Wednesday, December 23, 2009
I would not be me if all this thankfulness did not come with a twinge of remorse (and I didn't share it with you). Many years ago I had a lot of free time. Before kids came along I was living in Germany with my husband, two dogs, and no job. I had hopes before I moved of taking that time to learn to cook. But let's face it: A girl who does not really like to eat will never be a great cook. I just never found the interest. I so wish that I had had this other world to inspire me during that time of my life. I also wish I had been more like Julia Child (yes, I did just watch Julie and Julia) and fought to find something that did hold my interest. I would have loved to have found sewing during that time.
Today, however, is not about remorse. It is about how thankful I am for what I have learned this year. It has been a surprisingly productive one considering Amelia just turned one. I was thinking of that the other day while trying to get the inspiration to write our annual Christmas letter. We have sent out a letter most of the years that we've been married, but this year I did not know how to share the joys of our lives with our friends. We had missed last year due to Amelia's birth, so I didn't want to miss two years in a row.
I had given up on Christmas cards when one night I was surfing through the blogosphrere checking out other sewers' reading lists. I like to do that since you can stumble upon a lot of good ideas that way and I STUMBLED!! I found this blog that had some cute pictures on it and the blogger had written how she had made her family's Christmas card this year. She even provided the link to the You Tube video that helped her. And that is when I found love for You Tube. Yes, I had used it in the past to watch tutorials, but never truly appreciated it until the man walked me through a simple edit in Photoshop. The true joy of the blogosphere though is not just copying what others do, it's making something yours. In this instance, I combined these tips with the collage maker in Picasa that I had stumbled upon earlier this year on yet another blog (that I can not link to here because I can not find it.)
So, with the help of these people that I don't know, I was able to make a Christmas card that captured, at least for me, the joys of this year. Some people will not realize what they have when they see it, but in that picture is a love for family, for sewing, for blogs. It is excitement for what is to come. There are more blogs to discover and inspiration to find!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Friday, December 18, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
in Santa, so that I can use my new stockings.
While we are at it let's also believe that that I am humble and that I will not make all visitors to my house during the month of December stand by my fireplace and have conversations until they compliment my handiwork shamelessly. We will also say that I will take these compliments gracefully and NOT point out all the little tiny imperfections.
And while we are believing in miracles, let's believe that these FOUR stockings did not take me over TWELVE hours to sew NOT including the cutting. Unfortunately, that is where our belief would have to end because they did indeed take that long. It was MY OWN FAULT! I had three main problems: 1. I did not believe in the pattern provided for free by McCall's, 2. I am a poor visualizer, and 3. I own, and therefore I must use, an embroidery machine. Actually there was one other problem and that was that I just kept on going. I would not let myself stop and take a break and THINK. Just go, go, go. That last one is why I was up at 2 AM thinking about how I should've centered the names on the cuffs.
OK, let's review: Believe in the pattern. I made my stocking first.
Pretty good, right? Well, I spent hours trying to visualize (problem #2) how the cuffs were going to fit and how to "fix" the edge that was going to show after the stocking was done. If I would have believed, I would have found out earlier that the seam does not show. It is UNDER the cuff not inside the stocking.
Problem #2 was ever present. I tried to visualize how the cuff was going to be attached and failed. I tried to visualize where the name should be embroidered so that it would come out on the right side AND right side up and failed. Finally, I just had to go for it and 3 or so hours after I had started I had my first finished stocking. I thought after that initial time that the next three would be easy since I now had conquered the problems. I believed once again in the pattern and I did not need to visualize because I had already done it AND taken notes. HA! (Have you noticed all the exclamation marks in this post? It was an emotional project.)
The last three were supose to be easy-peasy. HA! Problem #3 lurked, ready to suck all of my Saturday time up. I had gotten lucky with my name on the first stocking. You see I own a Brother SE-350 which is a good little machine that has a 4" x 4" embroidery area. This is not big enough to embroider any of our names in one pass except for Eric's. With the others I had to re-hoop. It is not easy to re-hoop a piece of fabric so that the letters are 1. on the same horizontal line and 2. with the appropriate spacing from the previous letter. So, three tries later for Sophia and two for Amelia, I had it.
