Friday, January 29, 2010


you may experience fat quarter envy from this post. I'm sorry. You can cure it here.

I was so excited to buy this set. I loooooooooove Denyse Schmidt's Hope Valley. I can just see a beautiful circle quilt from this, with lots of white in between. If I ever get around to making a quilt. And I will! I will!

I will.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


...with the help of some YouTube videos. Thanks, Katie!

I have a beginners crochet how-to book, and I'm sure it is a great book, with lots of diagrams, but it might as well be in Martian. I cannot seem to get a thing from it. I look and I looooook and I read and read over again. And I'm still confused. But I can learn a lot in a short time from Aunt Esther.

Goodness. What did we do before YouTube?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Simplicity 3835 Built By You

The duvet cover dress test run.
The funny look on my face is apparently because I can't aim and smile at the same time.

I sewed this Wendy Mullin pattern over the weekend for myself. This is a muslin, for all intents and purposes, even though it is not sewn in muslin. I used a thrifted duvet cover I had on hand in hopes that I would turn out something wearable in the first round.



As a reference, I usually wear about a size 8 in ready-made dresses. I sewed the pattern size 12, and it is a tiny bit snug in some places. I think I'll try the 14 next and see if there is a bit more wiggle room. I don't want it to be a loose dress, I do like the slim line of it. Maybe what I need to do instead next time is let out the shoulders some and shorten the waist a bit. I'm definitely sewing this again, in 'real' fabric.

detail of yoke. no hook sewn on the back yet. forgot that part.

It was super simple to put together. Very few pattern pieces to cut out. One thing I will say is the sleeve cuffs are cut kinda tight. I don't have hammy arms, and the cuffs are still snug, even though I had advance warning from a helpful pattern reviewer and lessened the seam allowance to a quarter inch at the cuffs to compensate.

You can see I made a mistake including the contrast border. I knew it wouldn't work well, so why did I do it? I thought I'd be all clever and incorporate it in the sleeves and hem. Well, of course I knew it was not a straight hem and that this might come out looking a bit wonky, and I was absolutely right. Even though I did my best to match up the border between the front and back, I wasn't even close, as you can see. So between the dumb looking curvature and the mismatched hem, I'm going to:

  1. Cut off the border on the sleeves and add cuffs in the paisley.
  2. Add the pockets. I skipped these to save time, but now I think I want them.
  3. Cut off the hem to make it a tunic instead of a dress

And when I have done those things, I'll wear it. I just saw on Angry Chicken that Wendy is releasing a new Sew U book for dresses. Can't wait!

Friday, January 22, 2010


A big keesh for you for Valentine's Day. Get the free card and gift tags here. Enjoy!

P.S. Here's the card from last year too.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

help for haiti

Lots of us are feeling overcome and helpless in the face of the Haitian disaster. If you are looking for something you can do from your own small space, there are so many options available.

Here's a list from Fox News of reputable charities that are accepting donations.

Here is the etsy shop of Craft Hope, where all items are donated and all proceeds go to an organization called Doctors Without Borders, which you can read more about here. They've already raised $10,000! I've offered to donate some of my patterns, but they are so crazy busy with donations they can hardly get them all listed. Amazing.

Hug your kids close. Give thanks. Pray, support, donate, spread the word.

Postscript: blogger Molly says there is another collaborative etsy shop, Hearts for Haiti, which is also raising money for Doctors Without Borders, last tally was $7000+! Go check it out too.

Monday, January 18, 2010


look at the outfits, ignore the squalor

There's been a lot of fashion apathy around here in the last few months. I mean, I know I should always put more emphasis on my inward beauty and not so much on the outward, but there's a lot to be said for getting out of the pajamas and combing the hair every once in a while. My husband certainly appreciates it.

So to keep myself a bit more accountable in the Showered And Dressed Dept. I joined the bloganistas group I mentioned in the last post. If you are a blogger and you have a wardrobe you'd like to share, by all means, join up. I need all the help I can get.

Oh, yeah, I just ordered this Built By Wendy pattern. I'm looking forward to trying a tunic or dress for myself from it!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

corduroy smock

I'd been itching to make another one of these from my Girls Style Book. I had this corduroy laying around with nothing better to do, so now it is a little smock. It wasn't quite enough fabric to make the pattern, so I had to cheat and piece the bias tape and also the pockets are turned wrong on the grain. That won't bother me too much. I'm just glad to get something practical made for the girls. They are both growing out of all their clothes.

I'm thinking long sleeve shirt layered underneath, and then paired with leggings (or a skirt and tights) with boots would be a cute look. Actually, I'd really like to make myself something along these lines (minus the ruffles of course). Seen any likely patterns? Better yet, made any? That look great on you despite the fact you are not a waif or a supermodel? Do share. I'm really trying to update my look after paging through this fashion forward flickr group of blogsters. Robyn and I have been emailing each other links to all kinds of boots. I think I could maybe do a cardi-tunic-legging-boots combo if I had the right tunic. But I digress...

