Saturday, December 29, 2007

Handmade Holidays Recap: The Boys

It was a lot of work, but it paid off in the end. I was proud to give something I made to people I loved and the gifts were well received. The only people who didn't get something handmade were the adult men on my list. The men in my life are hard to buy stuff for, let alone make stuff for! Maybe next year when I'm a knitting machine, (yeah, Katie!*), they'll get something handmade. Fortunately, my nephews are young enough that I was able to think up stuff I could make for them.

Nathan's mommy plans to do a nautical theme for his room, so I painted some canvases to add to the decor. This was actually Nathan's birthday present. Since he is also a December baby, his birthday present made it onto my handmade holiday list. I haven't painted in a while and I forgot how much I enjoy it. I am thinking about taking commission orders to sell. Let me know if you are interested.

For Christmas, I made the boys some personalized bunting to decorate their rooms (Ryan's is not shown here). I got this idea after seeing Jennifer's beautiful baby bunting. This was a quick and easy project and so cute in the end.

Besides being well received, these gifts were also great because they were made with materials I already had on hand.

*Katie and I are going to take knitting lessons in 2008.

Edited: Just when I was starting to wonder why there were no comments on this post, I realized the pictures weren't showing up. I've uploaded the pictures again so now I hope you'll be able to see the gifts I made for the boys.

Friday, December 28, 2007

100th Post and New York Advice

Wow, I can't believe I've made it to 100 posts.! When I started this blog I didn't know how many wonderful people and ideas it would introduce me to. It means so much to me when people stop by here. Thanks for visiting! There are a lot of great craft/sewing blogs out there and I hope that I make a positive contribution to such a supportive and inspiring community.

I've also received a lot of great advice through this blog and now I'm in need of some more. I'm going to New York for a New Year's Eve party. I've been to New York several times but have never taken advantage of its great fabric shopping opportunities. Do you have any recommendations for fabric stores I must visit? I'm currently in need of some crochet trim for a dress project in the works so I would also appreciate a recommendation for a great trim shop.

Happy Friday everyone!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Thank you all for the birthday wishes. I share my birthday with my Dad and Aunt and I was lucky to be able to celebrate our day with both of them. I had a wonderful birthday and Christmas and I am looking forward to the new year ahead.

Now for some giveaway news. Using the random number generator, the winner of the Quilt-Kit is comment number 2. Lori, I will put this in the mail to you later this week.

Hoping you all are having a wonderful Holiday!

Friday, December 21, 2007

A giveaway for you

These past few weeks have made me really appreciate my friends and family. I don't know where I would be without them. I am truly grateful for their love and support.

I'm also grateful for all the people that stop by this blog to share and support my creative endeavors. To show my gratitude and in honor of my upcoming birthday, I'm giving away this Quilt-It Kit by Denyse Schmidt. Please leave a comment on this post by midnight EST on Sunday, December 23rd (my birthday!). I'll announce the randomly chosen winner on the 24th.

With Christmas right around the corner, I'll soon be able to show you all the projects I've been working on. As much fun as it's been to make presents this year, I'm really ready to start sewing another clothing project for my wardrobe.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


My birthday is almost a week away. I usually use this day to justify a big purchase on myself (as opposed to all the other months when I just spoil myself rotten for the heck of it). I've decided to buy a subscription to BWOF magazine so that I don't have to run all over DC hoping to find one each month. But, how do I subscribe? All you BWOF subscribers out there, help a girl out, won't you?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Handmade holiday sneak peek

Whew, I'm coming up for air for a moment from my holiday gift making fest.

I hope the recipients like what I've made as much as I do. Like the gift above, which I can only give a peek of for now.

How is your Holiday gift making/shopping going?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

McCalls 5466

Yippee, I finished another fall/winter dress! I was immediately drawn to McCalls 5466 View B when it first came out earlier this fall. I've seen several beautiful versions of View A (the pencil skirt) but I'm a sucker for flowy skirts.

I'm not really quite sure how to describe the fabric I used. It's some sort of spongy brown tweed. I found it at G Street Fabrics in their remnants section for two dollars a yard. At that price, how could I not buy it? I did a burn test and concluded that it's made of polyester fibers. Whatever it is, it's incredibly soft, comfortable and has lovely drape.