I must, now, confess a slight obsession about the side seam of the cuff. You see on my stocking when I could not visualize ANYTHING, I did not know that the one seam of the cuff should line up with the side seam of the stocking. After mine I did and this set off a whole new problem with centering because I could not just center the names on the cuff, I had to center them on the FRONT side of the cuff. Oh, man. I can be really compulsive sometimes!
After the embroidery was centered on the cuff, I had to center it on the stocking. It worked for all but Amelia's. So today, the day after my twelve-hour sewing marathon, I ripped out seams so that I could re-center it. I did so with my 2AM epiphany which is appropriate during this holiday season. I also had to (please stop reading now because this is getting painful even to write) rip out the seams that held on the loops because I did not listen to the pattern. In an attempt to minimize the bulk of the seam area, I did not place the loops in properly and it caused the stockings to hang in all different directions.
But now, all is well. We can once again believe...
Friday, November 20, 2009
I think I have an obsession with completion. I had all eight. My husband had been so nice and picked them up on his last trip to Germany. So, even the books that I didn't love like #2 Untot in Dallas (Living Dead in Dallas) propelled me forward and I was just as excited even perhaps more excited to finish and move on to the next one. Weird, huh? Oh well, I am done now and if I can show some self control until next year, I will wait until Book 9 comes out in German. It keeps my vocabulary up to read in German and my conscience about not being productive at bay.
During this book obsession period, I had put off reading my book club book, Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. When I finally finished with the Sookie Stackhouse books, I had to take a little break from reading and interact with the family (so they would not forget what my face looks like) and finish some sewing projects. I made three of the t-shirt dresses similar to the Halloween dress that I made for Sophia. I made one out of a tunic t-shirt allowing me to just put one long ruffle on it.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Talk about easy-peasy! My sewing circle friend, Jodi, told us about this one. You just start with a tshirt (this one is from Target, of course) and cut off an inch or two. Then add two or three ruffles making each ruffle 1.5 times the width of the previous level. In other words, the first ruffle is 1.5 times the width of the tshirt. Next time I might go for 2 times the width since I don't think this one ruffled very well. Unfortunately it might also be my ineptitude at gathering. I try, but I NEVER get an even ruffle.
Along with Christmas, birthdays have been coming fast and furious. I bought Eric an iPod nano for his birthday and gave him a couple of bags to gather all the accessories in. I have been threatening to take his picture for the blog since I gave it to him, but have never done it. While I was making his bag, I got jealous and decided to finally make my GPS a bag too. It took me two tries but I ended up with this.
It fits perfectly in the compartment of my car where I keep it. Yes, I know. I am just asking for someone to steal my GPS. Oh well, I really can not carry that around with all the other stuff I have to carry around for the kids AND carry the kids on top of that. I am a SMALL person people!
Both bags that I made for the GPS are from Projects by Jane. I found them both on this cute little site called DIY Bag Lover. I really like the Bag Lover site because it gives you a picture of each bag, not just a name or description. The only thing that I will add in the future is interfacing. Most people don't add it, but I like the sturdiness that it adds to the bags, but especially to the handles.
That is about it for now. The circle is working on some dress-up scrubs. They should be done in a few weeks. I am looking forward to Halloween so that I can take pics of Sophia in her costume. It turned out well and that was only a day or two after my last post. When I say that I have no grace that is what I mean. If I could have kept my concerns private for just a couple more days, you guys would have thought that I was a sewing genius. Well, maybe next time!!
Amelia's birthday is in just a week and a half. I am super excited, not only because she will be ONE but also because she has some cute stuff to wear and decorate with. I am excited to write about them...but first I have to finish them. Gotta go.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
I am making the blue one, but in red and black. I must say: I HATE SATIN and TULLE! They are just so much more difficult to work with than cotton. Satin slides while cutting. It slides while sewing. You can not even IRON it and make it stay. And then the darn tulle. Aaarrggh! is what I have to say.
