Saturday, April 26, 2008

bloggy giveaways!

i won! i never win anything, but this time around, i've won twice! a $20 starbuck's gift card from annie's eyes, and a set of original art note cards from life more abundant. visit their new etsy store my heap of canvas, they just opened! thanks to everyone else who participated, the next bloggy giveaway carnival will be in july!

gift giving

after waffling over whether to try to repair the tote or sending the simple toile bag, i decided to go with the toile. i stuffed it with a bunch of goodies that hopefully will bring a smile to her face! i included the latest issue of everyday foods, a tube of juiced berry v.s. lip gloss, a bag of assorted lindor truffles, some heather bailey and amy butler charm squares, and a starbuck's gift card. i love giving gifts!

good thing, because i have a baby shower to attend tomorrow! i wrapped it today, and i included one of my baby jingle balls, two bibs, a board book, binkies and some store boughtclothes. i just love baby clothes! i'm not brave enough to even think about sewing baby knits, but my friend aimee is! check out the cute stuff she's made!

Friday, April 25, 2008


so here is the bag i made for the lunchbox swap...

it's reversible, and has brown grosgrain ribbon & topstitching just for fun. this tote was made with the tiny happy tutorial, and it goes together pretty fast. you can add a pocket inside, but i left it off so you could turn it inside out. i also thought a cell phone pocket inside the strap would be nice. the strap is long enough to run across my chest, but not too long that it drags against my hips when i walk. but that's me at 5'4'', AA, you're on your own to do your numbers! this weekend i will post pics of a few other bags i made.

the end

have you ever been in a sewing relationship, and you just knew it wasn't going to work out, almost from the beginning? but, you had hopes and dreams so you stuck with it. you shop together, spending time, getting to know each other, but there are pitfalls all along the way. looking back, you knew you weren't right for one another. but finally, it happens, you break up over something fairly minor - maybe you run out of bobbin thread while topstitching - and you don't want to see that project for like, ten years, right?

that's how i feel about my tote. PLEASE, Kerri - don't take offense, your tutorial was great and if i had actually followed the instructions and thought about what i was doing and purchased the correct materials for the job, it would have had a happy ending.

ok, enough blather, let's just say that i kept screwing up on the tote, from the fabrics i chose - (too lightweight, & the print kept stretching out of square) - the interfacing - (sucked! wouldn't fuse! looks crappy & puckery on the fabric!) - to my topstitching (that i totally blame on the machine. topstitching is something i remember being very proud of being good at) and then i was supposed to do some math and that's where it all fell apart. tammie + numbers = disaster. i forgot to remove the allowance for the zippered pocket - which i left out on purpose - and so when i sewed up the lining it was too big for the bag. of course, i didn't try it on until after i sewed in the bottom. and that's when i threw in the towel. the thought of picking all five of those seams apart was too much. (EDIT- see, numbers again. that would be 8 seams to rip out)

she would have been rather cute, though. when i'm not feeling so frustrated with her, i will finish her up right. i wish i had done a better job, i think she'd have been perfect for my swap partner.

i think i am going to hold off on any more swaps right now, and just practice my seam-stress skills with out the -stress. i was excited over the lunchbox swap, because the criteria was really just "hey, make something prettier than a plastic bag to tote your lunch in". but then, the photos began to appear in the flickr pool and i panicked a bit because everyone is so advanced! there's embroidery and hand dyed things and applique! so i tried to do something a bit out of my range.

or maybe, it's just out of my sewing machine's range, i'm not sure. i'm thinking my $20 craig's list score may not be such a steal after all. i'm having issues with the tension, it doesn't appear to have any way to lengthen the stitches for basting, and it doesn't seem to feed stuff through very well. what do i know though? i haven't sewed in years and years, and i thought it would be like riding a bike. but i'm battling the "if i only had a ???" issues too. like, if i had a serger, if i had a craft room, if i had more time.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

head on over...

so i am totally jealous of tracey & her new dressform. but i can still be happy for her! she makes it easy, since she's hosting a contest. give the girl a name for a chance to win an adorable craft apron!

Friday, April 18, 2008

it's official

ok, i finally decided. this is the tote i am making, it's calling for exactly the amounts of everything i have. it will be the floral bottom & sides, brown handles, and turquoise lining. and although it calls for heavyweight interfacing, she says it looks as nice with medium, which is what i have. i may reinforce the bottom with plastic like she mentions, just to give it a little more stability. & i am definitely leaving out the zippered divider pocket this time. i haven't done a zipper in many, many years, & if i recall right, i sucked at them. ok, wish me luck, i'm off to begin cutting!

bag envy

so i am probably the only slacker that doesn't have a good start on my lunchbox bag yet. i popped in to the flickr group and now i am feeling really sorry for my swap partner! there are some fantastic bags on there! i tried a bag of my own design, and it's just not coming together as i envisioned. i used an amy butler print, some solid brown and some natural material, and did a patchwork for the front and back. but i don't like the way the natural looks with it, i think all brown will be boring, and i have tried unsuccessfully to match the turquoise in the print. so i may throw in the towel and go with my backup, a brown floral with a matching turquoise lining. it will be cute too, but i really wanted to use the a.butler fabric as a way of compensating for my beginner seamstress skills.

anyways, since i am essentially starting over i decided to try a pattern this time, maybe i will be able to add in something special using someone else's design. i found this fun tute for a bagsket. i'd try this out tonight, the only drawback being that i don't have any heavyweight interfacing. i saw a similar design posted in the pool, using a store bought basket as a bottom. another idea i had was to knit a base out of cotton yarn, but i'm nervous about sewing fabric to the knitting. i've never combined that before. and i only have a week left!

