Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Recent thrifting

G and I went to a few thrift store last week... seems we do best when we stop in FREQUENTLY. We find a little each time. Here are some of my recent favorites....

Always find SOME fabric and/or linens. The top right side is a yard or so of an Amy Butler fabric - yep, 99 cents. Some pillow cases (the green one bottom left looks like IKEA and wants to be pjs for Griff, while the one on the right is vintage fabulous), some knit fabric and a large retro sheet. So many ideas... so little time :)

Also found this painted red picnic basket. It is not as shiny in life as this picture looks...I love it. It is holding my current sewing projects.

I found enough buttons to fill about 1/2 of the left most jar...

A large serving plate (with our muffins from breakfast today)...

Grace and LuLu (Rowan's dolls) got a new wagon for their toys. (The bunk bed was a previous find... and I whipped up the mattresses from some ticking).

Rowan learned all about Perler beads this summer when her cousins were in town. I found tons of beads and some of the molds/forms... 6 bucks for it all. Now we just have to keep sorting the dang beads!

I love her first Perler bead design... peace out!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Corsage T-Shirt

I saw Adrienne blog here about making a corsage on the neckline of a t-shirt a while back, and filed it away (ahem...mentally) for "someday". Yesterday became someday when I discovered a small stain on one of my favorite (read: most comfortable) t-shirts. I found an old blue shirt in the "scrap" pile and cut out 2 sizes of circles - one the size of a jam jar lid and one the size of my 1/4 cup measuring cup. I cut out 18 of each and then set the smaller on top of the larger. I followed Adrienne's directions - putting a small fold/crimp in them and then sewing them on to the neckline of my shirt.

Here is a shot of the cutting. I'd recommend NOT using a fabric marker to trace, as I had to wash it prior to wearing it. I think a pencil would have worked fine.

And a close up of the finished corsage...

I showed Dave the finished T and he asked "But what shirt will you really put the blue thing on?". Guess he is not as enamored as I am with it?

Not sure if you can see, but as few of the upper flower "petals" have writing on them. I thought it would add a bit of character.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Family Photos

One of my bestest BF took family photos of us last weekend. We have been talking of doing it for quite some time, but it took until the first leaves started changing for me to actually set a date with Brooke. We had a fun time- my kids are so comfortable with their "auntie" Brooke that they really did not realize we were doing an actual photo session. She posted a few pics of us on her blog this week, so I'm borrowing (umm..stealing, but they are watermarked with Tadpole Photography) a few of my favs to share. I love LOVE love what she does... she really captures my kiddies being who they genuinely are. And me too, I guess, as you'll notice since I'm more comfortable coaxing Griffin's eyes up or trying to make Dave smile and relax, than actually looking into the camera myself.

I got my "green grass" shot...

Love this one. I can't help but think as I look at it how very soon the little ones on the left side will be taller than at least one of us on the right side.

I love Rowan's eyes in this one.... so serious... or was she glaring at me?

Love my sweet boy who picked the dandelion himself...turns out he was quite the poser.

Sometimes I wonder how one person can be so genuinely nice and extremely talented and beautiful - BL you are AMAZING. If I did not love you so dang much, I'd probably hate you! You may remember, she took photos of just the kids last year. Loved these... and probably would have just opted for new kid pics this year, but after seeing some of the great shoots she has done of families lately (like this (my Aunt's session) and this (my sister's session)), I wanted to get us all in a few pictures. Can't wait to see all the finished pics!! Thanks BL - LOVE them!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Quick Serged Birdie Shirt

Since I've grown some confidence with my serger (even decided to finally name her! The kids and I christened her Nessie), I decided it was time to try serging some knit fabric. I have been told that is where a serger comes in REALLY handy, so I've been anxious to give it a shot. I picked up an odd piece of magenta knit fabric at a thrift store. Odd in that it was a large tube of fabric with no seam. Anyone know why or what it was meant to be? I've never seen fabric sold as a tube before, but since it was thrifted, who knows what it started as?