Today, after getting the hem done on the satin underskirt and trying to pin some tulle into place, I had to take a break and iron. I chose ironing over sewing. This is a sad day.
Thank goodness there is always tomorrow.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Finally, we ended the week with a game night with the neighbors and found we have some feisty ones. I learned the word "moe-ron" and that staying up until 2:30AM while KNOWING that you have to take care of kids starting at 7:00AM (If you are lucky. We were not.) is a little moe-ronic. Pretty-pretty Bob was moe-ronic right along with us.
FYI-moe-ronic will not be an accepted word in Bananagrams, so don't even try it!!
Thursday, September 10, 2009
School started yesterday and it was GREAT. Both girls did really well with the new routine which includes Sophia wearing something other than a leotard and Amelia staying awake until we get back from dropping Sophia off even if she wakes up early or doesn't sleep well at night.
The drop off went super and when I picked her up Sophia had nothing but good things to say and a big smile on her face. She didn't even want to leave so I let her play on the playground for a bit. We got home and BOTH girls gave me over a two hour nap. In fact this is Sophia after two and a half hours, still knocked out.
The only thing that got her up was her little sister banging on the bed.
Unfortunately today has not gone so well. Sophia had a hard time getting to bed last night and then got up early today. Waking up just to discipline your child sorta sucks. Amelia also seemed to be a grump or maybe she has just decided to become a screamer. Yep, cousin Ella might have a screamer companion. Please let it not be!
But now in the quiet of the house, after another smooth drop off, I am hoping these bumps in the road are just part of the adjustment. And I am hoping that I also get adjusted which means actually getting something accomplished instead of just sitting here and being amazed that quiet still exists in the world. It hasn't been in mine for quite a long time.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
And I found that beauty does matter. Making things that will be worn or used is great. Making those things well (straight seams, symmetrical, etc.) is what we strive for. Making those same things pretty is just satisfying.
Modifications to the DIY Pencil and Drawing Pad Holder:
To make the notebook smaller, I use a length of 10 1/2 in. This allows for 8-10 crayons or pencils.
When using crayons the width need only be 14 1/2 in.
The crayon pocket needs to be 7 in. wide.
The crayon/pencil pocket needs to be 11 3/4 in long. When attaching the pocket to the inner lining you need to draw lines on the inner lining AND the pocket. The inner lining spacing is like the original: 1 1/4 in. on ends and 1 in. for the rest. The lines on the pocket should be 1 3/4 in. on the ends and 1 1/8 in. for the rest. When sewing the pocket on, start in the middle and match the line on the pocket with the line on the lining. Just bunch it up, there is not enough material for a pleat.
When sewing the pocket to the lining, start about 1/4 in. from the top edge. This leaves a free bit of fabric so that you have something to hang onto when trying to replace your writing utensils.
And that is my perfect DIY Pencil and Drawing Pad Holder.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I was sort of tired of making skirts that just hang in the closet. I finally admitted to myself that I wear shorts, lots and lots of shorts. So, I made these shorts using Simplicity pattern 7229. Yes, looking at the link now is sort of sad since it says 1 hour on the front. I was so ready to rave about how quick these drawstring shorts sew up, but that seems a little useless now since it really did take longer than 1 hr. Still, I made a second pair today without a babysitter and with a screaming baby. It took all day, but I think the baby screaming should count for many, many hours since it always feels that way!
I used a smaller size and some new fabric for the second pair. The size is probably a bit better for me. However, if I decide to add pockets on my third go around, I will use the bigger size to allow for room in the leg to actually USE the pocket. I found the fabric at Hobby Lobby or JoAnn's. I don't remember now. I have been dying to make something with it, but am not quite sure that the shorts were the best bet. I love them, but will everyone else? We'll find out soon when I wear them at the beach.
Just a note of greatness: due to sheer luck the pattern on the front of the second pair matched up perfectly at the seam. I love luck!