Monday, April 14, 2008

dishcloth swap#4

2 new washcloths, one new(to me) pattern.
find the waffle cloth pattern here
find the chinese waves pattern here

has anyone knit with the peaches & cream red yarn before? i am concerned about it bleeding in the wash. i know that my other colored cloths faded with repeated washings, but is the red worse? should i warn my swap partner about potential issues?

do try out the patterns though, they work up quickly and are easily memorized. i made my waffle pattern 2 cream color repeats shorter than called for (6 cream, 2 red, 4 cream), and i added the stripes to the waves pattern to make a matching set. i'm wishing i'd bought some of the mrs. meyers dish soap gift sets last christmas. they had small bottles, sold in sets of three, which would have been fun to include with these. next year i won't forget!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

clean out your closets

here's a cool tutorial for a fall/winter apron. i know i have at least three sweaters destined for a new life as a bag or pot holders, but i never would have thought of this on my own.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

sewing sassy swap stuff

to my swap partner pinkaboo in the flirty apron swap - i hope your apron arrives tomorrow! i mailed it on the 31st, and like an idiot i just shipped it regular mail. which at the time seemed fine, but now that i am worrying over whether it's gotten there (& if you like it) , it seems like the extra cash would have been money well spent. my own apron hasn't come yet either, hopefully tomorrow! i can't wait to see it!

anyways, the summer sassy apron swap sign up is going on now. and yes, i am going to try this one out too! i have a new apron pattern that i want to make, it's a smock style with bias tape edges and it gives me an excuse to experiment with bias tape.

i also got a new look pattern for emma, a sweet little sundress & top and pants. i know i want to make the dress out of a green floral with pink trim, and maybe another style in a red floral. and i have a great dobby stripe which i think will be cute as the pants set.

i have a pretty full plate for the next month. by next week i need to mail off a dishcloth swap. then the following week the lunchbox is due (1/4 completed) and then the week after that is another dishcloth swap and mother's day apron swap deadline. eek! the good news is that i have a sitter for the older kids tomorrow night, so i am planning to pick up what i need to finish those projects. hopefully photos will be posted by sunday!

Friday, April 4, 2008

cast on

i cannot wait for my husband to be off this crazy work schedule! 6 twelve hour shifts a week, at night, means no time for anything. i am hoping to have some time this weekend, when my folks come to visit, to work on my lunchbox and some other sewing.

meanwhile, i'm still whipping out washcloths left & right. there's something so satisfying to me about them. i still remember making my first one. it was a grandmother's favorite, and i was propped up in bed one night, slogging along, so thrilled when i finally hit 50 stitches and could start decreasing again. the only problem i have is that i don't need any more myself, and all the ones that i've given as gifts are still waiting to be used! has anyone else experienced that? no one wants to mess them up. my MIL is using them as doilies!

i still pass over any patterns which require actually keeping track of what row you're on, and any stitch patterns that change it up within each row. but knitting has become comfortable. and i also found that i've relaxed a lot in my tension. i was going to finish off a garter stitch facecloth i began about 2 years ago. i found it hiding on a stitch holder and decided just to complete it in garter. only, my stitches are so much looser now that i frogged the whole thing and made a different cloth altogether.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

finding my space

i have been trying to figure out where to have my craft room in this house. troy was generous & told me i could have the nook upstairs, with a window that looks out to the lake. but as tempting as that is, it's also right at the top of the stairs & part of the living room, which means that my mess would be visible. yikes! i also don't want to have to run downstairs to the iron, and i think i'd work on things more if they were on the main floor. the mudroom was calling to me, but troy didn't care for that idea.

so i've been tossing it around, & i think i am going to reshelve the laundry room. the shelves that are in there are fine, they just need to be repositioned and i can add 2 more. i'm going to paint the walls the pale blue of the adjoining bath, and the shelves a bright green (i think). then i can store all my supplies on the main floor. i've begun the process tonight, sorting out notions into a rolling cart and folding fabrics. i need to decide, though, if it can hold all my craft stuff or just my sewing. i have a big yarn stash too. and don't even get started on my cake stuff, troy about had a heart attack when he realized the pantry was full of decorating items.

i'll post some pics, although this project will probably take some time. i am hoping to be done by memorial day. wish me luck!


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