Monday, August 18, 2014

Moon-and-Stars Pillowcase

Soph is super into all things weather/sky, in particular the moon and talking about "moon and stars". When I finished Baby Brother's quilt (pictures soon as I figure out how to wash out the little pink spots of running dye that appeared when I washed it...EEEKK!!) I knew it was Soph's turn to have something sewn for her. I nabbed the moon-and-stars fabric from and the accent band fabric is from her owl quilt. I used this tutorial and would highly recommend it.  It's such a neat method, all seams are enclosed which I love, and it took me about 30 minutes!

Soph loves it, though she was concerned that I didn't make one for Baby Brother.  Sweet girl!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Quilting Misadventure...

I have come up with a plan to fix the extreme wonkyness of Two's quilt and my friends, it is not a good plan.  The strips of patterned fabric are too short, so we are sewing a new seam in the 1/4" seam allowance and then unpicking the old seam, thus leaving us with a 1/8" seam allowance.  This is not a good idea, people. It is going to leave a tiny, fragile SA, it will require a lot more time of careful unpicking than if I just cut new strips, and seriously it might not even work! However, something about cutting new makes my eyes cross, plus since I don't really know how this went so wrong and turned out so differently from the grey stripes, I'm not convinced that if I started over I would not just make the same mistake again.

And so, stubbornly, we of no quilting training or knowldege, soldier on.  With this terrible idea.  And since it's my terrible idea, guess who has to do all the unpicking...?

Oh, and P.S., when we put these stripes together and laid them out, this baby quilt turned out to be fully twin-bed length! Which means we have to make enough stripes to also make it twin bed width.  Yay for terrible maths.  Why oh why did I not use a PATTERN!?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Knit Maternity Dress Part Two

I'm pretty sure I started cutting the fabric for this little number the day I finished the last one.  It's the same pattern, though I modified it further by widening the shoulders and neckline (making the V-neck a little less va-va-voom) and then lined it with self-fabric instead of adding sleeves or finishing the hem.  Rocked this tute for finishing a lined bodice again.

This is one of those fabrics I've been holding onto for years, destined for a specific project that is just never going to happen...if I haven't gotten excited enough to make it yet, well, that says something doesn't it? I'm pretty sure I bought the fabric in Scotland, and the buttons are from my NYC trip last year, so this dress has some serious just-use-it-already stash-busting mojo. The fabric has a lovely feel, although three years later I'm not quite sure why I bought it, as I don't love the color. But the buttons? Oh, those buttons! If I ever tire of this dress I will rescue them for another project, they are so dreamy!

It was pointed out to me that my dress and fitbit match...time to get some accessory bands! This dress really calls for a navy fitbit, eh?

Button Closeup!
"OMG we're twinsies!
On another note, the garden is, knock wood, flourishing for the first time this year! After years of epic fails we thought, gee, perhaps we should augment our soil...? Duh! A truckload of compost later, you're looking at staggered plantings of carrots, chard, green beans, peas, and tomatoes.

The peas especially are my pride and joy. I have to visit them every day like the huge dork that I am.  Step one, make things grow: check plus! Step two, eat it before the squirrels do...we shall see.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Do Over

Lined up on this end...
I keep trying to convince my mother that perfection doesn't matter with this quilt top but...this even I can't ignore.  The colored stripes seem to be a tiny bit smaller than the grey ones, and it gets pretty obvious.

...but totally wonky over here!
Me blogging right now is, obviously, a stall tactic, procrastinating what has to be done. I keep telling myself that I've never regretting redoing something to make it right, once it's done.  So time to make like Kermit and rip-it rip-it!

"Where's the problem?"

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

"Flipper" chore chart, for overwhelmed housekeepers!

Let's go in a completely different direction for a we're going to talk about housekeeping. Those of you with a spotless house can stop reading, but I've been using a brilliant system that is too good not to share, and after having a few friends see it at my house and ask about it (much to my embarrassment) I want to tell it to you, will all the zealotry of someone who just read a self-help book.