Friday, August 21, 2009
We invited the kids from the mommies group and since only girls seemed interested, I made them all little princess shopping bags for the occasion.
Yesterday was the big day. I held my breath hoping that she would make enough money to buy that Cinderella doll that she wanted so badly ($3 at Target, so we thought) as well as not yell or cry during the sale. (I was afraid, of course, that she would be upset that the girls were really going to take her toys home, but also that she would tell them how much money they had to spend. She had mentioned this throughout the prep time. She was going to make everyone pay $3 since that was how much the princess was.)
No worries necessary. It went off beautifully. The shoppers were so ready to spend and be happy with their new toys. Sophia was so proud behind the cash register just beaming at me as the quarters kept multiplying. It was great. Not all, in fact not many, big projects that I do for/with Sophia actually end up as planned, so it was just such a relief and joy to see this one happen!
Then came the counting of the money and the buying of the toy. She had to wait until after our playdate to count the money. (You might as well teach them young that it is impolite to count other people's money in front of them). The final count was $6.91 and I gave her another $0.09 to get an even $7. She had to wait until this morning to buy the toy. Oh, but she did so without whining (oh my goodness, miracles happen!!!).
After breakfast this morning it was off to Target we went and she had eyes only for that one doll that was in the cash register line. I had to make her go back to the toy section just to make absolutely sure that she didn't want a different princess. She didn't. It was one of the quickest shopping trips EVER. And now, we're home...
and she and Cinderella are happy.
Just a note: Notice the dress that she picked out to wear today. Oh my, she is determined to make today a good one!
Friday, August 14, 2009
Jet lag has hit our house pretty hard. Or at least that is what I am telling myself while listening to Amelia scream her head off because she doesn't want to take a nap. It was also what I was telling myself at 5 in the morning when I was getting up to feed a nine month old AND give cheerios to a hungry and AWAKE 3.5 year old.
At least Sophia makes it up during her nap time. I don't see how she gets into these positions, but she sleeps and sleeps hard...and pretty: notice the bow in her head.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
I added some iron on butterflies to make the dress even better.
And how did Sophia like it, you ask. Sigh.
I almost hate to admit this, again, but the girl doesn't approve. She did model it for the pics which is more than I can say for the cape. Unfortunately, she took it right off after the pictures. That means another failure, at least as far as the critic goes.
I offered to change up the buttons on the back to make it even more special, but she said, "no thanks." She is a tough critic, but, at the very least, a polite one.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Yes, my kid does need a diaper change (pew wee) and is playing with both a pen and a tube of benadryl cream.
Yes, the other child has been like this all morning.
This has been a lazy day.
In my defense: we just got back from Germany and are all a bit jet lagged. We are going to bed early (at least the kids), getting up early, being a bit cranky and needy. Yesterday, I think we held Amelia about 85% of the day. So, who could blame me taking advantage of the times when she is happy to sit on the floor and play with things that normally she couldn't?
So, I took advantage. I made this cute little bag using the tutorial found here. In the process, I learned how to use my zipper foot. I have used it before, even successfully a couple of times. But this time I really understood where the zipper should be positioned and where the seam should be. Yeah for simple projects that give you the time to understand what you are doing.
I also got to take a few pictures today of the cape I made last night at our second sewing circle. We used the tutorial found here.
In true Sophia fashion, she informed me BEFORE I went out that she did not want a cape. I, as always, thought that 1. I wanted to make it anyway and 2. that after she saw what an awesome job I did that she would BEG me to wear it.
Well, at least I was right on one account. It was great to make. I love the material I got for the princess side even if it was $7 a yard ON SALE!! We switched around how we cut the material compared to the tutorial so that we saved a lot and I could make another cape using what I bought. If one thinks of it that way, one could convence oneself that one only spent half the money...sort of.
Now back to reality. The lazy day is now over. Amelia is screaming bloody murder after a nap that was less than one hour. I have a feeling my arms will be getting a workout this afternoon.
It was fun while it lasted.