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Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas! I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday (and if you don't celebrate, have a fantastic day anyway!)

I put this photo in our Christmas cards. Not bad for a self-timer shot on the front porch. :-)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Stockings (finally)

These are about 2 years in the making, and I finally finished them last night. I did all of the embroidery with my mom's machine during visits. All the embroidery designs are from Designs by Juju, which are very nice quality and incredibly reasonably priced when you consider the frequent special offers.

I didn't use a pattern but free-handed the stocking design about the size I wanted. They have a layer of batting between the stocking and lining. The fold down cuffs are separate pieces attached last with little hanging loops at the back (which I almost forgot to add!).

I'm really happy with how they turned out, and I may even have time to knock out 4 pairs of PJ pants tonight. :-)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Before Christmas, I must:
1. construct lining for the stockings I made my family
2. make matching jammy pants for the four members of my family
3. embellish t shirts to coordinate with #2 (although this is optional, I guess)
4. make a fabric bolt worth of devil costumes (not sure why I was better suited to making the devil costumes than the angel costumes...). Actually, I need these done by Saturday afternoon...

SO...... I'm knitting.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Essential Cardigan

I finished up this sweater a couple of days ago. It is the Essential Cardigan from Interweave Knits summer 2010. I just started it around July, which must be some kind of record for me for speed knitting. The pattern page on Ravelry is here.

It came out a bit big so I made the edging bands a bit narrower than the pattern suggests. I also left off the buttons. I can't decide whether I want them or just to leave it hanging open with the option of belting it closed. I think I'll leave it like this for now. I can always add buttons and (machine) buttonholes latter if the trends change. :-)

Without further stalling, here is the sweater, which I am very happy with! I tried it out with two different belts and also left loose.

A bonus is that this sweater will go well with the dress I am working on right now. Here's a peek:

Here's my Cleo kitty, in her new favorite spot, on my kitchen island. You can see the bright green kitchen walls in the background. I still haven't done anything about them. :-) I do have a lighter shade of green and some glaze in the garage to try a little spongeing technique, maybe even this weekend!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ode to Striped Tees

I owe a pic of my finished silk jammies. They turned out ok. Not the jammies I reach for, but they're ok. I'll elaborate more when I have photos.

So... while decorating for Christmas, I stumbled across a cash present for moi that I had misplaced a couple of years ago (the find of the century!) And yes, I know it was cash for ME, because it was still in the envelope with my name on it! So, while out and about, I decided to see what I could find that I couldn't live without. I didn't have a lot of time, so I took the little guy (big guy was at pre-school) in to Banana Republic. In the end, all I found that I couldn't live without were two (yes, TWO) striped tee shirts. I was gonna go crazy and buy a $120 sweater or something, but I just didn't see one that I had to have. I tried on a bunch of things...

The knits were all chunky and I said "hey, I could knit this!... in the color I want and with the perfect length." (yeah, right. That'll happen. I would have bought one if it was perfect and I loved it, but none were that perfect)

I tried on a $70 wool skirt. Um, lovely but no. Not when I could sew it for $10.

I tried on two striped tee shirts. I said "yeah, I could make something similar, but I couldn't find this matching ribbed trim or put on this binding so nicely." Plus they were on sale, so they came home with me, only eating up half of my mad money.

Here is one of my new tees, but mine is black and white. I can't find a pic of the other one. It's long sleeved, gray and white striped, good for layering.

I have a serious love of striped tops. For some reason, they are the epitome of effortless chic to me. I think it all stems back to my best friend in elementary school's mom, who was always chic and often wearing stripes.

The past few days, I've been working on Christmas stockings, and I really can't wait to whip up this knit dress for something quick and new! I'm going to include the sleeves if I have enough fabric. I think I will.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

A belated Happy Thanksgiving!
Check out my awesome pumpkin pie! (not to toot my own horn or anything)

A small gathering of Hubs, kids, and me meant more time to cut out decorations for my pie crust. :-) Paul took this pic, and I thought it was a cute view of his vantage point.

Mmmmmm... I'm going to have another piece now.

Our little family ready to eat (minus Hubs, who is taking the pic).