This idea, for which I wish I could take credit, is from a book called The Messies Manual by Sandra Felton. Felton divides the world into two kinds of people, Cleanies and Messies.  Cleanies are tidy because they like to be, because they see something that needs doing and DO IT, because it gives them satisfaction and it is easier to do now than later.  Cleanies do not understand why one would NEED an instructional manual on housekeeping. Messies, on the other hand, are not slobs, but are perhaps easily overwhelmed by the scope of the job.  Maybe a bit perfectionist. "I need to clean the bathroom, to do that I have to gather the cleaning supplies from the basement, oh the basement is a mess I need to completely organize and purge, if I'm doing a purge I have to have a day when I can take all day and purge the closets too..." and the bathroom never gets so much as spiffed.  A bit like If You Give a Mouse a Cookie...

Enter the "flipper".  A chore chart for grownups. Into the pockets of a stand-up photo album, there is a card for each day of the month.  Each card has the chores for that day. Do just those chores and move on with your life.  At the end of the month, flip back to day one and start over.  You never "don't know where to start" or "don't have time to clean the whole house so why bother."  And you'll notice that on my cards, there's only one "real" chore per day. The rest is stuff I have to do daily, I just put it on there so I could "get credit" for cleaning up the kitchen and doing laundry. Vacuuming the first floor and scooping kitty litter are on there every other day, alternating.  And then just one more little chore, dusting the first floor, changing the sheets, or cleaning the upstairs bathroom.  Some are on there twice (bathrooms, mopping) if they need to get done more than monthly. The first of the month has something different for each month, things I felt needed to be remembered annually.  And that's it, that's the whole system.

bathroom cleaning bucket (and baby monitor)
And let me tell you that, when it is the only thing I have to do and I know I get to play after, I can clean the hell outta that bathroom in 10 minutes.  (Thanks to another embarrassingly life-changing book, Speed Cleaning 101, I have all my cleaning stuff organized and I have a system for every task.)

And yes, some days I skip, some days things get done more thoroughly than others...but if that chore is coming up regularly and you're actually doing it regularly, you don't need to deep clean: a quick wipe-down is all things need to stay in good shape. 

Alright, well, here's a little something to break up the truly brilliant photography so far captured in this post...

What a typical parent..."this post would be so much better with a picture of my little angel"
And just to reiterate the point that I'm no domestic diva, lecturing to you on keeping your house clean, here's a quick snap of the office, our room of shame...

More sewing coming soon, I promise! Happy housekeeping!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Toddler Weighted Vest

I made this weighted vest for a young friend of ours, and I thought it turned out cute enough to share. 

The patterns is traced from an existing vest. 

Here's the technical details of what I found worked, skip if you're not looking to make one of these:

The pockets inside are double layer: I cut strips of fabric 8"high and sewed them in half to make 4", then folded up the bottom when sewing the strips on.  The weights are about 2.5" in diameter each, and there are pockets for 20, each individually sewn around, so the weights don't shift, and closing with velcro. 

In case it's hard to see, you're looking at pockets for individual weights (starting off at 4"x8" and folded down from there) on either chest, strips with 4 pockets (8"x10.75") on the back and the long strip holds 8 pockets (cut strip at 8"x26", though in the future I'd do separate pockets on front and back instead of one long strip, as it was hard to position and the end result would be the same). I double-sewed all the pockets, reenforced the vest seams pretty well, and sewed each velcro piece like the dickens, to try and stand up to lots of abuse. I used this timely tutorial from Colette to clean finish the armholes. It closes in front with more velcro.

I haven't given it to it's intended owner yet and I am crossing every finger and toe that this baby fits!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Quilted Letters

I alluded to this project over a month ago, and really it was a quick sew, but I made the mistake of giving these little lovelies to Soph before photographing them and then...well...I could only locate six of them at any given time so I couldn't get the pictures to tell you about them.   Here's the tutorial.  You'll notice that I do not have a picture of all 26 letters lined up like she does because I still am three short.  They are somewhere in the toy boxes/bags, I'm sure. 

I bought some white minkey fabric for the backs of these, but the fronts and the batting in the middle are all scrap, so this was a nice cheap one. 

I love these, and I'll say that Soph likes them, but not as much as I do :).  I'm confident we'll grow into them. She does know all the letters in her name, and as she learns more I think she'll enjoy these more and more.  

I really loved making these and was actually sad when the project ended.  I found the quilting so therapeutic.  I have never quilted on my machine before, and the freehand nature and low-pressure result made it a good confidence booster. It made me feel like I could do the quilting for Two's quilt and be able to let go of imperfections and enjoy it.  I found that if I sewed really fast the curves came out better, kind of control right on the edge of being out of control, like skiing but without breaking your legs.