Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Rowan and I had a day of thrifting and shopping today - while the boys did some messing around at the hunting land. All I know is that Rowan and I came home with all sorts of treasures (to be shared post laundry) and the boys came back incredibly dirty.

Dave and his brother Jim took the kids trick or treating tonight, while I manned the treat basket at home. I may have ate my fair share of Snickers bars as well, but that is part of the job of manning the treat basket, right? Rowan was a gypsy and Griffin a T-Rex. It was mighty chilly outside, but at least no rain. Both kiddies were real troopers and were rewarded well for their perseverance. We have enough candy here to feed a small army.

Griffin is a bit crabby here - did not want to sit still to pose for me.


Rowan as a gypsy... with her "Hot Chillys" long undewear underneath her costume. The skirt was made from some sari fabric from India.

Griffin as a T-Rex. My mom bought his this costume online somewhere and he LOVES it.





Dave and his brother were then off to a Halloween party - can you guess who they are being?



If you guessed Cheech and Chong, you are right. It has been awhile (since college?) since I've seen a Cheech and Chong movie, but they did make me smile! Dave looked a bit like the painter guy on PBS, and a little like Weird Al in the Amish song video (can't remember the name now), but they sure got into it! I'm staying in with the troops to watch Harry Potter. Happy Halloween!
Disclaimer: They are holding props - just plain old paper... cross my heart...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bag (making) Lady

Despite the fact that I had an extra dog, 2 extra kids and a missing husband, I managed to get some sewing done today. My mom and step-dad dropped off their dog yesterday morning on the way to jump on a plane to Florida. My sister and I met 1/2 way between us on Friday night to get me her kiddies- and Dave was busy doing hunting stuff today. All the prep work for hunting makes the season last EVEN longer than it already is. A weekend to clear brush, a weekend to build stands, a weekend to site rifles ... you name it, they've got to do it. I've stated in the past that I feel that these weekends are more often than not really "a weekend to drink beer and hang out with brothers"... but it is not that big of a deal. Especially since the kids are getting big enough to truly entertain themselves. So while the 4 monsters were busy destroying the house, I finished 2 bags that I had started for our nieces, Sam and Alexa. Both girls had spent some time perusing my blog to find what bag that they wanted me to make them, and then they shopped and picked out their own fabrics. They did a great job with their choices, I think they turned out adorable!

Sam wanted a Pleated Beauty tote. (Sigh). I love this bag. It is from the Bend the Rules Sewing book, which is a personal favorite. I've made so many now of these bags (here, here, and here)but it is still enjoyable to make and goes together very quickly. By the time you think you are ready to sew it for real (after attaching the pleats) you are just about done! I use this one I made a while back 90% of the time as my daily purse/bag/tote. Sam also went with 2 fabrics on the main panels and a coordinating pleat fabric. I lined her bag with corduroy, since that is what I had on hand, and made the straps a little longer, in case she uses it to haul books to and from school. Here is her finished bag...

And a quick shot of the pocket inside.

Alexa wanted a Lickety Split bag (pattern by Made by Rae). This one also sews up super quick and easy. Before I made it, I made sure that I could fit school notebooks and folders in my own version. This baby can hold a ton of things, and is reversible! I had some green chenille rick rack that I added to the pockets, I lined it with a layer of flannel to make it extra sturdy- and because (I think) she mentioned liking flowers, I added a flower pin that can be removed and pinned to the reverse side on this bag.
Here is Alexa's finished bag...


And the reverse side..


A close up of the pin. I used this tutorial to make the flower.

Now, I'd better clean up some of the disaster that is my house. Night!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Vintage Swap Joy

I received my Vintage Swap package from Kiran today. Honestly, the swap gifts were so PERFECTLY me. For real. Buttons in a glass jar (sigh), a vintage homemade 1/2 apron, as well a vintage apron pattern, an embroidered tea towel and a dainty hot pad... It could make a grown woman (vintage loving one at that) shed a small tear of joy. On top of the vintage goodies, she threw in a jar of Grapefruit Lemon marmalade and a recipe for some homemade white bread. Both of these look so good, that I think Wednesday morning, before G goes to school, just may be baking time. Delish...