And finally, here's what I'm going to work on tonight. Silk Jammies with Ann's sew along. The lace is a fresh purchase from this morning with a Black Friday 50% off coupon!

Monday, November 22, 2010

New Look 6658 Cape

Here is my cape, New Look 6658!

There's not much to say about it at this point. I think I've analyzed it enough. It required a lot of hand-stitching because of my top stitching choice. I'm really happy with how it came out and really like the weight. It will be nice here in Florida where it doesn't get very cold. It's still too warm for it right now, though.

So, here are some more pics:

I just got a cheap metal clasp because I couldn't find the leather one I was envisioning. I'm hoping to replace this one in the future when I find something more interesting.

For some reason, it makes me feel like Frodo. :-)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Paint problem

My husband is away for a week for work. I decided to surprise him with a freshly painted kitchen when he returns on Friday. I chose a lovely green called "herbal garden." There is a lovely kitchen painted with the exact shade on the Behr website (which I can't copy or link to... grrrr).

Only, I have a bit more wall space, and the bright color I love looks a bit more neon on the wall. It's bad. I keep thinking it'll grow on me, but every time I walk in, I'm sad. :-( Not what you want to feel in your kitchen. Anyway, I'm going to try to tone it down with some spongeing over top with a lighter green. I'm hoping this snafu will turn out to be the best thing to happen to my kitchen! Optimism is power... (or very dangerous when I find out I've made it worse).

In other kitchen news, Mark just broke my hand-stenciled parsley pot. :-( He thought they looked like awesome stacking toys this morning.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Big plans!

I did all my chores first thing this morning and practiced my piano at the beginning of nap time, so what to do now? Blog! But I have no real progress to show you on the cape. Oh, I know! I spent waaaaaay too long messing around with this a few days ago:

It's my big plan for the winter SWAP on Stitcher's Guild. :-) Don't you just love the life-like proportions of the croquis I found. (haha snort)

Monday, November 1, 2010

2011 SWAP Rules!

The Stitcher's Guild 2011 SWAP (sewing with a plan) rules are up here.

I want to do option 1 again. No dresses.

"Option #1:
6 tops - t-shirts, shirts, blouses, or camisoles
4 bottoms - jeans, pants, shorts, skirts or kilts.
1 your choice (not an accesory)

3 garments may be purchased or previously sewn.
1 may be knitted or crocheted.

Now here's your twist:

Every garment should be made with a technique or feature that you haven't tried, or haven't mastered. My personal Waterloo is zippers -hate 'em, because I have to take them out and redo them at least once, every time. And there are several things I've sampled, but have never used on a garment -slotted seams, for one."

I know I want to make a detailed plan and stick to it this year so I love the things I make. Last year, I liked the things I sewed, and I wore most of them a lot, but most were pretty basic and unexciting. My starting point is a pair of purchased denim leggings. That should set a fun, slightly trendy tone. A couple of rough ideas:

1 choice piece - my cape I'm currently working on (previously sewn and features a new hand top stitching technique)
4 bottoms - purchased jeggings
brown tweed winter shorts
brown suede skirt (repurposed from pants)
brown leggings
6 tops - knitted cabled side-to-side sweater
top made from sweater knit material
jersey top with bound neckline
woven tunic top

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Measured Top-stitching

I started my top-stitching with the assistance of a stick-on ruler. The question now: are the stitches on the slit (left of photo) so much better than the stitches on the edge (right of photo) that I should redo the stitches on the edge? Um... I think not, but please do weigh in!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hand stitching help

Just checking in to say I've been suffering an unpleasant flu bug and haven't been doing much other than hiding in bed except for the basic childcare essentials. I'm finally feeling much better today and got an adhesive tape measure to try to help with my hand stitches (can't find a pic online to attach...). I plan to give my much-neglected kiddos lots of very needed attention this afternoon, but tonight, I'll see how the tape measure improves my stitches!

Thanks so much for the encouragement! If there's not a big difference between my new and old stitches, the old stitches are staying in. :-)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Top-Stitching Preview/Insecurities

What do you think of the hand-stitched edging for my cape?