I don't normally make muslins but for some reason I did with this dress. I'm glad I did! This pattern did not fit me right out of the envelope. I had to make several alterations to the bodice. First, the pattern as drafted is very narrow at the waist. I added about an inch at the waist so I could breath when it was zipped up. Next, I lowered the dart point so it ended three fourths of an inch below my bust point rather than right at it.

I also made several sleeve alterations. The sleeve as drafted has about three inches of ease and is very tight around the arm. I read in Power Sewing that most RTW garments only have an inch and a half of ease in the sleeve cap. With that in mind (and also because I stink at easing in sleeves) I took out an inch and a half from the sleeve cap and added an inch and a half to the arm band.

I think these simple alterations resulted in a great fitted garment. I am very happy with how this dress turned out. It's perfect for work paired with a cardigan and because of the short sleeves I'll be able to wear this into the spring. I'd recommend this pattern to others but I'd stress making a muslin first. I think I'm going to make muslins more often now!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Regarding tonight's Project Runway episode

Was anyone else a little bored with tonight's episode? Come to think of it, I wasn't really wowed last week either. I really hope the challenges get more interesting...

Monday, November 26, 2007

A new old bag

I had a brief stint as a bag designer about two years ago. While the bags sold fairly well for a business on-the-side, I decided to close up the shop and instead focus on my studies. I realized soon after that another reason I stopped was because it just wasn't fun anymore. I was making the same bag over and over and frankly I got tired of it. So when my friend requested the birds and the bees bag (the best selling bag during that stint) for her birthday, I dragged my heels a little.

Don't get me wrong. I love this bag. I love the fabric combination and after making so many of them it didn't take me long to make. I guess I just crave a new challenge, whether it be working with new fabrics or a new design. I seem to always be challenged when I sew clothing. Though I may feel like ripping my hair out at times because of it, I also tend to feel a huge sense of accomplishment when I finish something difficult or new to me.

My bag making days aren't over, but I don't think I'll be making this bag ever again.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

How I spent Black Friday

Buttons and patches and the cold wind blowing,
The days pass quickly when I am sewing.

~Author Unknown.

Yesterday was devoted entirely to sewing. I worked a little on McCalls 5466 but spent the majority of the day working on Holiday gifts. Since my mom and sister now read this blog (Hi Mom! Hi Kathy!) I can only give a sneak peek of some presents until after the Holidays. I'd hate to spoil any surprises.

I'll be spending the rest of the weekend sewing, relaxing, and going to see this movie. Can't wait! What are your weekend plans?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

My resolve has broken

Well, I just couldn't take it anymore. I taught myself to knit. I've actually been fighting this moment. You see, I'll be the first to admit that I have craft ADD. I love to sew. I love to crochet. I love to paint and make things. I sometimes get a bit overwhelmed at all the sewing/crocheting/making possibilities out there, wanting to do it all but knowing there just isn't enough time. I really don't need another hobby to throw into the mix! But then I saw this and then this. That did it. My "I want to make that" personality finally took over. Every night this week I've sat down and gone through the motions, trying to get comfortable with this new way of holding yarn. After three nights, it finally clicked (no pun intended). Here we go.

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving (if it applies to you). I have plenty to give thanks for this year.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tried and True

I actually made this dress a few weeks ago but just got around to hemming it over the weekend. My sewing has been pretty sporadic like that lately. It is Simplicity 3678 (View C) which is now my tried and true pattern of choice. I used a knit fabric I found at Joann's earlier this Fall. I feel a little "groovy baby" in this print and I guess that's a good thing because I love it.

This is the second dress I've made from this pattern (see the first one here). I can't recommend the pattern enough. The only change I made both times was taking in the sides. I have plans to make another dress from this pattern. Luckily, each view is different enough that I don't think anyone who hasn't read this blog will notice. Let's hope, anyway.

Groovy baby, yeah.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Decisions, decisions

I had intended to make McCalls 5466 View C out of this plaid fabric I found at Hancocks. Then I saw the cutting guidelines. I decided matching the plaid on the bias cut skirt would be more of a headache than I had patience (or skill) for. So out went that idea.

