Sunday, May 13, 2012

Reverse Applique-I've gone a bit nuts.

It started a while back.  First, I moved my sewing room.  When we moved here I put my sewing room in the basement in the guest room.  I thought it ideal since we only have visitors five or so times a year.  Then I realized that I didn't like the basement.  It is cold and the 1ft x 2ft window really didn't let much light in.

I had been eyeing A's room for a while now. It is small and the perfect size for a sewing room.  Finally, when she went from crib to toddler bed, she and S started talking about sharing a room again.  They were both leaving their lights on or using night lights so I thought, "Why not?"  We moved A into S's room, bought a loft bed, and voila-I got a sewing room upstairs that is well lit and in the middle of the action.  To make myself feel less like I was stealing a 3 year old's room, I put their white table along with all their crayons, markers and pencils in it and call it the craft room.  A knows the real deal though and, although she colors in there ALL the time, calls it the sewing room.

Ever since moving it up, I have been sewing up a storm.  To tell you the truth I had been a bit worried that I had lost the sewing bug.  But, after two months and lots of projects and a real thought about making most of S's summer clothes (A still has so many hand-me-downs that she is covered), I have concluded that sewing is still wonderful!

My newest obsession is with reverse applique.  I mean, 1. I got a serger for Christmas so knits are being used and 2. you can use a straight stitch and not have to worry about zig-zag and catching the edge!  It is perfect.  I first tried it on some $3.50 skirts that I found in Target's clearance area.

It is not too cute, right?  But then I cut it.  If it went horribly wrong, it only cost me $3.50!!

Then I put in the favorite colors and I have a skirt that they love!!

I also had a couple of shirts that the girls love, but are growing out of.  The one below was long-sleeved and not going to last until next winter.  So, I cut off the sleeves, picked the bottom seam open to give it a bit more length, and sergered the ends using the lettuce leaf style.  Not perfect, but only my second try.  The flower on the skirt was made using the rest of the sleeve!!

I also had a shirt in my stash that E made with the sharpie-tie-dye method.  He wanted to join in the fun when we made ours, but was really never going to wear it.  I used his shirt for the outfit below.  (Almost got in trouble since there was only enough for A's outfit. S got just plain white hearts and she wasn't happy!  I tried to explain that her shirt was right and blue so she didn't need tie-dye, but she was still a bit miffed.)

A is into asking to have the same outfit as everyone else.  I wore a black yoga skirt last week and she was all about it for the rest of the week.  As I said before, I really do think that I will sew most of S's summer clothes so when I went to get several t-shirts from Wal-mart this week (has everyone noticed that Target has all but quit selling plain tees?  Or is it just my Target?) I made sure to get black ones.  I ended up making this dress for S (then adding a third sun after the picture.)  

I got S's done on Friday and A would not let me stop sewing on Sat. until hers was done.  I swear the child is a task-master, not to mention a fashionista!!  She requested a tiny sun on hers.

They both wanted to wear them today-Mother's Day!  It turned out perfect.  I didn't intend it, but you can't beat "you are my sunshine" on Mother's Day.  

I don't know how long they will last with so much of the fabric cut up, especially since I cut that third sun on the seam where the shirt and skirt go together.  I hope they make it through the summer!

Next up are some more dresses either all ruffles or a maxi or some with fabric paint (bought some to try the freezer paper stencil).  I also might buy this pattern for little shorts.  I could just make my own, but hope to get a better fit from this one.  Either way, the serger is getting some use and the girls are getting their favorite type of clothes-stretchy, non-itchy ones.

PS-S made a little Mother's Day book at school.  In it, it says, "My mother makes the best ___________" S wrote clothes!  That made my day along with the "Mom, I love you more than..." She wrote, "my blue frog."  Now that is love people!

Happy Mother's Day!!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I Know: Some stories to make Gina laugh.

I know that my life is easy.  I am able to stay at home with my children without much financial worry.  I have a husband who, even though he works, helps out with the kids and cooking more than can be expected.  Even though I have no physical help from friends and family here, I have a lot of moral support from them.  HOWEVER, there are times, and yes it is often, when I feel as if something is out to get me.  Is it the universe being cruel?  Is it a mean angel who is simply taking snapshots of my life that it will gleefully show me at the pearly gates as it turns me away?  I don't know.  All I know is that even though I have this easy life, it feels a bit difficult at times.  Here are two recent examples.