Here is a picture of the entire package....

Hooray for buttons!
Here is a shot of the vintage pattern (excuse the glare please). Isn't it fun??
I should have taken a few more shots of the individual items, but I was too busy putting everything in the perfect places. The button jar went to live with my others - now forming a cute, close knit little community of buttons. The apron was hung from the apron tree in my kitchen. All the better to grab one and use it, I say. The towel got a prominent spot hanging on the oven door handle... everything so perfect.

I'm not sure if Kiran got what I sent yet - so in case she is reading, this is your SPOILER ALERT. I'll be posting picture of what was sent your way last week now. Read at your own discretion! I'm guessing she should have the package any day now... should probably check the tracking number tomorrow just in case though....
Kiran had written that she liked vintage linens - and used them in both the bedrooms and kitchen. She also recently got a sewing machine. I myself love a vintage sheet - either for sewing or for using as an actual sheet (I know, the irony). While thrifting, I found a yellow twin sheet with a cute edge. I confess to thinking little girl pj pants when I spotted it, but it could be so many things :) I also picked up a little fall themed tablecloth. Looks to be homemade - hope it works for her house. I rounded things off with a yard of ribbon and 3 vintage embroidered hankies. I had one hankie in my stash and found the other 2 while out thrifting. I deliberately went with the embroidered ones as I know she has hankies of her own. I am surprised with how often I find duplicates in vintage goodies, and did not want to give her something she already had. I wrapped up the goodies in tissue paper and used vintage sewing notions to decorate the packages.... thinking the snaps and what not may come in handy with the new machine in use.
Here is the package all wrapped up.

And, unveiled. Did not realize how "yellow" it looks until now :)


This swap was so much fun. I have loved reading the blogs of all the other swappers. I confess to finding some comfort in discovering others that love vintage as much as I do.... I'm not as "odd" as I may feel some days. Or, maybe I am, but at last I have awesome company!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Gypsy skirt and ruffles

After taking the day off to be with the kids (Rowan is off of school), Dave met my mom tonight and gave her Rowan for a night at "Gouma's" with her cousin. Then Dave and Griffin went to visit his mom and dad for the night. I got home from work with NOTHING to do. Well, except that I thought we had been robbed, the house was so torn apart from Dave spending the day with the kids. Serious, I started to look for the valuables, until I remembered that we don't have any. Well, we do, they would be the kids, but I knew where they were :)

So after cleaning the house, with still NOTHING to do, I watched Glee on Hulu (as usual, I forgot to tune in last night when it was on TV). Then, feeling smiley and humming Glee songs, I suddently remembered that I had to make Rowan a gypsy skirt TODAY since we are doing "Boo at the Zoo" in Duluth this weekend to celebrate her birthday. While I had signed on to make the skirt for Halloween, I forgot about her needing a costume 2 weeks before hand for her party. Lucky, it went together fast. I used some sari fabric that my friend Kim brought home from India and crafted up a quick tiered skirt.

While sewing the skirt, my mind wandered to what I would wear to work tomorrow. It can actually wander quite freely when there is not a little boy screaming dinosaur sounds at you and pouncing around you looking for "predators" to eat while you sew. (Sniff - kind of miss him while I'm writing this). Anyways... since I could think of nothing to wear, I decided to doll up another t-shirt. No, this one was not even stained first, just boring. It is yet again, another 3/4 sleeve V-neck from Target a few years ago. I have been drooling over the fun t-shirt modifications I've seen here on the My Mama Made It blog . I took a strip of tulle and a strip from another black t-shirt and made a quick ruffle from them sewn together. Then I added it to the neckline. It maybe took 10 minutes to do... well, maybe a smidge longer since I pinned the ruffle to 3 different shirts before I went back to this one.


Here is a ruffle close up.