I really like this fabric and want to make something out of it this winter. Right now I am torn between two patterns: Simplicity 3835 or BWOF 9-2007-117. I know, I know, two completely different looks! I'm slightly leaning towards making the BWOF dress after seeing the beautiful versions on Pattern Review. However, I'm not sure how much of a headache using plaid for the dress will be. At this point, with grand plans of making a lot of my Holiday gifts this year, I don't really want any time consuming projects. Any thoughts and opinions???

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


What just a quick trip to Joann for batting results in. C'mon now, how could I pass up those cute prints? The owl print flannel is destined for a Christmas present and the brown floral cotton is for a jacket lining. I have no specific plans for the apple print corduroy, but I'm sure I'll think of something, eventually.

In other yummy news, the Project Runway Season 4 Premier starts in less than an hour!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Leaf and vine applique skirt

The design drawing:

I just can't stop. I'm on an applique kick. I came up with this idea as I was making the circle applique skirt. It's made out of a rusty red colored denim.

What I like most about these skirts is that I've been able to showcase the "wrong" side of the fabric. Sometimes the "wrong" side of the fabric is just as pretty as the "right" side, no?

I added a single leaf on the back hem just for fun. I don't have anymore applique skirts in the works at the moment, but I am toying with some other skirt designs. I have been having so much fun imagining a design, drawing it, and then making it. My colored pencils haven't seen this much action in quite some time.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A quilt many years in the making

I spent Saturday helping my sister finish a quilt she started in the sixth grade (many years ago). My parents recently moved and my Mom found the squares buried in a box. My sister's sixth grade sense of style (very pink) is much different from her current style (more modern), but she still decided to finish it.

Corinne is glad she did. Here it is prequilted. I think my sister is relieved that it's finally finished. Corinne watched the quilt being made. She even made her own sewing machine out of wood blocks and worked on a pretend blanket while mommy was working on hers. I love that she's curious about sewing and hope she still is when she's big enough to have a real sewing machine.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Where has the week gone?

I had one of those utterly fantastic moments yesterday when I realized it was Wednesday after thinking it was Tuesday all day long. Love it when that happens (hate it when it's the other way around).

Last weekend I attended the DC Craft Mafia's Holiday Craft Fair where I met Katie of See Katie Sew fame. Katie and her family are so nice! Katie's goods are even more beautiful in person than they are online. I think I touched every bag she had out just because they were so pretty. Luckily I arrived early enough to snag the scarf I eyed on her blog last week. I bought it just in time as it has been really cold here. I've worn the scarf almost every day this week and at work where I don't think they believe in heat.

I was hoping to make this dress this Fall but I think I might wait until the Spring when it's more practical to wear. Or not. I tend to sew whatever I feel like sewing at the time. I am trying to be more disciplined about it, but where's the fun in that? What's your approach to sewing?

Lastly, the randomly chosen number for the winner of the flower pin was 1. Raesha, look out for an e-mail from me!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Fall Swap Sent

Have I gushed enough about the book, Stitch and Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker? No? Well, let me gush some more then. I participated in Chara's Fall Swap. When I think of Fall, I think of sweaters and scarves and beautiful leaf colors. So for this swap, I made my partner, Joy, a one skein scarf (the third one I've made in as many months), and a crocheted flower pin in Fall colors using patterns from the book. I also included some caramel apple cider candles (yummm), a fall stamp, some stickers and ribbon. I hope Joy likes the package.

I really enjoyed making the flower pin and am looking for an excuse to make another. If you would like to receive a flower pin, please leave a comment by midnight EST on Wednesday, November 7th. I'll announce the randomly chosen winner on Thursday.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Circle Applique Skirt

As evidenced above, the idea for this skirt has been brewing in my head since at least the 5th of October. I am fairly positive I drew it before, but my "Ideas and Inspirations" catalog currently consists of bits of paper divided unevenly among several bags and bookshelves. It is not an organization system I'd recommend.

I really enjoyed taking the skirt from idea to finished garment. I used Simplicity 4036 for the A-line skirt pattern. The circles, about five inches wide, were made from the "wrong" side of the denim and go all the way around the hem. I almost made the circles smaller after a friend said it reminded her of a poodle skirt. However, I decided to stick to my original idea. I'm glad I did. I like the whimsy the large circles add to a basic denim skirt.

