Monday, April 27, 2009

double Summer Blouses...

I'm posting remotely while on vacation in sunny Austin, Texas. Well, today was not so sunny... but sunnier than we are used to in Minnesota. Last night, to cover 2 bases (another Spring Top for Rae's sew along and a gift for my hostess Aunt) I made 2 more versions of the Weekend Sewing Summer Blouse... but from only one fabric.

The first version, for my Aunt, is sleeveless and in a summery cotton fabric we picked up at Joann's. The only modifications I made (besides removing the sleeves, hello...) were adding 2 inches to the length and taking a bit off the neckline. Here is my Aunt posing a bit dorkily :)

Remember the disclaimer I posted way back that she is not truly the matronly old Aunt? Take my word for it... she is not......

The second version is for me ... since I gave this one to my Grandma, who is here with us as well, busy doing all sorts of ironing for me. Back to the topic though, since I gifted the other, this is really only #2 for me to OWN now, though it is now the 4th one I've actually made. As you'll see, I used the same summery fabric for mine, but since we live like 6 states apart, I figure we'll not end up at the same deck party wearing them :) Unless it is a family function, but then it will be OK, since we are dorky like that.

My mods were 2" to the length and I widened the neckline. I plan to wear it over a tank or swimsuit, so it will work great. Here is mine...

Just cause, here are us both, posing dorkily together~ did I mention we were dorks?

Yep - sweet vacation so far! We've got some skirts and other tops to make, as well as some freezer paper stencils to do on T-shirts with all the kids :) Having a blast!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

a few Spring projects...

As I stated last post, (Curse you damn cake balls- I've been paying for you all week!), my friend Kim is traveling to India for about 2 months. In addition to the balls, I used Rae's pattern for the Buttercup Bag and made another "enlarged" version as a "going away" gift for her. I thought a fabric purse would be an easy thing to fold up and pack in a suitcase in case she wanted some variety while visiting India. I did hit her up to find me fun silky fabrics while there... can't wait til she comes back! We'll miss you Kimmy G - especially your little Griff man!

Here is her bag...

I went a little "wild" and tried out ric-rac as a trim. One side is better than the other, so obviously the good one became the front where I added 2 layers of vintage buttons...

Next up, I thought I'd post a picture of my new apron tree... that is what I'm calling it anyways. Truly, we marketed them as hot tub towel racks when Dave built these as Christmas gifts for some of our family this past year. Our own has been sitting unfinished in the garage for the past few months. I got a wild hair last weekend, painted it aqua, added the hooks and about 20 aprons and - voila! An Apron Tree! Oh -You'll see part of my new thrifted gingham tablecloth here as well.. but not the cute chicken scratch embroidery on it....maybe another day I'll snap some shots of how cute it is.

Last but not least- the night I made Kim's purse I was having a bad hair evening so I quickly whipped up the headband/headscarf from Weekend Sewing. I know - I have blogged a zillion headbands now, but it is a fun way to show off my favorite fabrics.
Sorry for the posey, badly lit, fuzzy photo. It is rather hard (READ: tedious...) to take pictures of yourself past midnight :) I'm not sad, or shy, really. Just tired!

So nighty night... I'm off to start packing for a week in Texas, and to finish downloading Marley and Me and Twilight to my iPod for the plane ride. I'm visiting family with the kiddies - Hooray! I am a bit sad that I did not finish (barely started) my Weekender Bag that was supposed to debut on this trip...and I may not get to another Spring Top before I leave on Friday. But... you know you are in for fun when you pack up fabric, patterns and sewing books to take with you on vacation! Maybe I'll eek out one more Spring Top from sunny Austin after all!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Cake Balls!

My friend Kim is leaving for a 7 week work trip to India next week, so we are sending her off with a small gathering at my sister-in-law's cabin. Usually for these gatherings, we all bring food to share - and I have a habit of going a bit crazy making dishes. (Not overboard in fanciness, but rather in sheer volume of items...last time I think I had 5 or 6 dishes to share and then some fun drinks too). Determine not to go overboard this time, I said I'd only be bringing potato salad (requested by Kim herself), Buffalo Chicken dip (Hungry Girl version) and something sweet. I was perusing my cookbooks for a sweet treat, when thoughts of cake balls filled my head. Cake Balls, you ask? Yes, Cake Balls. I've had visions of these little waistline-ruining delights dancing in my head since I went running over my lunch break with Jen on Monday. She was telling me what she had brought to Easter dinner and mentioned Cake Balls. My cake deprived body perked up and listened greedily to her describe these little luscious treats. The balls are a medley of crumbled cake and frosting - rolled into a ball and then dipped in candy coating. I googled and found a similar recipe here, but I used melting chips. Jen's Easter delicacies were made from the Fun Fetti cake and frosting and then rolled into egg shapes and dipped in pink and blue melting chips. Her friend Karen had made them for St. Paddy's day dipped in green melting chips - as you can see, these are versatile little treats!

