It’s the little things

January 1, 2012 at 8:05 pm (crafting, pictures, random)

I have this grey pea coat with silver buttons that I bought in 2008, before I left to study abroad in England. The buttons are a constant annoyance – the shanks are too sharp, so they cut through thread and fall off all the time.

Today I finally bought new buttons instead of sewing the old ones on again, like I’d been talking about for years, and since they didn’t have any black buttons I liked, I opted for a deep blue. They make me smile.

20120101-200531.jpg

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Darning socks

August 11, 2011 at 7:04 pm (crafting, family)

My husband has a pair of socks – they’re nothing spectacular, just a stocking stuffer from his mom a few years ago. But he LOVES them. He calls them his “comfy socks,” and when he knows it’s going to be a rough/long day, he wears them. Sadly, about six months ago, he wore a hole in the heel of one of his comfy socks. It’s been sitting in my craft stuff for a while, and I finally got to JoAnn’s today to find some yarn to darn it with.

So after following this tutorial, and watching this video, I got this:

darned sock

Yeah, it’s not pretty. I couldn’t find yarn of the same thickness or color, so this was the best I could do. I also didn’t have anything round to stick in the sock, so I used a ceramic scoop from my kitchen, which worked okay. I tried on the sock, and I think it feels fine – Tyler was a little more skeptical, but we’ll see. I think once he gets over the fact that his sock has a black heel, he’ll be fine. :)

So first darning experience – somewhat a success. Will I do this again? We’ll see… does anyone darn socks anymore? I don’t think I’d do this for anything other than special socks! Have any of you ever darned a sock?

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Socialite Skirt, and a funk

June 17, 2011 at 4:25 pm (crafting, pictures)

I’m in a funk this week. Just feeling out of sorts about life and careers and my perspective on it all, which is making me ponder pursuing some new things. I’ve been feeling like I need to think, and walking dogs or sewing are the best “thinking activities” for me. Sadly, I have no dogs to walk, so sewing it was. :)

I finished most of my Socialite Skirt from Elle Apparel, except for the hem. I LOVE the inverted box pleats, which are supposed to be the back of the skirt: (ignore my bathroom towels, sorry)
box pleats

But the front is supposed to have a box pleat and knife pleats, and it just looks weird. See what I mean:
skirt front

Too bubbly on the back? Too poofy? Not sure. It just doesn’t lie right on me. It looks lovely on the original website, but on me? Meh. I’m debating tearing it out, and doing both sides like the back, with inverted box pleats. In general, I LOVE sewing with elastic thread. So glad I tried that, and now I want to make dozens of knit skirts, once I narrow down this bubbly butt problem.

As an aside, a danger of sewing while thinking through your funk:
selvedge oops
That would be the selvedge edge, that I was supposed to sew into the side seam. Whoops.

Before I forget, here’s a picture of my finished fruit leather:
fruit leather
If you attempt, make sure that you can poke it and not leave finger marks. Don’t let your fruit leather be mushy!!

So today, while still thinking through my funk, I decided to quilt instead. A long time ago, my mom and I joined a block of the month club through Meissner Sewing Center. I have no idea if they still do this, but you used to be able to pay $5 and get the fabric plus directions for your first block, and you could watch them make the block and give hints/tips at a monthly class. Then if you brought your block back completed to the next class, you got another set of fabric and directions for a new block. We did this for two years, and because I was a busy high school student at the time, sometimes my blocks didn’t get finished. It’s been six years since I graduated high school, seven since I started attending these quilt block classes, and I still have unfinished blocks.

I pulled one out today, and finished it:
quilt block
It’s not perfect, (my points don’t match) but it certainly turned out better than the skirt… :)

I’m not through my funk yet, we’ll see how the weekend goes, but for now I am feeling at least a little more productive. And, a little closer to a finished quilt!

What’s your favorite pondering activity?

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Crafty tutorial: child’s apron

June 3, 2011 at 9:21 pm (crafting, family)

My husband’s cousin turns 5 next week, so I decided to whip up something crafty yesterday for our gift. She LOVES princesses, which I fully indulge, so I found some fabric and got to work. My photos aren’t the greatest, but I thought I’d share how I made an apron for her.

To start:
-get some sort of cotton fabric for the body of the apron. I bought 3/4 of a yard, and had a little leftover. You might be able to get away with 1/2 a yard but don’t quote me on that.
-I also bought two yards of purple ribbon, and two yards of tulle. I used a little ribbon for the neck of the apron (you don’t need it, it’s just fun) and the rest of the ribbon plus the tulle was for a tutu.

Pattern Piece
I made a dress for her birthday last year using a Simplicity pattern, and I knew it still fit her, so I used the bodice pattern piece as a guideline for the apron pattern.

Cut Fabric
I ended up with two pieces like this, and pinned them right sides together. I should have made the side ties now, and pinned them in, but I didn’t because I’m a goober. Scroll down and see how I fixed it, then when you make your apron, put your side ties in here.

Turned inside out
I sewed the sides and bottom together, then turned it inside out through the open top seam (near the neck). I ironed it, and poked all the corners out so it looked nice and crisp.

Bias tape
Make your own bias tape for the neck straps and ties. I cut a 3 inch strip, about 15 inches long (make it as long as you want your neck strap or ties) and ironed it in half. Then open it up, and fold each side in to the crease from the first ironing you did. Then fold it in half, and iron that original crease one more time. It’s really easy, and very worth it.