As for the rest of the list, I gave up on the dress and the remaining two items are still on my to do list, wherever it is.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pizza and a sneak peek

Don't let the bad picture fool you, this pizza was delicious. I used this recipe with a few modifications (more cheese and roasted red peppers). I can't believe I've never cooked a butternut squash before. I can't wait to try more recipes with this fabulous fall vegetable.

Here's a sneak peek of a little project I completed this weekend. Can you guess what it is?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Oh Amy B, why do you keep doing this to me?

Amy Butler is hands down my favorite textile designer. I discovered her about five years ago when I was just getting into sewing. She was and still is a constant source of inspiration. But come on, sometimes a girl can get a little overwhelmed by all those beautiful fabrics and patterns that keep coming out of her studio.

How does she do it? I often wonder. Just when I build up enough resistance to the temptation to buy all of her fabrics and patterns, she comes out with more. I give in, my efforts to resist are futile.

I love the all the possibilities of her new patterns (coming soon she says). Looks like my birthday and Christmas wish list just got a little longer. If you haven't seen it already, check out her article on The Quilter's Buzz.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Weekend wrapup (aka, feeling fine)

This weekend, I didn't turn on the TV until night had fallen. This weekend, I didn't let myself get overwhelmed by sewing possibilities. This weekend, I did shimmy to Feist while pressing seams, I finished a dress, I sewed a seam on a sweater, I cleaned my closets (gasp!!! talk about overwhelming!), I did a little pattern therapy, wined and dined, watched cheesy movies, and caught up with friends.

I had a great weekend. How was yours?

I also snapped a shot of the appliqued t-shirt I picked up at the Crafty Bastards Fair a few weeks ago. It's from SaltLick NYC and I love it.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The state of things

I know it's been crickets over here latey. Here's a recap of what's been going on behind the scenes. I'm nearly done with my frou frou sweater. I'm a little amazed and relieved that it actually looks like a sweater.

I've also dusted off the sewing machine and have something in the works.

Oh, and I'm loving my new fall shoes.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


There are two reasons why I haven't been posting. First, our AC broke a month ago and our landlord hasn't replaced it yet. This wasn't really a problem until it hit 90 degrees. I don't know many people that want to do much of anything when it feels like 95 degrees inside. Second, the things that I have sewn lately are duds. I'm so used to showing garments I'm actually proud to wear on this blog that it didn't dawn on me until late this week that I should post the duds too. I've learned to sew mainly through trial and error and I'm still learning. I bring you my most recent example:

Butterick 4973. I intended to make this dress with some black matte jersey. Instead of measuring twice and cutting once, I just cut the size I normally cut for Simplicity patterns. Not such a good idea. As soon as I tried on the bodice I knew I had made a mistake. I would show you, but I don't want to show that much skin on this ol' blog. Instead, I illustrated the problem in the picture above. See that white line across her bodice? That is where my fabric ends, right at the very bottom of my bust. If I were to continue sewing even with a small seam allowance the seam would fall across my bust. I don't think that's flattering for any figure. Lesson learned, measure measure measure!

Am I bummed by the experience? Nah. If I were really excited about the pattern or the fabric, I might be a little upset. Maybe that's why I didn't measure enough. Hmmm, perhaps that's the real lesson, only sew patterns and fabric you're excited about. Something to ponder...

Saturday, October 06, 2007

I got it!

I finally got my ravelry invite! I've only had a chance to browse briefly through the site, but I've already seen something I want to make. Work on my frou frou sweater is slow though and I don't want to pick up another crochet project until I finish the one at hand.

Have a great weekend folks.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Work in Progress

A week without sewing equals a week's worth of crochet. I'm currently working on the Frou Frou sweater from Stitch n' Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker. I've never crocheted anything beyond a bag or scarf, so I feel like I'm taking a big leap here.

Let's hope it at least resembles the pictured garment when I'm finished.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

8 things

It may have been quiet on this blog but it hasn't been quiet in real life. Last weekend Peter and I decided to rearrange the apartment, including new furniture and all. Ikea always seems like a good idea until fourteen hours later when you've put the front beams on the back side of an entertainment center. My sewing "room" is a secondary storage area until we find the fifty hours to put the remaining items together. So while I can see my sewing machine over all the boxes, I can't actually use it in the apartment's current state.

What a perfect time for a meme. Christina tagged me to tell you eight things about myself. Here goes...