Anyhoo... I decided a quick, down and dirty T-shirt was an easy answer for my first try. I simply laid one of Rowan's favorite shirts on top of the fabric and cut out the shape. No separate sleeves or anything... I just serged up the sides and on top of the shoulders. I then added a cute piece of Alexander Henry's Birdseed fabric as an applique and voila - it was done.

Here is Miss Rowan in her shirt - along with her banged up knees :)

Well, it was almost done. After Rowan took it off, I experimented a little with a lettuce edging on the hem, neck and sleeves...

So NOW it is really done. Voila!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

First Day... continued

Griffin started preschool this week. Monday was orientation, but today was the first day I actually left him on his ow. OK - so we are talking about 2 hours here, but still... he is my baby!

Jumping for joy... for real.

This pic is too dang dark, but his smile is perfect. He is so proud of himself and excited to see all his friends. To him it is just a formality that he has never met them before. I love how he goes in with the mindset that they are all just friends waiting to happen.

He totally loved it. They had a box of costumes to play with and he quickly confiscated a "daddy tie" to wear. He drew me a picture and played with blocks. Life is good when you are 5, huh?
I should have about 11 yards of fabric arriving tomorrow via UPS. had an amazing sale that I heard/read about on the everyday chaos blog. How can you ignore Tina Givens fabric for $2.79 a yard??? Seriously people, I realize I might have a slight fabric addiction, but finding it for under $3/yard is like Christmas in September! I am lining up the projects in my head and plan to get a kick start on the holiday gift making.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Zippered Wristlets galore

I spent the better part of today trying to find and perfect a zippered pouch/wristlet pattern. I tried the Zip Pouch pattern in my trusty Bend the Rules Sewing book and added a strap... I tried this one here I found googling "Zipper Pouch Tutorial". Both were good patterns/directions, but neither of these produced the sharp, pretty corners I was looking for. Since these versions were trials, I made them in kid happy fabric, thinking that the monsters could use them for something if they bombed. Rowan thinks hers (the one with ducks) will be a great place to store her guitar picks. Griffin mentioned putting "needles" in his frog pouch, but I think that was due to me having to pick a needle out of his sock as he walked near my sewing land, not due to some nasty drug habit he has. Here are the "Trial" wristlets...

After many more google searches and some flickr stalking, I decided to buy Oh Fransonn's Wristlet 3 Ways pattern.

It is one thing to admire the pictures of a pattern, it is another to make it look nice yourself. I am happy to report that my own version turned out pretty dang good. Not perfect - but nothing is that I make. I keep telling myself that is the beauty of homemade, right? Regardless, here is the one I just finished. These may be on my Holiday crafting list this year...

The zipper corners on these babies are so nice. I realize that for those who have not spent an entire day searching for the perfect zipper corners, this may sound odd, but take my word for it, these rock. Oh, and I used a D-ring for the handle. Tres professional, non?

I love these Good Folks fabrics. No trial fabric for me :)

Now that I've cracked the case of the imperfect wristlet zipper corners, I'm off to bed!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Birthday Shirt

As you may have seen in the post from yesterday, my son just turned 5 years old. Griffin is totally enamored with his father and wants to emulate him in every way possible. One of his various quirks is to wear a "daddy shirt" and tie almost everyday of the week. Here he is last night after his Birthday dinner - note the ensemble.

We've sized down plenty of Dave's ties for him...and I scour thrift stores to find new (to him) button down shirts whenever I can. But let's face is not always practical, comfortable or reasonable for a five year old to wear a necktie.

After recently seeing a nephew's t-shirt with a neck tie screen printed on it, I decided to make up my own version for Griffin's birthday. I had a spare t-shirt from Joanns hanging around and used reverse applique and a piece of an old shirt of Dave's that was in the scrap pile to create a tie.
Here is a close up of the tie.

