September 28, 2008

weekend craftiness

I'm really liking this not having teaching on Friday thing. I do hope I get some students at that music school eventually, but for now, the extra crafty time is nice! So here's what I did...


Started on a new shirt. I decided to modify the front of the pattern I used for the spring fever blouse. Which also gave me a chance to play with my new curved ruler thingy.
So I traced out the top part of the pattern...
...made a new seam allowance under the bust...
...and changed the rest of the dart into a seam.
Recognize this fabric? It's exactly like the stuff I used for the Emily blouse, but in brown. This is one of the pieces that my mom gave me for Christmas last year. But since it was so similar, I didn't want to do another vertically striped blouse. So this is the reason I chopped up the front-- so I could do a zig-zag effect.
And this is what it should look like when it's done. Hopefully the stripes will still match up after I sew it!
Also spent pretty much all of yesterday in the kitchen, so I could stock up the freezer with meals to pull out for my rushed teaching nights. So I made shepherd's pie, miniature chicken pot pies with a baked mashed potato side, sweet & sour pork, and cooked up the last of those assemble-and-freeze type meals left from a girl's night last year (we went to one of those stores where you make a couple meals and take them home to bake later). Went really well until the shepherd's pie, which was my last dish and supposedly my easiest-- I had so much trouble with the mashed potatoes! My dad eventually ended up helping me get them creamy with an applesauce maker, because he was holding out for that one for dinner.
I also managed to get one of the ruffles off of the sleeve to that gypsyish blouse I just made. (Took awhile, because between the serging and the embroidery, I had to be very careful about which stitches I took out!) So hopefully I can get that wearable soon.

September 26, 2008

Friday Favorites, Episode 25

Wow, I can't believe I've stuck with this long enough to get to 25!

On with the show...

I'm trying to do something a little different this time, and post more things that I like that aren't tutorials. So on that note, the first item today is a post from Confessions of a Craft Addict. The author makes these absolutely adorable, colorful little girl's clothes, and in this post she describes her process of how she goes about choosing patterns and colors to go together. (Did I mention she's also great at mixing prints? And her model is just too cute!)

My Wardrobe Refashion picks of the week: I liked this long green skirt that got turned into a shorter, ribbon-trimmed one. There was also a great boring, logoed T-shirt that got covered over with a really cute owl applique, and a simple but stylish corduroy jacket that got upgraded with a ruffled collar.

BurdaStyle recently hosted a contest to make a cocktail variation of their Malissa dress pattern. I didn't participate in this minichallenge, partially due to lack of time and partially because I just didn't like this pattern. It's the sort of cut that would only be flattering on me if I was very, very pregnant. And maybe not even then. But I've been enjoying seeing the variations that have been popping up here and there. As far as blogs go, Mirella's was a fun one to read about, especially with all the lace detail! But the voting is up now, and all the entries are here. I'm going to have to think about this.... as of now, my favorites are #s 13 (a coral knit-looking one with a cute tie at the neck), 19 (a green one with a criss-cross back), 24 (a plum one with a wide belt), and of course 26 (Mirella's). Figures, I'd pick all ones that cinch it in...

Not exactly a tutorial, but Recycled Crafts had a post about how steel wool can sharpen pins. I'm kind of tempted to make myself another pincushion now!

And I couldn't let the week pass without a couple of tutes... first off, there was instructions for a hot pad made from scraps at My Byrd House (which I found through Whip Up). And another one for a tea towel at Sew Take A Hike (love that blog name!) ... can't remember where I found the link originally, sorry!

And now, off to the dunge...er, basement. I'm in the middle of cutting out a new sewing project and just stopped for dinner. After I get some dessert, that is...

September 24, 2008

Costumes, embroidery, and recons, oh my!

First off... watching Project Runway as I write, and heehee, fashion inspired by music!! I'm cracking up that Korto has to dress like a country star. That is so not her!





Anyway.



Had a good weekend hanging out with N. She's an avid swing dancer, and enlisted my help for a costume for a Halloween dance.