1. I get extremely cranky when I'm hungry. Like, monster cranky. I carry granola bars in my purse in case I'm stuck somewhere and can't get to food in time. Sad, right?
2. I'm terrible at small talk.
3. I was born on the same day as my Dad. He also happens to be a twin so I share my birthday with my Aunt as well.
4. I started running four years ago. I was having a hard time falling asleep because I was so antsy with energy. One evening I decided to run around the block to get rid of some of my energy. It worked and I've been running ever since. I don't consider myself a runner runner though. I'm not hard core about it.
5. I have a Masters in Survey Methodology. If you are scratching your head thinking, "what the bleep?", don't worry, you're not alone. About 99% of the people I tell have the same reaction.
6. My boyfriend says I'm "at-risk" of becoming a vegetarian. I'm extremely picky about meat, especially processed meat. Oddly I'll eat tuna and crab out of a can, but nothing else.
7. I've never been camping. My friends are always surprised when I tell them this because they say I seem like the person who would like camping. A camping trip is on my "must do this Fall" list. We'll see how well my friends know me!
8. I would usually rather be sewing, crocheting, or some sort of crafting rather than doing the activity at hand.

Now I'm tagging these people who I'd love to know eight things about:


Don't feel obligated to dish though.

This post is also a good time to acknowledge the Rockin' Blogger award Cidell gave me in August. Thanks Cidell! I'm supposed to pass on the torch, but so many people have gotten this award I can't keep it straight who hasn't.

Friday, September 21, 2007

One skein scarves

Lately all I've been wanting to do is crochet. I'm sure it's the changing seasons.

Yarn always brings the kitties out. Sorry, Kitty, these aren't for you!

Have a great weekend folks.

Pattern information: One Skein Scarf from Stitch N' Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker

Yarn used: Patons Classic Merino Wool

Pattern rating: Easy Peasy!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

No longer afraid of knits

Remember this debacle? I have to be honest and say I was more than a little disappointed. The experience put a little doubt/fear of knits in my mind. So this pattern sat cut out for a few weeks before I rallied up the courage to make another attempt at sewing knits. I used a lot of the advice I received after my first failed attempt. In particular, I used a walking foot and ditched the stretch stitch in favor of the zig-zag stitch and overlock stitch on the serger. Guess what, it was a success! I can't say I feel comfortable sewing knits. I think I need a few more successful knit garments before I can say that. I can say, however, that I can sew knits.

It definitely helped that I used a good pattern, Simplicity 3678, View A. I had to take in a few inches at the waist and hip, but that was the only alteration I made. I'm happy I faced up to my fear of knits because I love this dress. The cut is so flattering and so comfortable. I have plans to make View B and C, at least sometime before next spring.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

It's here, right?

When I walked by an open window this morning, I felt it. There's a definite chill to the air. Fall! I can't really put into words how I feel other than excited. I love this season, I truly do. I'm giddy thinking about sweaters and pumpkins, scarves and hot cocoa, holidays and friends. I'm even more excited about Fall this year because it's the first Fall that I don't have school. This means I can do a lot of fall sewing and celebrating this year. I've got grand plans for apple picking trips and scary movie nights. I can't wait. Does anyone else feel this excited about the upcoming season? Speaking of Fall sewing, here's what's on my short list (subject to change as inspiration hits):

3622, View D. I actually cut out the fabric for this last night. I'm slightly concerned about my fabric choice, but I'm just going to see what happens and hope for the best.

Simplicity 3678, all views. I actually made the short sleeve version this week. Look out for a pattern review and pictures soon. You can probably figure out that I liked the pattern if I plan to make the other long sleeved views.

McCall's 5466, View C.

McCall's 5477, View C. I plan to sew this up in velvet or corduroy. Diann has this on her short list too.

I've also been itching to make a quilt for a while. I am having the hardest time choosing the fabrics though (too many choices!). I may just give in and buy a quilt kit. Would that be so horrible?

Happy Saturday everyone.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Turning three

A very special girl (my niece) turned three last week. To celebrate the occasion, I made her something extra special.

A patchwork bag! But wait, what is that peeping out of the top?

Why, it's Olive and Archie! They were excited about meeting Corinne. Would she accept them with loving arms, they wondered?

I think she did.

Doll Pattern: Olive and Archie from Wee Wonderfuls

Fabric Used: Quilting cotton and flannel from Joanns