For Kim's "Going Away" shin-dig, I opted for milk chocolate cake AND frosting... then dipped in pink, blue and orange melts. I was going to dip them in melted chocolate chips, but thought that might be overkill in the chocolate department. Hee hee. Here are the balls... a bit messy to create, but truly fantastic. Yum.

Picture the insides a bit crumbly cake, a bit creamy whipped frosting, all delicious goodness. (Sorry BL for the food descriptions - I know they make you queasy - but these are THAT good).

In order to distract Griffin so he would not want to "help" roll these and dip them, I saved the mixing spoon from the cake mix and sent him outside with it while I concocted the balls. As you can see, he enjoyed himself immensely!

Tupelo is lurking in the back in the one below - waiting for his moment to move in and either get the spoon or lick the messy kid. He got neither as I intercepted with a wash cloth right after I shot these pictures.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Another Spring Top

Shortly after my last post, we came down with a stomach virus here. Believe you me, you do NOT want to hear about all the bodily fluids that were lost in this house this past weekend. Ack - it was not the most enjoyable Easter, we can leave it at that. Things seemed to wind down yesterday afternoon, so we thought we were in the clear. I went in to work this morning, but I got a call early on because Griffin had thrown up. It had been over 48 hours since the last time, I promise, but I still felt guilty that he got sick at my sister in law's home daycare. I know he picked it up there, but still...I feel bad we helped to spread the contagion a bit more.

Long story short, (he is feeling better and napping at the moment) since I was home today with a clean house, during nap time I decided to do a bit of sewing. I hadn't done any this weekend - so I was itching to get another top done for Rae's Sew Along. I only had a 2 hour napping window (or so I thought - he is on hour 3 now) so I decided on the super easy Built by Wendy, Simplicity 3835 pattern. On the crafty Internet - this is a very popular shirt/dress/tunic. I've made one before, early on in my sewing adventures, and while I like it, I did not love the elastic on the sleeve bottom (I had used fold over elastic) or the "baggy" back. I also thought it was a bit snug, because my vanity and ignorance did not allow me to buy the correct sized pattern. Basically my bust measurement alone dictated that I should wear a size that I was squeamish of. Now I understand a bit more about pattern sizing vs. store/vanity sizing. I get that it is just a number and it is more important that things fit than what number is assigned to them. Today I added 1/2 inch to the entire pattern to make sure things fit well. See... I'm a big girl and can readily admit that I needed a larger size - just won't tell y'all how large :) Here it is... in it's thrifted sheet glory.

It did only take a little over an hour - including the time I spent cutting out the fabric. Other modifications I made to the pattern: I added 1.5" to the length, I used the back darts that were on the pattern for the dress/tunic, and I did the tunic sleeve - a bit longer than the one I had made before.

I could fib and tell you I used the thrifted sheet to "practice" but honestly, my intent was to wear this sheet in some way/shape/form from the day I picked it up for a mere $1.95. I have a ton of it left, but am afraid if I do some loungy pants with this same sheet, I'll look like I'm in surgical scrubs -more so than it already does, that is. This top is a bit scrub-like. But that adds to the comfort! What to do with the rest then? Maybe I'll use it for some quilt squares? I love the idea of a thrifted sheet quilt. But fiddle dee dee, not today, I'm gonna go snuggle with my little man now for awhile, since his "sick days" are one of the few times he'll tolerate it for long.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Spring is here!

Finally we are starting to believe that it actually may warm up again here in the Northland. After an EXTREMELY long winter, we are just now getting outdoors and experiencing the sunshine. Each day, after daycare/school/work, Griffin runs out of the car directly into the backyard and his sandbox. He is thrilled that spring is here. Truly, we all are...well, except for my neighbors, who were probably used to some peace and quiet. Now they are subjected to Griffin and Rowan screaming, yelling, climbing trees and peeping into their yards. Oh - and loudly playing Sponge Bob (working at the Crabby Patty) or Spiderman (Rowan gets to be MJ and I have to be Doc fair) in the back yard. We all have a bit of spring fever...even Tupelo (our dog) is in on the chaos, constantly wanting in then out of the house, looking for one of the kids to come outside with him and try to take his ball away.

Since today is my day off, and Miss Rowan was out of school, we met up with friends for a play date at a park. After spending some time lost and wandering, we had a nice morning in the sunshine, and got to help celebrate Gisela's little Eli's 2nd birthday with cupcakes. All the kids were adorable and fun - and it was nice to meet Veronica (Roni) - who I felt like I had met through our other blog. It was definitely a bit windy and brisk out, but we got some serious pent up energy released. I know Brooke took a ton of pictures of the entire group (maybe she'll post on her blog? Hint Hint...) so I spent time trying to capture my own monsters and trying to stay warm. Oh - and dealing with Griffin's meltdown as we made our exit. He really hates transition times. His laying down in the grass yelling "I am NOT Spiderman" was our cue to take our leave.