This was mostly all her, but I thought it turned out really great, so hopefully if she ever finds this blog, she won't mind that I posted a picture! She wanted to do a swing dress inspired by Marie Antoinette (she looks a lot like Kirsten Dunst, and therefore likes to dress up as her characters-- she makes a mean MJ from the recent Spiderman movies!) So she got the 80s prom dress from the thrift store and made the decision to fold the ruffle down to make a better neckline. I helped her figure out what length to shorten it to. And then the next day we went to Walmart (because we couldn't find a Joanns), got the light blue fabric, the white lace and the flowers. She inserted the blue panel, I did the teal ruffle down the front and covered the buttons, and then we figured out where to put the white trim. She added some darker lace and the flowers later, and then the lighter neck ribbon to tie it all together. I think she did great, and I'm looking forward to seeing some pictures of her wearing it! Plus now she's thinking about a New Year's Eve costume party, and I hope she does, because I'm feeling bitten by the costume bug again!


I didn't spend the entire time working on the costume-- while she was working on machine stuff, I worked on my little embroidery project. One piece of three now done!







I wanted a quick project tonight, so decided to do a recon. Remember this skirt from my little dyefest?
Now it looks like this. I'm still not sure if it's done...still kind of feels like it needs something. But the border is a huge improvement over what it was. I spent the night with my serger, and the variagated thread really made it. Didn't really have to add trim at the top like I was originally going to do, but I'm glad I serged that edge.

I hope I don't need to add more fabric higher up... I really don't have much of that sheer left.

And now, since I haven't done it this season, PR runway show commentary!! I'm on commercial break now, and my personal opinion at the moment is that Kenley is going down in flames. Also, I think my brother owns Jerrell's boots that I borrowed for my fairy costume.

And now, on with the show!

Leanne: Wow, what did she do to Korto's hair? I can definitely see the country influence, though I'm not sure about the peacock feather earrings.

Jerrell: He definitely got the pop thing down. I hate that genre so much.

Kenley: last time I checked, Princess Leia buns were not hip hop.

Korto: The bleached jeans are pretty cool. And Suede has the personality for it!

Suede: Not really over the top enough.

Judging time! With LL Cool J as a judge, Kenley is so screwed.

Korto's up first. The chain lacing is a nice upgrade to the safety pins.

Suede's turn. The leather pants are so stereotypical rock. The vest is pretty cool. The shirt looks like every shirt Jerrell always wears though.

Jerrell's turn. Brave girl... I would never walk out on national tv dressed like that! But he did nail it.

Kenley's up. Isn't expensive in hip-hop usually in the form of massive amounts of bling? I know the judges aren't happy with Suede, but Kenley's arguing just might push them over the line.

Now that I'm looking at Leanne's outfit more closely, it doesn't look very well-made. At least the skirt doesn't. Though it definitely looks more country than Leanne looks hip-hop...

So it's basically between Suede and Kenley getting the chopping block, it seems. Which I wouldn't really be sorry to see either go. Suede's gotten described as boring for several challenges in a row, and that's pretty much the kiss of death. And Kenley really doesn't know how to do anything outside of the 50s.

Hurrah, Korto won! That makes me really happy, since she hasn't won in awhile and she is my favorite of the remaining designers. Plus Jarrell was being so cocky that I think he needed to be taken down a notch.

I wonder how long it takes Heidi to concoct these speeches? Turning up the volume and silence... nice metaphors.

And Suede is now out. Though I still believe that unless something drastic happens next week, there is no way Kenley's making final three.

I can't help but find it ironic that the auf'ed designer was wearing the winning designer's outfit. And wow, next week looks like the week of mental breakdowns on the runway!

September 19, 2008

Friday Favorites, Episode 24

Another rush job, as I'm getting ready to head to Philadelphia to hang out with N! And hopefully get some craftiness in while we watch movies and stuff.

Lots of links today, because I'm also doing stuff I found last week (but wasn't around to post).

Tutorials that rocked:
At Whip Up, I found instructions for a "teepee" Christmas ornament-- great way to use up scraps, and a fun idea to hide a small gift or stocking stuffer in! And also a tutorial for paper fortune cookies-- another fun scrap idea!

At Craft Tutorials, someone posted instructions for how to make transparencies for papercrafting out of packing tape.

Recycled Crafts featured a "bookring book" that would be good for notetaking, scrapbook journaling on-the-go, etc.