While he does not like it as much as the real deal, he did tell me it would be ok for playing in. Such love ;)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Happy Birthday G!

My baby turned 5 today. He woke me up by climbing into our bed and asking "Am I not 5 yet until it is light out?". Love him.

I borrowed this picture from his cousin Maddie - who appreciates his naughtiness.

Best buds and drooly monsters - Oliver and G - both under a year old.

Here is the other best bud...Sissy and Griff on his first birthday.

A mommy smooch for Griffin at 3 months old.

Lucky for us this sign of temper (below) was not permanent, or even normal.

We love you G.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

First day...

Rowan did amazing getting on the bus, but I'm a bit of a mess this morning. I was up til way after midnight worrying about everything that could possibly go wrong for her today...while she slept like a log. When I said to Dave "Don't you remember staying up thinking (worrying) the night before the first day of school?" he gave me the crazy woman look. It was 1 a.m by this time, but I take from his expression that not everyone did this? I remember thinking and re-thinking outfits...down to the appropriate shoes and necklaces... or neon lace hear ribbon... worrying about where my locker would be and who it would be next to...wonder if we would sit alphabetical or randomly... wonder if we'd have to actually do phy ed activities the first week or not...and if we did, would I sweat a lot....etc, etc, etc. Some of it was pure excitement, but there was plenty of worry mixed in as well.

I guess Rowan is her father's daughter. She bounced down the stairs fully dressed and smiling at 7 a.m. This is not normal behaviour for her - mind you - as she normally comes begrudgingly down after being called for about an hour and then has a laundry list of grievances to report. We only had one argument about her hair and compromised fairly quickly on pig tails. I'm forever fighting the battle to keep her hair out of her face, while she hates having it pulled back in any way.
Rowan picked out her clothes for today, with minimal mom input. You'll notice she is not wearing a single homemade item... sigh. She was most excited to wear her new DC shoes that Dad bought her. You may also notice (below) that little brother can't seem to get his thumb out of his mouth until 9 a.m.

I chopped her head off in this pic, but you can see how excited she was here!

I teared up after she got on the bus, and asked Griffin if he thought we should hop in the car and follow her bus to school. He gave me the crazy woman look as well and said "But isn't the bus just taking her to school? How 'bout if we go and buy doughnuts instead?". Glad I have him to distract today!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Paint Shirt

Rowan needed a paint shirt for school this year... and she was adamant about wearing one of her Dad's. Since school starts TOMORROW (eek!) and we were on the Great Folder Hunt of 2009 for about 3 hours today, we had just a little time left for crafting one of her Dad's into a paint shirt. We started with a worn out "daddy shirt", as Griffin calls a button down Oxford shirt, with intentions to wear it backwards. We cut off the sleeves at Rowie's elbow and I hemmed it with a pretty little flower stitch that my sewing machine can do. I used the same flower stitch to sew across the back yoke of the shirt as well. Rowan told me about the shirts she wore last year in Kindergarten that had Velcro up the back (the real front). This seemed like a great idea, so I sewed about a foot and a half of Velcro to the button section - but left the buttons on for added cuteness. While they are not necessary, I added some pockets and ric rac to the front. We stitched on a little frayed applique heart, and voila! Here it is....

A close up of the Velcro. And you can see that I Sharpie'd her name on the pocket. Everything seems to need a label for school. Down to the individual crayons...

Little brother wanted in the picture as well....goof balls.

I'm having a hard time imagining Rowan on the bus tomorrow - it will be her first time, since we drove her to a different school last year so she could go everyday. Ack! Will they be nice to her? Will she know when to get on and off on her own? Will she get lost at her new school? Will she be able to speak up if she needs something? I could go on and on, but it is actually making it worse to put my fears in writing. She needs me to head upstairs now to put in my vote for the best first day of First Grade outfit. Nighty night!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Family Tree

This project has been in the works for awhile. The first time, I started, stopped, stalled and then gifted it slightly undone to my Aunt (she has 2 little birdies as well and I thought she would love it). Then, after finding another huge embroidery hoop at the thrift store, the second one was started, stalled, hated, loved and then finally finished today. Ta Da!

