Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween

This was the extent of my pumpkin decor - and it turns out, the acrylic paint worked fine this time!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mouse Pad

I would love to have a new mouse pad at work. Just realized that I saved this tutorial a while back - I have cork and scraps of fabric. I might try making myself one this weekend...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

His and Hers Pillowcases

A while back, I decided to make a "his and hers" set of pillowcases. I saw a floral flannel that I liked, but didn't think hubby would be too fond of the coral-y pink and the flowers. So I bought him a circle print.

Now that it finally feels like fall, I really wanted to get these pillowcases finished. I bought the two main fabrics a while back, but it was on a whim and I didn't really know how much I needed. Once I washed it up, I saw that I needed just a little more to get them the right size. I decided to make the cuffs match each other to bring the two cases together a little bit. There was a big sale at Joann this weekend, and since I was there anyways I bought the last little bit I needed. This was a pretty quick project, and I did hardly any measuring and only a little cutting. The construction is simple, too.

I used 3/4 yd of the "main" fabric on each one, plus 1/4 yd of the contrasting cuff (so 1/2 yd total of contrast for 2 pillows [or] 1 yd total per pillowcase). I washed it all first, then trimmed it up to make everything straight and make the two main fabric pieces the same size. I just cut the contrasting fabric in half (lengthwise - to get 2 long strips). I don't know what size I ended up with, but pillowcases are pretty forgiving so let's not worry about that.

I decided to use French seams to keep everything nice and enclosed. I also hadn't used French seams before and wanted to see how it went. I started by lining up one cuffed piece (folded in half, wrong sides together) with one body piece - keep wrong sides together first, and line up the raw edges. Sew along that edge (3/8" allowance?), then flip them around so right sides are together, like usual. Sew along there with a slightly bigger allowance (or trim the 1st one down and sew with the same allowance, but I didn't want to mess with trimming, etc). It helps to press the seam open after the 1st step, then press it again when you flip it so that 2nd seam is smoother.
You'll end up with a nicely enclosed seam. That's the finished seam between cuff and body below. (I didn't take pics of the other pillowcase because I sewed it right sides together to start and didn't want to rip the seam out. So it has one "regular" seam, haha).

I did the bottom seam next, exactly the same way (make sure it's all lined up, sew with wrong sides together, then right sides together). Then I trimmed everything before I sewed the side seam, because I must sew crooked and my sides weren't lining up nicely. :)

See how you have an ugly outside seam for a while? That's what you want for the first step. I am always messing up on right sides together/wrong sides together/make sure things match/etc etc. I had to keep reminding myself to do it this way, which is why the first seam on "his" pillowcase isn't a French seam.

You're all done! Just three seams to sew (6 if you count the inside out/outside in/doubleness of French seams).
Stuff with pillow.
Admire your new sew of pillowcases. (Ignore how they don't match the rest of your bedding).

Enjoy the lovely snuggliness of flannel.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sewing Class

For my birthday, my parents gave me money to use for a sewing class. Now, I have to decide what class I want to take. I've looked at a few options:

* A 5 week "Intermediate Sewing" course covering sewing a shirt? That would help me with a lot of garment sewing things that kind of scare me (like arm holes!)
* A 2-day class to sew a knit dress? Has the garment construction things AND knit (which scares me a little)
* A class to sew a pencil skirt
* A "dresses" class
* Something else???

I need to do more research on what's available around here, but I'm also indecisive and might take too much time trying to decide! It might be better to wait until after the holidays anyways. We'll see.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bag Swap - Finished Bag

Since I know my partner, Bess, got her bag, I'll go ahead and post all the pics. I used the Ruthie Clutch from Anna Maria Horner with Amy Butler's Wallflower print in Sky. I lined it with a yellow Kona cotton (I think it's Maize), and I found a nice wooden button for the closure. I love this big, oversized clutch! And I love the fabric. And I had fun making it.

I changed two things in the pattern:
1) I added a slip pocket on the lining, basically just a big rectangle divided into 3 pockets. *note* I totally forgot that I wanted to do this until I'd already sewn the lining... so it took a bit of trickery to get it sewn in there! I wrote myself a nice note on the pattern for next time

2) I pleated the exterior instead of just gathering it. It's sort of a hybrid gathered-pleat thing, especially in the back. I just wasn't liking the way it was looking with regular gathers. I was more purposeful on the front and actually ironed out (in?) the pleats before gathering; on the back I did the opposite (which is why it became the back).