Pinned ribbon/straps
I pinned some purple ribbon across the top seam, which was open from when I turned it inside out. I didn’t bother sewing it closed before I put the ribbon on – sewing down the ribbon will close the opening. (If you don’t have/don’t want ribbon, you can make a bias tape strip to go on the neck, or just fold under the raw edges and sew it closed when you top stitch.) I then pinned my bias tape strap on one side and then the other end on the other side to make the neck loop. Make sure you fold in the end on your bias tape, so that no raw edges are sewing. Use a lot of pins, it helps.

Sewn straps
All sewn!! Make sure you keep sewing all the way down the strap. I can’t imagine you’d stop, but just in case, I’m putting that info out there.

Top finished
A look at the top of the apron, all finished.

Apron straps pinned
Make two more bias tape strips, to the length that you want the ties to be (that go around your child’s stomach). I have no idea how long mine were, let’s say they’re 15 inches, like the neck strap. Sometimes I just wing it. Pin these to the sides, at the right angle where the armhole curve meets the side seam. Really, I should have made these bias tape straps in the beginning and sewed them in then. But I didn’t. See the next picture.

Topstitch straps
I wanted to topstich all the way around the apron, to make it look more finished, so I sewed the straps on when I top stitched. Meh, it works. I sewed a seam starting just where the neck strap ended, about 1/4 inch in from the edge, and went all the way around.

Pretty topstitching
Yay, pretty topstitching!

Finished apron
And that’s it! Finished apron!

Tutu
Then I whipped up a matching tutu with the rest of the purple ribbon, some pink tulle, and some white ribbon I already had. This was super simple – just sew with a long length stitch, then gather, then sew on the ribbon with a zig zag stitch. I then sewed the white ribbon on top of the zig zag with a straight stitch, just to hide the zig zag stitches. Plus it’s fancy.

If you make one, or both, share your results with me!

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And now, Rosita

April 19, 2011 at 5:44 pm (crafting, pictures, random)

Another Friends connection: I killed my beloved couch!
See picture here: I killed the couch
I took this with my phone, so it’s not the greatest.

I can’t say enough how much I love this couch… when I am curled up, I fit perfectly on the cushions, with my head propped on the arm. People, I am tall. This doesn’t happen often. So when my then-boyfriend inherited it from his mom, I told him we’re never getting rid of this couch. And now, after five years of being together, the couch is still with us. (It had at least ten years of life at my in-laws too… so it’s well loved.) A few months ago, my husband was ironing on the living room floor when the iron fell over and melted a bit of the bottom. I mourned but moved on. Then today, I did an even more horrible thing to the couch… I was trying to vacuum the heating vent behind the entertainment center (it was gross, take my word for it) so I set the vacuum on top of the couch arm so I could reach the vent with the hose. When I finished and put the vacuum away, there was my couch arm… scalped. I’m pretty sure the fuzz was melted off?

So today, I am feeling like Joey and his beloved chair Rosita. And, hoping my couch heals itself overnight.

Really, I think I’ll be slipcovering the couch this summer. I’ve been wanting to for a while, after getting a good tutorial from the wonderful Marisa at Parenthetical Me in October, and now I just need to do it. Covering my vacuum mistake… totally worth the ordeal of making a slipcover.

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Look what I finished!! (FINALLY.)

January 29, 2011 at 11:24 pm (crafting, pictures)

Advent Calendar
Finally finished the advent calendar I started back in December! Was hoping to finish in time to actually count down to Christmas… but ah well. It’s not completely finished… I have to make the star for the top of the tree… but it’s finished enough. I am SO happy with how it turned out, although now that I look at it I notice the magnets are extremely unevenly spaced. Officially don’t care though – it is what it is. And it’s made even better because my mom/grandma helped me make it. :)

Close up of magnetThis is based off of an advent calendar my other grandma made for us when I was little, only her version has velcro to connect the ornaments. I didn’t love how that looked, so I decided to use magnets, using a running stitch to enclose each magnet between the layers of felt and batting.

Close up of presentClose up of the presents cause I love them so much. :)

One more shot
I teased my mom/grandma that the three of us could open an etsy shop just to sell these advent calendars… but considering how long it took me to finish, I don’t think we’d be very profitable!!

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Dec 13

December 14, 2010 at 9:20 pm (crafting, december photo project, friends, pictures)

December Photo Project

Finished Present

Ta-Da! One finished present to go on my felt tree-shaped advent calendar! (Tree is yet to be finished…) We hand embroidered the black lines, and then sewed on the ribbons, bows, sequins and beads all at once. It’s the first time I’ve done serious hand sewing, I usually don’t have that much patience, but I am loving how the presents are turning out. I have 14 completely finished, and am aiming to have it done by Christmas…. we’ll see how that goes!

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Dec 12

December 14, 2010 at 9:17 pm (crafting, december photo project, pictures)

December Photo Project

Present Parts

Aside from spending time together, the main goal for this weekend was to make a felt advent calendar for my house. My family has one that my dad’s mom made for us when we were little, so now my mom, her mom, and I were determined to make something similar. This is after we’d cut out all 24 presents and their backs, and I had started to sort the sequins and beads we wanted for each present.

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