I made the Family Tree project from the Stitched in Time book by Alicia Paulson (yep, again with this book... love it!). I used the templates to cut out a tree, a bunch of leaves, a nest, a mama and daddy bird, and sized these birds down to make a sister and brother bird as well. The only real modifications I made were to make the project in a giant hoop and to use all cotton fabrics (instead of felt). Oh, and I left off the names on the birds, and opted instead for copying this pillow and inscribing our family name on it. I may still opt to add some buttons to the project as decoration, but I want to hang it on the wall and live with it awhile first and make sure it is not too busy. But truly, since I love bright and "busy", I'm guessing it will end up with some buttons as well some day.

I had a love-hate relationship with the applique on this. On my first try, I used wonder under on all the pieces and it worked well. On this one, I ignored the sage advice from the book and tried to just stick them all on without thinking about how a frayed, naked edge would look on the birds. I should have folded the edges under and stitched/appliqued them on that way. Instead, I had to make double and triple laps around the birds before they stuck on, finally doing some more blanket stitching on a few to really hold them in place. As you may have guessed by the moniker, I dabble in these crafty things, I don't necessarily excel in them. Embroidery is a self taught (by books) endeavor here, so definitely not perfect. Took me like 100 times before I could get the damn french knots to work. I still don't know why they finally did work, but not the first 99 times either. Please don't look too close at the stitching, just back up and gaze and the finished project :)

All that said, I do love this project a lot! It has a very handmade feel and makes me smile. The kids LOVE it and have been showing everyone which bird they are. I can't wait to hang it up in the perfect spot.. as yet to be found. It has to be where we can see it everyday, but from enough of a distance where I can't critique my stitches too much!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Quick Quilt

So very quick, and so very eco-friendly as well. I used thifted sheets and pillowcases to make a quick quilt this past weekend. I stayed around the white, yellow and green color palette...with some 1970's rust and avocado thrown in for fun. You may recognize a few of the squares from various clothing items I've made myself in the past. I may be slightly embarrassed if you catch me wearing this or this while wrapped up in my new quilt this winter! This is only my second finished quilt... and while not perfect, it will make for a few more sunny picnics this year and some cozy snuggling this winter.

The quilt squares are very large - 15 1/2" x 15 1/2"... which I used a) to best fit the organic batting (crib size) I had on hand and b) to get it done as quickly as possible. The binding is more strips of sheets and pillowcases. The back is part of one large vintage sheet. I debated doing a fun strip of color and patchwork on the back, but honestly, last time I tried it, my back got wonky and never squared up with the front again. I went for the easy route and kept the backing whole and boring. I first quilted it with a double row of stitching along all the "ditches" and wanted to be done. Then, while reading the great binding directions in my trusty Bend the Rules Sewing, I saw that Amy recommends quilting things within 4 to 6 inches to minimize the chance of the batting shifting. Her advice is golden for me, so I drew some quick diagonals with my yard stick and disappearing ink fabric pen and quilted diagonals into it as well... creating X's in each square. Nothing elaborate or fancy, but it seems to do the trick.

I sewed on the binding by hand last night while watching football with the family. My in-laws were in town on a rare visit, so I was able to gab and sew at the same time. I may have not paid all that much attention to the football game, but I did manage the much envied triple threat of chatting, sewing and drinking some vino. Heavenly.
Why the need to make such large squares and get it done so quick and dirty? I've been dreaming of a thrifted sheet picnic quilt all summer and we are getting to the end of ours now. I may have only a few more weeks where the monsters and I can lay out our new quilt in the grass or sand and enjoy the last bits of sunshine and warm weather. You can bet we'll get in as much as we possibly can before the snow falls...