I had a little trouble with the interfacing on the top band too, because apparently it was a couple of inches narrower from the bolt than the pattern called for. I didn't even think to check the width, because I used the interfacing she recommended. Oh well, nothing I could do about it by the time I figured it out (sorry, Bess!) It's one of those things that gives it character. When I bought the pattern, I was told that her instructions for the band were a little weird and the shop owner told me another way to do it. When I got home and read the pattern, though, I decided to just do it as written. The only trouble was keeping the interfacing at the right spot in the fabric band when I was fusing it, because the fabric ends up wrapping around it and getting stitched into the lining very nicely - but I had several spots where it didn't go as nicely because I had the interfacing too high. If that makes any sense at all... Basically, I might just cut the band bigger next time so I can get it to cover my inside seam.

I also sent her a little zippered pouch because, well, I wanted to make one. My last attempt at a zipper was not great. This one was much better.

I wanted the package to look fun when it arrived too, and I got a great bag from a store the other day that I decided to re-use. It was a flat bag, so I just cut off a little from one side of the top, like so:

Rounded it off to make a prettier flap:

And put a piece of paper on top for the address.

And I definitely plan to make one of these for myself. But not until I finish at least a few other things... I did get a WIP finished yesterday, though! However, I have managed to destroy the pictures. Well, not destroy, but Aperture thinks they're lost. And this being the first time I've ever used Aperture, I don't know how to make it see them. And unless Aperture sees them, I have to re-edit them all. Boo.

But the bag is done, and I'm expecting a package in the mail. Lovely!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Slow Sunday

Today feels like fall, which makes me happy. It's rainy outside, and we get to stay inside where it's nice and cozy. We had pumpkin pancakes for breakfast - they were really good (I used this recipe, from Martha Stewart Living through Urban Comfort). I'm in the midst of washing fabrics, sewing, some crocheting... and I think there will be some Grey's Anatomy in a bit. With hot apple cider.

I'm also working on getting an Etsy shop up and running. Right now, I'm stuck on figuring out a name! I know it's not the most vital thing ever, but I can't really change it once it's done and all the names I've liked are already taken!

My clutch for the Bag Swap is done and mailed as of yesterday. I'll give it a couple of days and then post pics.

**I went to go find my camera and got totally distracted. Pictures tomorrow! Much crafty/sewing goodness going on today, including new flannel pillowcases. Yay. :) Now it's time for Grey's & apple cider.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Crazy. I had no idea.

from TrekNature

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bag Swap! Part 2

The bag is finished! I need to take some pictures, wrap it up, and ship it out. And then make myself one, because I really like it. :)

That means there's 1 less item on the WIP list, too!

I also did a little thrifting over the weekend. Pics to come. (I always think of these things at night).

*Finished: here*

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Birthday Pt. 2

Today is my husband's birthday, and we celebrated our birthdays together with my family last night and with his family tonight. I now have money for sewing classes, fabric, new clothes, and coffee - these people know me well!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Colors & Value

Last month, I went to the library and ended up checking out First-Time Quiltmaking: Learning to Quilt in Six Easy Lessons by Becky Johnston. I wanted something to flip through in case I got stuck somewhere on the baby quilt. At the back of the book, it shows quilts made by beginning quilters (the book is basically the lessons she teaches to new quilters in classes). These caught my eye, because they're all the same design but it comes across so differently in each one. I think it's just the values of the fabrics they each chose, so I popped them into black & white to make the value more obvious. Here they are:

In this one, the center (plain) squares are the lightest value,
stripes are mid-tone on edges with darkest in the middle-
to me, the centers look like a background and stripes pop off
(forgive the weird cropping, they overlapped in the book)

center squares are darkest
stripes have mid-tone (one a little darker) on edges with lightest in the middle-
the centers float over the background of layered squares

centers are very light,
stripes have very dark on one edge, light in middle, midtone on other edge-
ends up looking like squares with edges chopped off; also pattern looks more like the first one

this has a midtone in centers,
stripes have dark tone on one edge, mid-tone on other, and lightest in middle-
the center squares at the "intersections" float above the background squares

I'm not into analyzing what values do to each other at the moment, but I think this is an interesting reference in case I ever make a quilt and happen to actually consider the values before I pick out fabrics (not likely - I'll probably see/buy fabric and decide to make a quilt, not the other way around).

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Autumn Potholders

Aren't these cute? I plan to make myself a version of this. I say "version" because I'm not going to go buy wool felt for it, but I have an old sweater that's a pretty rusty red that - I just checked - is 100% wool! It doesn't fit, and at one point was in a Goodwill bag. Luckily I saved it. And kept it with no specific plans. But voila! Instant made plans. Maybe I can rescue some other fall colored sweaters at Goodwill itself, because I'd really rather have a multicolor potholder.

I also love that blue Le Creuset in the background. And I want to make a pretty little tablecloth. And eat soup. And have fall weather (it's been in the 90's!!!)

Instructions at Design*Sponge.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October 13

Today is my birthday! It's been pretty low-key, I went to work for about 1/2 a day, my mom took me to lunch with my aunt & grandma, and then I went shopping! :) I didn't buy much, but I got some fabric, an Anna Maria Horner pattern, and some yarn. The WIP list will be growing.