Here's one of these little sweet Variation pendants with the smock. I hung them on colored ball chains I picked up on etsy and placed them inside our advent calendar at Christmas. The girls really loved them.

I was really thinking the smock might need a little something else. Like a little friend to go in the pocket? Or maybe just some Helen Dardik inspired embroidery on the pocket instead. Or leave well enough alone?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

thank you, Robyn

Robyn just posted about the sweet things she both made and purchased for my family for Christmas. Are we lucky or what? Yes we is.

I had to laugh when we got the package. I had sent their package off to them about the same time, and it turned out we both did the mostly the same things for each other this year, handmade ornaments, handmade toys, gourmet eatables, and good kid books. Go see what we got.

Monday, January 11, 2010

snowboard diorama

I was looking for a good way to present my brother-in-law Robby's birthday money. Since the wants and desires of the men in my life are as transparent as mud, cash is the usual default birthday gift. So my challenge is to gift it in a way that seems more thoughtful than just handing him a grubby wad of bills.

Turns out he is taking a birthday trip to Breckenridge this month with his lovely wife, Tiffany, so money seemed especially helpful. He is a big snowboarder, so this is what I came up with.

The girls and I had already made the ornament earlier, so I just gave the little snowboarder ornament a snowy hill to jump and some trees to avoid. Don't look too hard at it. I threw it together in like 20 minutes before we walked out the door because I'm such a great manager of my time. ahem.

It is made inside a cardboard gift box, so I just secured everything down and put the lid on it, then wrapped it like a regular gift. Had time allowed I probably would have added some wispy clouds and perhaps some sparkle to the trees. Can you just imagine that stuff in for me? Thanks.

Friday, January 8, 2010

a partridge and a pear

**This design is now available as a PDF pattern!**

Carrying on the (short) parade of handmade gifts: I made these two wool felt ornaments for my bosom friend, Robyn.

My seven year old Thing 1 was very taken with the whole idea. I showed her the ornaments and she said "Oh, oh! Like the song." Counting exaggeratedly on fingers, "You have a partridge, then the pear and then you put it on the Christmas TREE. So the Christmas tree is the pear tree. Is that it?"

Yeah. I have to admit, I didn't think of that. I just knew I'd tried to make a pear tree ornament last year that was too complicated and super ugly, so this year I dumbed it down to just the pear.

I also ended up making a second pair (haha) of them for my sister, Leigh. I say for my sister, which is really how it is, but it was supposedly a 'family' gift. We drew names for families this year instead of individuals, and it was decided we'd all do handmade. So Leigh saw these ornaments under construction at Thanksgiving and instantly demanded to have a pair just like them for their family's handmade Christmas gift.

I said, 'Are you sure you want to speak for your whole family, they might not--"

"Yes." Her steely look cut off any further discussion.

So, here they are. They are almost but not exactly like the ones for Robyn. I can't seem to make anything EXACTLY alike twice in a row. That's boring. I also threw in some handmade candy so that the rest of her family got some enjoyment from 'their' gift. *wink* Love you, Leigh.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Asher's Mikey

"How YOU doin'?"

This is the Mikey monkey I made for smiley baby Asher's Christmas gift. He got to hang out some with Katy before I boxed him up. Asher's too young to appreciate him now, but maybe his older brother and sister can enjoy Mikey until Asher is old enough to suggest "Mine! Mine!".

And here he is in his pirate get up, ready to pillage bananas and swing from the main mast.

He's very similar to the Mikey I made for Tucker, I think the only difference is the eye, tie and hat colors. More handmade gifting to come. I have to string this out you know, since I didn't get to make much this year.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

I wanna live on Pandora

I'm back! Now all I gotta do is unpack three people's luggage, put away all the Christmas decorations and do ten loads of laundry. Think I'll watch a few episodes of Gilmore Girls that I DVRd and drink some decaf instead. Under a quilt. By the fire. Have you seen how cold it is here?

Lemme just tell you. You must see Avatar. I am in love with those blue people, I tell you. Awesomely awesome movie. MAN it was some kind of good movie. And I got to wear 3D glasses too, always a glamorous fashion choice. But I love the fantasy/sci fi genre, so some of you may think I'm cracked if you see it. Robyn is really horrified that I loved Waterworld and The Fifth Element. But I am unashamed to say that I did. Do.

It is rare for me to see a movie in the theatre, and more rare to see two in one weekend, and a rare bird indeed to see two truly great ones, but I also took in Sherlock Holmes and believe it or not (after the whole Waterworld thing) it was also FABULOUS. So. Good. Seriously. I was clenched the whole time. If you are not into sci fi then try on some old school detective good vs. evil. And I am so relieved to finally figure out where I've seen the actress that plays Dr. Watson's fiance, Mary. She's the same chick who plays Mr. Bingley's snitty sister in Pride and Prejudice. Whew! That was buggin me.

When I climb Mt. Laundry and get settled back in, I'll share some stuff I made and received for Christmas. Happy 2010!