And the upper body shot to show it on. Does it look a bit like a racoon tail? I had to crop out my jammie pants in this picture :)

Now I am gonna crash about 2 hours ahead of schedule. Bliss. But I do miss them all...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

more thrifting - and yes I know I have a problem

It seems I've done much more thrifting of late than sewing, embroidering, crocheting or any other crafty endeavor. I've got a project hanging over my head that I NEED to finish this weekend. It is sucking all the other creativity out of me - and causing tremendous amounts of guilt as it lies incomplete. Once that is done, I've got a traffic jam of projects that will be flowing out of me - just you wait and see.

In the mean time, I thrift. I made one more quick stop today at my favorite thrift store in search of a few last minute items for my Vintage Swap partner. I did find what I was looking for and I've got this all ready to go out tomorrow, but won't blog about it until after it is out in the mail. I managed to find a few things for myself as well (ahem). But really, they were/are necessary! Dave and I closed on the cabin next door to my mom's last weekend. While we've been staying there for years, now it is officially ours.... so of course it needs more bed linens. And a full size bed is a little harder to find sheets for in department stores, right? Except when you visit a thrift store and then they are vintage fabulous! Look at this sets I found today - sheets and pillowcases. They are in such good shape I had to slap myself to NOT cut them up and make clothing out of them.


I also found my first ever vintage quilt. I see people in blog land get glorious vintage quilts all the time... but all I ever see are hideous polyester ones that are falling apart. Today, I found one that I really like. It may not be the most "pretty" quilt ever, but it is random and wonderful.

I mended a few tears, but it is in great shape for the most part. It is twin size and will look great on one of the bunks at the cabin.

While searching the toy section for more dinosaurs for G, I found a big old bag full of wooden blocks. For some reason, I swiped them up without having much of a project in mind. Then, I played around to see what I could spell with them. Look at the inspiring words I made...



Oh, and then you can see the juvenile tilt my brain also has.



A few words ended up on top of my sewing hutch... along with my other favorite treasures and my crafting books.



Last up - I had to feed my new found Pyrex addiction. I found a groovy white dish with black designs. It had the glass lid still, and is pristine. In this picture, you can also see the 3 yards of fabric I found for under 3 bucks. Love me a good thrifted fabric deal! I am seeing a skirt for Rowan for Valentines day out of this.

Hopefully the next posts I make here soon will be to show some bags I'm making for 2 nieces, some skirts and dresses I've got lined up for some little ladies and some Halloween decorating and costumes I've got to get done!

Birthday girl

My daughter Rowan turned 7 yesterday. S-E-V-E-N! I'm having a hard time believing that I have been a parent that long - where has the time gone? Seems like just yesterday Dave and I were dating and just thinking about getting married, let alone having a family that included not 1 but 2 kids. I know it is cliche, but having kids has made the time FLY by. Instead of posting all the pictures of her through the years (which I did here last year in case you want to ride the memory roller coaster with me), I opted to just show her as she is now. Here is Miss Rowan in a shot Brooke took a few weeks back.


Rowan is my sassa-frassing, 7-going on 32-year old. Full of kindness AND stubbornness, she is equally likely to be pouting about not getting to choose her outfit as she is to be cuddling with her little brother and reading him a dinosaur book. We've taken bets in the family as to whether she will be a Project Manager when she is older, because of her strict policy of following the rules and doing only things that are right, and then only in the correct order. She is my little monster. Love her.

Of course she needed a fun t-shirt to wear to school commemorating her big day... and her very advanced age. Here is Rowan in her Super Seven shirt.

She had only worn the lime green long sleeve t-shirt I opted to embellish one time, but somehow managed to get a small stain on the belly and tear a hole in one sleeve. I took another t-shirt that was much too small now and cut off the sleeves and a hunk off the back. The black shirt became new black cuffs and a big old oval to the front. I cut a quick "7" out of the oval first... and then sewed around this and the oval shape... kinda of a reverse-reverse applique.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

a quick thrift stop

I don't think I've mentioned the Vintage Swap I joined a few weeks ago. The premise being we pair up with a fellow vintage lover and swap goodies. I've had much fun perusing all the blogs of the swappers - these ladies are talented folks who love vintage goodness as much as I do. While these ladies are seemingly quite wonderful, I am blaming them for my purchase (OK, purchasES) today of some vintage baking dishes and bowls. It wasn't until I started seeing some of the collections of Pyrex or Corningware that some of them have that I began to covet them myself. While my husband may think they are unnecessary - they will allow me to purge some of the icky plastic bowls we have in house. Oh, and they are so pretty. The bowls remind me of my Grandma's house and making cookies.