Example #1: My easy life included a week long trip to Colorado over the Presidents' Day weekend.  My in-laws live near Beaver Creek, so we got to enjoy the skiing and beautiful mountains.  Yay! We didn't get a direct flight to CO, so our trip consisted of four plane rides.  3 out of 4 plane rides E, my wonderful husband mentioned above, put his carry on and all of our jackets in the overhead bins.  This was AFTER the flight attendants asked very politely if all passengers would refrain from putting jackets in the overhead compartments until all carry-on luggage was stored.  (Yes, airlines are still charging for luggage and people are still refusing to pay causing airplane travel to be a big hassle as everyone is trying to bring on the biggest carry-ons possible.  Yuke!)  Anyway, the first couple of times I told E that it was rude and he should just put our jackets under the girls' feet (they don't need the leg room!) But he just shrugged and ignored.  No one said anything to him and so, I stopped caring too.

The flights coming home were packed and for that reason (I guess) the airlines had put us in a 3/1 formation instead of our 2/2 seats that we had going up.  This meant that one of us had to sit with both kids coming home.  I offered to sit with them from CO to TX, but E is no dummy and he took that 1.5 hr flight for himself. The final leg was TX to NJ and the airlines (who think they are doing you a favor) put us in the bulkhead seats.  That means NO under-seat storage.  So, there I sit with a 6 and a 3 year old on either side of me complaining about this or that.   (Just a note, our kids are WONDERFUL travelers but there is something about waiting to take off or land that drives them crazy.)  I, of course, have put all of our carry-ons AND our jackets in the overhead bins even though I hate that since 1. I can't hardly reach them and 2. I have nothing to entertain the kids with.  I have drinks in each hand, one for each kid, and a guy actually comes through with a HUGE carry-on bag and looks at me (remember I have two kids flanking me unlike everyone else around me) and asks, "Can you please move your jackets?"  I wanted to laugh out loud.  Instead, I gestured dramatically to the bulkhead and said (most likely with crazy eyes and in a high-pitched voice) that no I would not because I had NO where to to put them.  And to top it all off, (and this is where Gina will laugh), I felt GUILTY the whole way home for being rude!  So typical.

Example #2:  This one is just an example of a typical day.  Even though I was looking forward/worried about the kids sleeping in on Monday due to the two hour time change from CO to NJ, they got up at the wonderful time of 6:30AM.  That was actually OK since it gave me time to get a shower before school (a luxury in my life!)  A decided to wear her pj's all day and since she was just staying home with me, I considered that OK and one less thing I had to do before we left the house at 8.  S has been into wearing day clothes to bed (thanks Doenges kids) so I had made her take off her airplane clothes and put on fresh clothes the night before.  So, let's recap, up early AND already dressed.  I could practically take a LONG shower and still get S to school on time!!!  Took my shower.  There were no major catastrophes that drove the kids into the bathroom room yelling.  So all good, right?  No, I jumped out of the shower at 5 till 8 and discover S has helped A change into her Super Girl costume.  S has taken off her socks put on flip flops and SKATES.  I have wet hair, a dog who is licking my legs, and girls dressed like they are putting on a CIRCUS and FIVE minutes to get out the door!  I yell at S to put on socks and shoes.  I yell at A to put her pj's back on.  A starts to cry.  I give in and just put tights on under the costume and let her wear it ALL DAY.  While I am trying to get dressed, S brings me the ONE pair of lace-up shoes that she owns and asks me to help her put the on.  I said the first thing that came into my head, "Seriously?"  She turned around and went to her room to find one of the FOUR pairs of pull-on/velcro shoes that she owns.  We got to school on-time, of course, and I...(come on Gina, you know the answer) felt guilty for being so snippish with S.  A however had a great day as Super Girl!

Thank goodness I have an easy life.  Otherwise, I might go insane!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Simple, but pretty

I have been sewing a bit lately. On the downside, it seems like I am sticking with what I know and not expanding my abilities. On the upside, I am trying to make those things prettier!

It has been bags lately. I wanted to make some for the Craft Hope Project 16. I am torn between wanting to make a lot since I am using a simple tote pattern and trying to make even the simple things pretty and unique. I have pretty much come to the conclusion that I will never take the time to make the beautiful outfits that are on so many blogs. I have little hope that my kids would even wear them. So instead I will make things that make me happy! I made two totes to send off and sewed on a LOT of buttons to give the bags some heart ;)

Yep, totally in the Valentine's Day mode. I hope those stupid buttons stay on!! I have never quite gotten that part of my machine-sewn buttons down. Maybe I should read all the instructions all the way through. Maybe one day!

After completing those bags, I decided to make another for a friend of S who is having a birthday soon. S conveniently wanted to give her a book and I thought how better to give a book than in a bag!! For this one, I wanted to try something that I had been thinking about for awhile. You know all those ruffles that people have been putting on shirts? Why not make letters out of them! Here is the unfinished bag.

The ruffles were sssssoooo easy to make.  I used the high tension on my machine and it gathered the strips of t-shirt perfectly. I am making the inside and straps so that S can then assemble it herself. She will be so proud!