Thanks to Trail Mix, I found a link to Amandajean's storage cube tutorial-- so cute, but functional!

Projects I liked:
Both from Wardrobe Refashion this time. The first is Auset's knit maxi-dress that reminds me of a Mondrian painting. The second is Sandira's "boxy pouch", for which she was also kind enough to provide a link to the tutorial.

And finally... Carnival of Green Crafts #5! I think my favorite this time was the person who made paper out of daylily leaves. And a stick to beat them with. (I guess blenders don't work for pulpifying plant matter that wasn't already turned into paper.) Kind of makes me regret all those daylily leaves I had to toss at the garden center. But I guess there's no chance that homemade leaf paper would be acid-free for scrapbooking....is there?

September 17, 2008

Gypsy blouse

And now presenting, my puffy shirt! (Also known as New Look 6678.) Admittedly, it really isn't as bad as it was, now.
The lacing in the back helps a great deal, since that makes it fit my waist.
The main problem with it is right here, on the sleeves. The lacing is as tight as it will go, and it's still huge on my arms. I may end up having to rip off the ruffle so I can move the loops outward, if it annoys me enough.

I'll have to see how it ends up looking on me, but I kind of like the idea of the Eva jacket with this!

September 14, 2008

Sleep masks!



Well, I'm back, had a great time at Virginia Beach. but after basically a week of no crafting, I was definitely in the mood for a quick project!

I've decided I'm going to attempt to do more handcrafted gifts this year, and already have a couple things in mind for a few friends. So this afternoon I made two sleep masks. The top one was the test version I made for myself (which I'm hoping it works out for me, because I'm one of those people that just can't sleep when there's light in the room, so I always have trouble when staying with friends), and the bottom one is a birthday gift for a friend. Or at least part of it, because I feel like this might not be enough. I'm going to visit her this weekend, and even though her birthday's not for another month, I don't know if I'll see her again before that, so I need to think fast! But she mentioned she wanted a sleep mask because she has lace curtains in her new room (she just moved) and the light comes in a lot. Yes, hers is bigger-- I took less of a seam allowance on it, after seeing how mine turned out. The fabric is leftover pieces from other projects, so this was a good scrap project!

Hmm, need to think... I could make her a little relaxation kit of some kind. Maybe some kind of lavender satchel, or some body care stuff or something... will have to think about that. I know her room is doubling as her studio, since she's an artist. I wonder how lavender mixes with turpentine...

September 10, 2008

the briefest of updates

Blouse status: got the back lacing in. It does help a lot. Sleeves are still puffy, but I'm afraid I can't take them in without making it too tight across the back or something.

Road trip scrapbook status: Worked on it while taking an online defensive driving course on Saturday. Got about 24 pages' worth with stamping and rub-on.

Blog status: Will be taking this week off of Friday Favorites, as I will be in Virginia Beach. Leaving tomorrow afternoon, and coming back Saturday. So I won't really be doing any crafting the rest of the week. See you all later!

September 5, 2008

Not quite what I was going for...

I'm thinking I may have to rethink my pattern size. A couple years ago, I went up to a size 14, because 12 was proving to be too small in certain curvier areas of my anatomy. 14 was always a little too big, so I got used to taking things in as I sewed them. I think I'm kind of right in between the two. But this shirt that I'm working on now is just huge. Not huge as in hanging off of me, but it's just really...puffy.

I think I know what will work. I'm doing the view that has lacing on the sleeves (which is the pink one the model is wearing), so I think I'm just going to rip the back darts out some and add some lacing there, too. And then try and figure out a way to take it in under the arms some. I think that just might do the trick. Here's hoping...

Friday Favorites, Episode 23 (and a craft quickie)

Ah, Fridays... all sorts of various goodies this week!

First off, I loved these cards that angry chicken posted on her blog. I believe they're a takeoff of something (though I've never seen cards like that in the store), but the combination of the simple design and the snarky phrases are just so fun.

Over at Cramzy, there was this really neat "shisha" embroidery. At first glance, I thought it was a necklace. I still kind of wish it was. Or that I had the patience to try that, because that would look so cool on a skirt or something! But I think one embroidery project at a time is enough for me!