We were truly in and out of the thrift store real quick - since G had to be to preschool by noon. I still managed to find some retro sheets - which always come in handy (pj pants, quilts, etc).

And best of all, I found some thrifted burlap. Well, it may not truly be burlap, since there seems to be a plastic-y coating on the back side, but it worked for the project I had in mind. After seeing this and this, I wanted to make my own burlap banner for Halloween (though I shamelessly copied the exact wording from my inspirations). I used freezer paper stencils for the letters, thrifted ribbon (the orange gingham) and buttons on the "Boo" one, and some polka dot ribbon on the Spooky one.


Please excuse the fact that I have no other fall/Halloween decor up yet - now I'll need to get a move on to accessorize with my banners :)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Another embellished T

I may have mentioned that my aunt did not like my corsage t-shirt. It may be more honest to say she did not "love" it... but from her, that means she thinks it is hideous. To get back at her, I made her one of her own. (I'll sure show her.) Anyhoo... while trying to change my Aunt's mind, I ended up having some left over magenta knit circles. Oh, and I had another stained v-neck t-shirt as well.


I know - I sound like quite the slob. What, with this stained shirt, as well as admitting the stain was the reason d'etre for my own corsage t-shirt - you may have the (partially correct) idea that I am a messy girl. Honestly, it may really have more to do with my inability to throw things away. No - for real, I know that these shirts I've been re-doing (for myself only, I am not gifting my Aunt an old stained shirt of mine - hers was new - I swear) are at least 2 or 3 years old. How do I know/remember this when I can't seem to bring the garbage to the curb each Tuesday? Well, it is because they are the perfect shirt. Not too thin, or too tight, or too long. Target now seems to only produce t-shirts that are incredibly light weight and thin, way too long for anyone under 5'11" and extremely narrow - so narrow that they accentuate any and all muffin-top one may have. Eee gads- I am not a fan. For that reason, along with being too cheap to splurge for higher end ones, I've hung on to these v-neck beauties (stains and all) from years past.

Enough 'splaining, let's talk t-shirt modification. I took two of the magenta circles, stacked them up, crimped the corner and sewed them to the shirt... just like the corsage. But, I only did 3 of these, evenly space up the neckline. Then, I added a large thrifted button on top of each that coordinated with the shirt. Ta Da- another embellished t-shirt!


I know - I know. Amazing, right? Please try to keep the applause to a minimum. HA! But honestly, it is allowing me to wear this shirt for another season, so I am a happy camper.


Here are the "flowers" close up...


And my moody, pensive stance... bored super models have NOTHING on me.


I believe I have about 7 more of these t-shirts in various colors, and in at least 3 different sizes. I may have to make a few more mods to them to spice up my 'jean and t-shirt' uniform that happens when I'm not at "work" work. Any ideas??

Colonial Apron Jumper

Last week (the week before maybe?) I picked up a piece of home decor fabric from a thrift store. It had autumn colors - brown, gold, red - and had odd, little colonial scenes on it - weather vanes, clocks with gun racks, covered wagons, lanterns, Paul Revere-type guys on horses, etc. Just kooky enough to be right up our alley here. After a quick wash and hang on the line to dry (and a rain shower or 2 and a few more days on the line to dry) Rowan and I decided it should be reincarnated into a dress. I say reincarnated because it was obviously used as something before. It was serged up either side, and had small holes poked through the top. Maybe a curtain of some sort? Which is somewhat ironic, since the fabric I chose to line and make straps with was actually curtains in our last home. Huh.