To end on a downer, I have discovered that I do indeed need to use pins even on these simple rectangular projects :( The bags that I am giving away do not exemplify my best stitching. Thank goodness the seams are hidden inside!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My first fabric autopsy.

So, I have been a good sewer lately, but not a good blogger.  I hear you can't have everything!

I have had a distraction from both sewing and blogging.  That would be our new puppy, Maggie.

She is so sweet, except for those times when she is biting the living daylights out of you!  A can with some pinto beans inside is finally setting that craziness to rights. That is about our fifth attempt at calming the puppy chewing and my poor hands are happy that she is responding to it!!

Anyway, I have been sewing some (on the new serger :)), but hate to leave Maggie alone upstairs.  Since she isn't housebroken I haven't taken her downstairs where there is carpet.  I finally just brought up my sewing machine yesterday and installed it on the dining room table.  It is not ideal, but 1. I am getting some great exercise running up and down the stairs because lord knows I need all my little gadgets that are in my sewing room and 2. I am getting some sewing done.  Yesterday, I made a draft stopper for an unused door in the kitchen.  It must have been the front door at some point since it and not the current front door has a doorbell, but now it is rarely used.  It lets in lots of cold air though and I have been meaning to make a stopper, but who wants to make a tube and stuff it with poly-fil?  I finally did just that yesterday and the thing works like a charm.

Today, I wanted to tackle a cute project that I had put on pinterest a few weeks ago.  Again, this is related to Maggie.  Since her arrival, we have been spending lots of time in the floor of our living room.  We are not always playing since the cute little thing sleeps a lot, but she likes to sleep on our laps.  Therefore, we often have the computer on the ottoman surfing the web or watching shows while she snoozes.  I noticed just after an hour or two that the computer gets really hot, so I have been placing it on a board that came with a Melissa and Doug toy that A got for Christmas.  It works great and I thought it would be even better as a lap desk.  I started the project today and hoped to get it mostly done in the hour before I had to pick S up from school.  That would have been the case if I had not messed up :(

After sewing the piping (and cutting excess)I thought that I must have measured wrong because the pillow part did not fit the board part.  I had to leave it to pick up the kids, but it was bugging me.  When I got home, I picked the seams so that I could lay the board on the fabric and see what had gone wrong.  I had also noticed that two of the corners didn't lay right, but didn't know why.  Here is what I saw (with the ruined piping on top.)

You see how two corners are diagonals while the other two are squares?  I started the project all over again and not until I made the corners again and ALL of them ended on the diagonal did I understand what I had done--not read the directions!!  You make the line perpendicular  to the RAW edge.  Tada.  Wow, how my life would be easier if I would be more careful about that kind of thing!!  Anyway, 5 hours later, I have a completed, cute lap desk.

I apparently need to work on my hot glue gunning skills, but other than that I am super happy!  Yay tutorials of useful things!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Gifts!

I don't know what came over me, but I have been sewing up a storm lately.  The saddest thing about that though is that along with sewing I have been trolling the blogosphere and seeing all the wonderful things everyone else has been making.  Usually blogs make me happy, but right now, I feel...lacking.  That is a bummer.  Regardless, I am happy with what I've done.  Here is a breakdown.
1. Something I can't show because it is a gift.  I will post a pic after Christmas.
2. Zippered clutches for teachers.

I tried out my own shape on this one, but need to work on it a bit more.  I wanted the bottom to be even wider than the top.

I got this idea from another blog.  I like the wristlet even though I wonder if it will get caught on things in your purse.  I guess I will have to make myself one to see ;)  I put little Christmas ornaments that we had gotten from a Christmas market in Germany in the pouches to make them a bit more personal.

I liked making these clutches so much and find them to be such a good gift, that I finally went on Etsy and bought a ton of zippers.  I also started putting ribbons on the zippers.  I saw this on other people's work and thought it gave things a pretty look.

3. S has asked for a sewing machine for Christmas, so I have started letting her sew a little on my machine.  Here is her first attempt at curves.

After she had sewn it, she decided it looked like a penguin.  She made me sew on buttons for the eyes, beak, and wings.  I think it looks like one of those ugly dolls, but smartly kept that opinion to myself!!

We have started on a skirt for her too while she was home sick all week, but she tired out after just a few rows of stitches.

4. I have been meaning to make more pj pants for the girls forever!  I just never get around to it even though S still wears the ones I made for her in 2009!! That is what one can do when one just grows up and not out! Anyway, I bought some owl fabric back in Oct. and finally got around to sewing some pants last week.

They needed some major adjustment the next day (she wore them at night even with a bad fit), but after that they are good.  Her sister's on the other hand, still have elastic sticking out of them.  She refuses to try them on to let me get the elastic size or the length.  Little Devil!