I love everything about it except I worry it looks a little uneven and definitely "homemade." Then, I step back and think it looks fine.
Opinions? Ideas on how to make my stitches more even? :-)

I created this edge-stitching with two strands of machine top-stitching thread. I think I just wouldn't like it as much if I just machine edge-stitched with the brown.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cape Progress

I've been working on my cape. I want it to be soft and drapey and lightweight, so I didn't interface at all. I hope I don't live to regret that with the collar... I guess I can always take off the collar and add interfacing if needed.

Here are some pics~

I got the lining in two nights ago.

I even remembered to add a hanging loop - that's the kind of detail I usually forget to add. :-)

Now, the lining needs a good pressing, the hem and slit openings need finishing, and I must decide on what type of topstitching to do. I'm thinking hand-running stitch in contrasting brown.

As for this dress, I still haven't decided on the sleeves (Thanks to those who weighed in!!)... there is a new complication. I can't find the second piece of the banded collar. So... if I can't find it or any scraps (remember, I just moved, so who knows where those scraps are), I'll need to go with short sleeves or sleeveless to cut out the collar facing from a sleeve. Without considering that, I was really leaning to keeping them this long legth, so it will be a comfy Florida winter church dress.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Opinions, please!

I need some opinions, pretty please. I've been working on Simplicity 2724 and am at a critical decision point. I cut the sleeves for the elbow length , but I think maybe it would be better with short. Hubby thinks sleeveless. What do you think? (You have to imagine them gathered an cuffed.)

I also started working on this cape for a sew-along at Sawyer Brook. Everyone should have more capes in their lives!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

still sewing

Just in case you thought I'd totally ditched sewing, here's the state of the UFO dress from last fall. I finally got the invisible zip in two nights ago after some choice words and ripping (you can see the pull on the right side).

I think the zipper looks pretty nice now. Last night, I cut out a camel cape. More to come on that, of course. Tonight, I'm tacking the sleeves for this dress.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I'm a carpenter!

I built a bench! It's got loads of "issues", but I couldn't be prouder. :-D See?

I've never attempted anything like this before. While making this project, I drilled my first pilot hole ever and sawed my first cut unsupervised. Husband didn't help at all (not that I wanted him to). It was all me!

I used these awesome plans, but changed some dimensions to fit the baskets I bought for it.

buying the wood:

I received lots of help from both boys throughout the process. I only thought to take photos of the little guy, though. I didn't do any sawing with them around, but I used the drill if only one was present to supervise.

...and here it is!

I have about 10 other plans I want to make now, but first up is a much-needed bed for my little man (the bigger one). He really wants this one... Yep, I made the mistake of giving him choices, and he emphatically requested (begged for) that one.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Oh my goodness, I am LOVING the Spring 2011 Versace collection. I can't say I often feel that way about Versace. Her collections don't usually strike me as very wearable, but I find myself wanting to make several of these looks.

Instead of cutouts, I'd do some kind of trim.

I LOVE this one, but honestly, I'll never make anything like it. By the time I'd get it done, it would look dated.

I would have to figure some detail other than the sheer panels. Maybe some kind of hand embellishment. This is the top contender for me actually making. I already have a strapless dress pattern I could start with... It will be the ultimate date night dress.

I liked a lot of the other looks, but those are my faves.

I've actually started sewing since finding my machine pedal! I've been working on Simplicity 2724 with the ruffled bodice and pencil skirt. The top is turquoise silk charmeuse and the skirt is leftovers from these wool pants. I started it almost a year ago, when I was staying with my parents while hubs was in Afghanistan. Anyway, nothing like MOVING to show you how many UFOs you have. I joined the bodice to the skirt tonight, and the zipper goes in tomorrow! I still have to do the lining, sleeves, and banded collar, though. I was just anxious to try it on!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Red tops

Maybe I should have titled this post "holy moley, those shorts are short". Must be the camera angle... anyway...

I put on this outfit yesterday and decided that this top needs some TLC. It's just too gapey and floppy at the neckline opening. I don't think you can really tell from the pic, though. The neckline was too loose, so I tried to fix it by taking it in at the center back neck. It didn't do enough. It's still pretty floppy and it drives me nuts when I wear it. I think I'll take off the neckline part and just make it into a simple binding that I can stretch a bit to hug my body better.

It drove me so nuts yesterday that I quickly changed into this top. Ahhh, much better.