric with basting spray - helps greatly.) I wound up making the embroidered circles too small at first, but didn't see that until they were all put together. That meant to alter the scale of them I had to embroider the outer ring when they were finished. Not so easy. Still, I was happy with the results. Pretty cute, huh?

You might notice that I took that picture without the placket of the blouse closed. There's a good reason for that. The freaking buttons are too big for the buttonholes! Gah. I chose covered button blanks that were the same diameter as the originals on the blouse, but didn't take into account that the covered buttons are much thicker than the generic ones. Much as I tried, there is NO WAY they are going through the buttonholes. So, back to the start with smaller buttons. Or perhaps I'll just look through my button jars for something I don't have to make...

Perhaps if I'd used this little find I wouldn't be in this mess. It's not just a button measure, it's been officially adopted by the National Button Society. Found it this weekend at a local antique shop along with some great vintage fabric and the button pictured. (That one won't fit through those buttonholes either.)

Tomorrow I'll post the project that did work.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

the kids

Happy Mother's Day

Thursday, May 8, 2008

and a top to match

Yet another idea from the same yo-yo book. The best part - the bouquet hides a small stain. I think I'm done with yo-yos for a bit. On to the next projects - my embroidery hoops have been calling to me.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

yo yo capris

What do you do when your kid continues to grow taller, but not wider? I'm hoping to get another season or two of wear out of Ellie's jeans by turning them into capris. This idea came from the same book as the yo yo tank top. I'm still working on the coordinating shirt embellishments.

There's a pile of fabric waiting to be cut for several projects in my sewing room, but the weather is so nice that I had to get started on some other projects this weekend. I'm guessing you don't care to see pictures of a large bag of weeds that got pulled or a freshly painted, brown mudroom floor.

Friday, May 2, 2008

date night

So I found a dress that I love for some events this spring. I even have several pieces of jewelry that work with it. This necklace, found with blackbird, Susie, Jennifer and Carol, is my favorite. What I didn't have was a good evening bag to coordinate with it all. (Lugging a giant Vera Bradley tote probably won't cut it for a wedding...)

Bend the Rules Sewing by Amy Karol came to my rescue. This sewed up in under an hour and that includes the fabric selection, cutting, pressing, etc. Good thing too, because I needed it for that night. It's made of vintage upholstery fabric that I bought at an estate sale. I love the contrast of fabrics that's shown in the book, but I was pressed for time and wanted something simple, so I lined it in the same pattern. (Not to mention the fact that I'm trying to use what I have as much as humanly possible to whittle down the stash a bit.) The button is vintage and was thrifted too.

In fact, I think I thrifted the elastic as well. That was the only place I got stumped for a bit. I only had white and black elastic on hand. On a whim I got out my sharpie markers and colored the elastic. It worked. I have no idea if the dyes in marker will deteriorate the elastic over time, but for now, it'll do.

I did change the size slightly making the clutch wider to accomodate my wallet. Since I was using all the same fabric I also cut the pieces as two long rectangles that I folded in half and sewed up the sides eliminating the bottom seam.

There's a lot of vintage upholstery fabric in my stash. I see plenty more of these in my future. Now I need to get out more.