5. She did "allow" me to make her a little bag for her princesses though.

Wasn't that nice of her.

6. The last thing that I did this month was a re-fashion for my sister.

That is her in the middle.  She asked if I could make something for her daughter out of a shirt she (my sister) didn't wear anymore, but liked the color of.  I have had the shirt since October and had basically given up hope of making anything before Christmas, when inspiration struck.  I have, as mentioned before, been surfing the web more than normal these past few weeks.  I had the Go To Dress pattern from a while ago.  Then she posted the Circle Pocket Dress. I took the two and made this.

I haven't gotten any little girl to try it on (like I said, S has been sick and I hate for her snotty nose to go into this), so the sleeves are still unfinished.  I am happy though with how I took down the size of the shirt, but kept the collar and the hem of the sleeves.  I hope they are about the right size.

And that my dear friends is all I got.  I must say, I am a bit sewn out now.  Hopefully the New Year will bring more sewing inspiration!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

In my defense...

it was during a power outage (yes, I will be milking that for all its worth!)  I mean, we were real troopers for still having people over even though we had no power.  So the fact that we did not take ONE single picture during the whole thing does not make us bad parents, right?  A will have another year.  

I did feel bad after the fact and tried to take a picture of the girls and A's loot.

Unfortunately, by that time they didn't want to take pictures.  On the upside, everyone did have a good time even if I don't have pictures to prove it.  We were all relieved to be able to do something fun even while we were cold.  The playdate (it wasn't fancy enough to call a party) was the highlight of my weekend.  

To make up for the lack of A's birthday, here are some pics from the pumpkin picking.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The end of an era...

Almost 13 years ago, E and I had a dog named Sadie who, in my opinion, needed a sister/playmate.  E was not so sure. So instead of looking for a puppy, I went to volunteer at the SPCA.  Needless to say, Sadie got her sister/playmate in about two weeks.  It might have been about a month, but regardless, Sadie got what I thought she needed…and hated it.  Apparently, Sadie really didn’t need or want another dog in the house.  She especially didn’t want a small, energetic puppy who wanted to play and bite on her all the time. 

But look, they were so cute!!

Sadie turned from a crazy puppy to an old dog on her second birthday.  It was sort of incredible how she calmed down from one day to the next.  Based on this experience we expected the same thing with Jasmine.  Well, we were so wrong.  Jasmine stayed energetic her whole life.  She could still run, climb stairs, and jump into a car the day she died.  That is not to say that she stayed healthy.  She was our bionic dog.  She blew out one knee in Germany when she was just 3 or so.  $1000 later, we had our sweet energetic dog back.  All she needed was an expensive food supplement to make sure that her knee didn’t get sore.  We also had a promise that the other knee would probably blow since it does usually happen to both knees.  This meant that even after recovery she had to give up her favorite sport-Frisbee.

Making her give up the Frisbee was hard, but at least she had the German fields to run in without a leash.  Unlike Sadie, Jasmine loved nothing more than running and being near us.  She could be trusted to be off leash and come back regularly.  Poor Sadie loved food much more than us, so she had to be kept on the leash most of the time!  The only real problem we had related to the Frisbee was a leash.  Sometime after her first surgery, we got Sadie a new retractable leash.  Unfortunately we bought a blue one which apparently made Jasmine think it was a Frisbee.  It took us about a week to figure out that the reason why Jasmine kept running circles around me during our walks and biting at the leash was that she thought it was a Frisbee.  We actually had to get rid of that leash. 

The dogs were our constant companions.  They went to Germany with us, of course. 

They also made it to Italy...

and France.

We moved back to the States and Jasmine thought that a good time to blow out knee #2.  This is when E and I found out how much more expensive US vets were than German ones: at least double, if you are wondering.  That was Jasmine.  She was very healthy until she wasn’t.  I always thought that she would go like that too.  I didn’t think she would have a problem like Sadie’s that went up and down and up and down.  Jasmine would go quickly.  And I was right. 

 We moved to NJ and the house had no fence.  J was good most of the time and stayed in the yard.  But other times she decided to explore.  I am sad that I didn’t stop her, but I couldn’t keep that dog on a leash at all times.  That would have been heart breaking for everyone, every day.  So, I didn’t and last week she left at night.  She never left for more than 20 minutes.  Thursday night she didn’t come home at all.  I knew what must have happened, but I tried to keep the faith.  The morning brought reality-we weren’t dog owners anymore.  I miss her, even her craziness, a lot.  I still hear her tags clanging on her collar when I move (she would always jump up when I got up) or when I open the door.  Unfortunately, she is not there. She was a very good, faithful dog.  She loved us very much!  She is so missed!