He was still happy here...

I realized after cropping the pics that it looks so gray and brown outside. Funny that we did not think so when we were out, we are THRILLED it is not snowy and white :)

Rowan and Grady getting dizzy...

I'll also throw in a couple pictures of "mini sewing projects" of late, cause that is the way I roll. Serial dabbler that I am. Nothing serious, but fun, quick projects, none the less. I finally got around to making a cover for my camera strap. There are tutorials all over the place on the web, but I winged it Basically folded up my favorite fabric in the world, and then sewed it on. I decided I would never really want the normal, icky-feeling strap, so it would not hurt to make this cover permanent.

Note: It is hard to take a picture of your camera strap. Duh. I had to remove it for the picture. But it is kind of hard to tell what it is. Trust me, it is my camera strap. And it is much cuter now.

Next, and last, I had just enough fabric left over from this apron to whip up a pair of fabric baby shoes for a co-worker who is due today. I used wool felt on the sole and this tutorial to make them. I really like this pattern, but I think I figured out how I would make these seamless next time. I know you can't see the seams when little feet are inside, but they just don't quite seem finished to me like this. We'll see - next time there is a baby shower or friend due, I may try my modification and see how it works (or IF it works).

Monday, April 6, 2009

a bit of random sewing...

Dave is back from Germany, so I have time to blog again. I had gone into "uber mama" mode for the 5 days he was gone.... lucky I'm back to my normal, somewhat lazy self! While he was gone, I started and finished a few more sewing projects... well, some got finished after his return... but I'm including them in one post. Again - lazy self...

Dave's sister celebrated a big milestone birthday this past weekend. Her grown daughters threw a fantastic party for her and most of the 14 siblings were able to attend. My sister in law is quite the epicurean- so after consulting the youngest sister for fabric options - I made my "stand by" Emmeline Apron for her gift. Love this pattern - and that it is reversible. I like the idea of making one side pretty and the other more fun and kitschy - but in line with the recipient's personality. For Debbie, one side is a pretty black/white floral. I was looking for a damask in black and white but couldn't find anything on short notice.
Since I was told by Theresa that Debbie has quite a love of the Southwest, I opted for sombreros, cacti and peppers for the "fun" side. Honestly, this apron goes together so nicely. Very well written, well illustrated... I love the process of putting it together... and it always turns out. I'm confident she'll put it to good use when concocting delicious dishes in her kitchen.

A close up of the Southwest fabric...kitschy and fun! Thanks for the idea Tess.

You may have noticed Rae's Spring Top Week button on the right hand side of this blog. Basically, Rae invited peeps to make and post pictures of some spring shirts. Her "challenge" is what kicked me into making the Summer Blouse last weekend, and I've a few more patterns to try. I used some thrifted fabric (yes AGAIN with the thrifted fabric) and tried the Amy Butler Cabo Halter pattern last night. Despite the breaking of the thrifted zipper I managed to finish it up before midnight. By the way...lesson learned the hard way. Listen up: Thrifted buttons = The best there is! Thrifted fabric= Great! Thrifted trims & ribbon = Probably wonderful! Thrifted Zippers = Iffy people... very iffy. But I digress...sorry. I love this pattern. It was quite easy, and I did not need to change the dimensions or tweak the sizing at all. The only thing I think I'll do differently next time (and there will be one - I just got the real fabric delivered), I do think I could benefit from some built in bra cup thingies. This halter does not do much for what little is going on up on top for me.... but I think it will be a perfect shirt for this summer!

This fabric is fantastic - in a 1974-avocado-kitchen-appliance kind of way. I kept singing "I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts..." while sewing this. hee hee. Except I just got done telling you I don't have a lovely bunch of... oh.... never mind.

That is probably more than enough crafting to share... but if you are still with me here, I want to leave you with 2 final things. We finally bullied Miss Rowan into pulling out her tooth last night. The guilty tooth fairy left her a $5-er because she felt so bad for badgering an innocent 6 year old into yanking out a tooth before she wanted to. But... c'mon...look how adorable she is! And yes - she can't say her "f's" or her "th's" with her new found gap. hee hee...Love me a missing tooth lisp. Even Hannah looks impressed in this picture (the jammies...I'm referrin to her jammies).

Lastly - while nothing "sewn" to show you all yet- I did manage to cut out fabric for my next big craft. Looks like I'll be running back to Joann's for like 50 more things I forgot to get... but it is a start! Gotta fly...more fabric to wash :)