Crafting a Green World pick of the week: a link list of all the organic/eco-friendly fabrics they've featured so far. So now I know where to look the next time I want to fabric-shop! (And that reminds me, I really need to start working on another article...)

My Half of the Brain had a link to a tutorial for a "pinch pouch". Kind of reminds me of these plastic canvas thingys that my mom and grandmother would make when I was a kid, where you pinched the corners and you could fit a Hershey's Kiss inside. Only it's fabric, and without the pipe-cleaner antlers to give it that reindeer look...

Over at Recycled Crafts, there was a feature on recycling tin cans into candle holders. I absolutely love the one pictured-- it has this kind of Moroccan/Middle-East feel to it that I really like.

And finally, the fourth Carnival of Green Crafts is up at Whip Up. I've already emailed my two crocheter friends a link to the star-shaped dishcloths with recycled bag plastic in the center for scrubbing purposes. And my cd jewelry article was in there, so that was a surprise!




From sew and so
Also made this drawstring pouch last night. There's a wipe-off board in the room I'm teaching band in, and the school gave me a pack of markers/eraser/board cleaner. So I'm going to keep them in this bag. The fabric was from some free samples that my mom was given. There were all sorts of fun tropical prints and such... I'll admit the reason I chose this particular one was so I wouldn't have to bother changing the thread after the Eva jacket!

And, since this is one of the first Friday afternoons I haven't had to work in a really long time that I didn't take off for traveling purposes or weddings (no students at the one music school yet for me, so I'm going to enjoy the free time while it lasts!), I am off to the sewing room. I'm hoping I can finish my blouse today. And maybe also pasting down the pics for my road trip scrapbook. My tentative plan for tomorrow, provided that almost-Hurricane Hanna doesn't knock the power out (as has been threatened), is to spend the day working on machine-stitching on pages while watching the DVD-ROM for my defensive driving insurance discount. I mean, I have to do something to keep my brain from checking out for that, right? :-P

September 3, 2008

This is my 250th post!!





And I have two projects today to show for it!




Shortly before she got married a few months ago, my friend J gave me this fabric wall hanging that she'd had for years but didn't really have the wall space for--she said she figured I'd find something creative to do with it.


So it ended up as this...



The borders and the backing are made from fabric that I dyed during my hippie crafstravaganza-- the idea was to match the colors to the blue/green/purple sections of the tapestry, and I think I did well! I got the borders and the backing all done over the weekend, so all I had to do today was to topstitch the edges, and then I also stitched around the outer black edge and the Beatles block sections (to keep the blanket from separating). I'd also like to make a bag or something to keep this in, but that can wait.



Also finished today-- the corduroy Eva! I'm happy with it overall--can't button it, but I sewed on buttons anyway for the look of the thing. I don't know if it's the way the waist is so defined compared to the top or what, but it really seems to have some kind of vintage equestrian vibe to me.


So that makes these buttons rather appropriate!!
In other crafty news: Spent some time last night trying to get all of the pages where the pictures were basically pasted down in my scrapbook. Also spent some time with a few pieces of cardboard destined for the recycle bin, trying to make dividers for the bulkier pages to get the book to close flatter. It worked...but now I'm getting a little concerned that I just might not be able to fit the rest of the pages in there! Maybe if I superglue the snaplock things down once they're in... and I am planning on making a fabric cover for it, so maybe I should make it with a closing tab to help keep it together...

September 2, 2008

Ahhh, fall.

Yes, I know that technically it's still summer, but my work schedule disagrees! So I'm going to make this a very rapid update, as I have to leave for a very full workday.

Weekend crafting projects: Nothing finished, but several almosts. The beach blanket I'm making is close to done, as is my Eva jacket. Spent Sunday working on the former and last night getting all the handwork done for the latter, while C was over and we watched stuff and she crocheted. Then, since the handwork was done and I didn't want to haul my machine upstairs for buttonholes, I started working again on my road trip scrapbook. Which I made some great progress on-- lots of incomplete pages, but as far as just getting the photos stuck done on the page goes, I only have about 21 pages left to do! Then it's just going back and adding all the little quick embellishy things I'm doing.

I have a surprisingly short workday (for me) on Wednesdays so far-- I will actually be done by 5:00!! So I'm hoping that tomorrow, I will have sewing projects to show.