Regardless, we used the Everyday Chaos Apron Dress tutorial and gave this fabric new life. The tutorial was wonderful - I love when people who take the time to grace us with their sewing wisdom have children the same age/size as mine! Hooray! I was able to make it using the exact dimensions (to make a size 6/7) for Rowan. I ended up having to cut a bit more off the hem than I had planned- forgot to take those odd holes into account when I cut the back of the skirt. I had to hem them off. So now it is really more of a tunic than a dress... but we are "dress with jeans underneath" kind of people here anyway! Here is what I'm calling our Colonial Apron Jumper...


And here is the back.


Seriously - there are clocks on this fabric...and lumberjacks and cannons. Strange but somewhat wonderful at the same time.

Instead of knotting the straps, Rowan wanted to have buttons. She spent the entire hour (or so) while I was sewing choosing buttons from my stash. She wanted the shiny, diamond-like clear plastic ones so badly - but I had to stick with what went well with the fabric and nix them. I felt bad- but promised they could be part of her Gypsy ensemble for Halloween.


While posing for pictures, Rowan kept closing her eyes. That is the reason for the possessed, stepford-esque gleam in her eyes here. Still cute, though, if you ask her biased mama...

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Very belated gift...

I felt justified in asking for a day of sewing today- it being my birthday and all. We are having a spell of terrible weather - rainy, dreary, cold... blah. Perfect sewing weather though, so I was able to finish a gift for my Aunt Nancy's birthday - which occurred just under a month ago. Ironic that I finished her birthday gift on my birthday, huh? She mailed me a fantastic package last week - some retro oilcloth and a corrugated metal pig (I'll blog it later - you gotta see it to believe), so the guilt was KILLING me.

With one of the amazing family pictures that Brooke took of Nance's family when they were home this summer, I made up another Tadpole photo tote. I used printable fabric for the photo and Tina Givens Cloe's Imagination fabric for the exterior. The interior is some thrifted floral fabric - I added 2 large pockets inside and I closed it with a magnetic clasp.


Because she did not *love* my corsage shirt of last week, I am passively aggressively trying to change her mind. I found a clearance shirt at Target this week, and I added a mini corsage to the neckline out of some thrifted knit fabric.


Maybe a smaller flower will change her mind?


This will all be popped in the mail Monday morning - along with a vintage pillowcase. She liked this shirt I made, and since I had the matching pillowcase, I thought she could make her own to match (if she wants!). Happy belated Nancy!


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Scrappy Scarves

Sew Mama Sew is hosting Scrap Buster Month this month. They are posting daily ideas on things to make using your scraps. I have a plethora of scraps and the posting of a patchwork scarf over there is adorable. Add that to the 50 degree weather of late we've had, and I was sold. Rather, Rowan and I were both sold. Due to some misadventures had by Griffin today, it was a "no TV" night around here, so Rowan was actually bored enough to want to bond with me a smidge. I had her pick out the scraps she liked first. While I manned the iron (why oh why would I use those words together in a sentence? "Man the iron"? HA! Dave isn't even sure we have one... let alone how it works! Oh, but I digress...), Rowan organized her scraps. She sat on my lap while I did the pedal and she fed the fabric through the machine - lifting the foot for me when needed and cutting the thread. She picked purple fleece for the back side of her scarf, so she can stay toasty warm. For the first time EVER she was sewing with me. I am not naive enough to think it will be a daily activity now, but she did great and is excited to wear her new scarf to school tomorrow. Baby steps. Here is Rowan scarf.



I opted to "bust" some thrifted quilt squares (kind of scraps) I picked up a while back for my scrap busting scarf. I chose all blues and reds - and backed it with some thrifted aqua knit fabric I found last week. I did not want a bulky, heavy scarf. I am fairly warm blooded and don't need the heat that the scarf produces, I just like the way it dresses up a coat. I think it turned out fairly retro-funky. A bit grandmarm-y, but I love it.


Here is a close up of one half...


And the other.

Much too tired and late to blog my nighttime look for y'all. But I wanted to show the size of it on. (I have a couple friends who crack up when I cut off my face/head in pics I post - so this is for you guys! Believe you me, it is a favor :))


Now I'm off to vacuum up the zillion threads on the floor... nighty night!