I found a cute (little) fabric store today! It's called StitchCraft, and it's in downtown Petaluma. There's also an Etsy store! If you're in the area and you want a helpful, local place to shop, I highly recommend it.

Off to go hang out with my man.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Progress on the Quilt

I've got nothing to show for it, but I spent a bunch of time picking out stitches tonight - woohoo! But not really. Pretty boring.

I am making progress, though. I just need to restitch a corner and then I think I'll finally be ready to trim it down and work on the binding. Oh, and I need to tie off and trim some threads.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

WIP: Baby Quilt

Here's another WIP; I've been planning to work on this one all day. This sounds like more fun than laundry and cleaning the bathroom, but won't happen till those are done. So here I am at 9:30 trying to find time to work on it...

I don't even really know why I'm making this. I bought fabric with someone sort-of-in-mind, but then I didn't make it for them. Now I'm just making it because I want to. It's the first quilt I've made (other than a mini one). It's pretty simple, but it should be warm and cozy. It's all quilting cottons on the front, but the back is a nice soft flannel. I made a lot of progress on this when I was sick a few weeks ago, but I haven't gotten too far since then. This is due to two things. 1: I did NOT pin good enough when I was quilting it, so I caught the edge up in the quilting in two spots. Those have been picked out, but I need to requilt them. 2: My sewing table is actually our kitchen table, which is also my husband's "desk," and he's been busy with homework.

I think this is going to go to my cousin, who's due with her first boy (she already has 2 super cute girls) at the end of January. So at least I have some time till it needs to be finished.

Hopefully I'll have an update on this soon!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pumpkins - To Carve or Not?

Instructions at Country Living

I saw these super cute painted pumpkins at Design*Sponge - I LOVE that wood-grain one! It would also be cute as zebra... or another animal print...

I think I tried painting on a pumpkin last year, though, and it didn't work out so well. I feel like I'm always trying to do something cool to my pumpkins but it never works out. I'm not even good at carving them. Maybe this year I'll stick with something basic... I like this bat, though. And look, it has little beady eyes! And there's a stencil for it. But using a stencil for a pumpkin seems complicated. So does attaching wire. And a twig. And beads.

I also think I like the look of a black pumpkin:

And I think I'd like this swirly design even better on an orange pumpkin:

I think it's also about time to make some pumpkin cookies (mmm, I love cookies). I made some last year and topped them off with some sort of cinnamon/brown sugar glaze (because I wanted to do a powdered sugar glaze but had no powdered sugar and lived too far from a grocery store to run out and get some), but I do not remember the recipe. I don't know if I even wrote it down, or if it was something I found online, or in a cookbook - no idea.

And on a(nother) side note - I think the Amy Butler book I was looking for is actually out at the house we were living in when those pumpkin cookies were made. No idea when I'll be able to get back out there, though. Am seriously contemplating making up my own clutch pattern... ?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Knit Owls

Um, these amaze me. And I kind of want to learn how to knit (not because of this, but I am highly impressed).

by kate at needled

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

Mmm, I saw this on Orangette - I think this will become a Sunday lunch sometime soon.

Red Lentil Soup with Lemon
Adapted slightly (by Molly Wizenberg) from In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite, by Melissa Clark

4 Tbsp. olive oil, plus additional good oil for drizzling
2 large yellow onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. kosher salt, or more to taste
A few grinds of freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne or Aleppo pepper, or more to taste
2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups red lentils, picked through for stones and debris
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
Juice of 1 lemon, or more to taste
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a large pot, warm the oil over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. Add the onions and garlic and cook until golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, cumin, salt, pepper, and cayenne, and cook for 2 minutes longer. Add the broth, 2 cups water, the lentils, and the carrots. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover the pot and reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Continue to cook until the lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste, and add more salt if necessary. Using an immersion or regular blender, puree about half of the soup. It should still be somewhat chunky, not completely smooth. Reheat if necessary, then stir in the lemon juice and cilantro. Serve the soup drizzled with good olive oil and dusted very lightly with cayenne, if desired.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Monday, October 4, 2010

Love These

I saw these pillowcases somewhere a while back, but I can't remember where it was. Oh well. I love them, looked them up, saw how much they cost (for pillowcases?), and decided it was a no-go. Then I kept thinking about them and decided to go ahead and buy them. And I think they're lovely. Haha.

They need to be ironed after washing, though...

They also come in 4 other colors! And Lush Designs also sells things like this cute monkey plate.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Bag Swap!

It's October! I am absolutely in love with fall. Every season, I think to myself, "This is great. But so are spring/summer/fall/winter. Maybe I don't really have a favorite season." Except in fall. Then, I know. THIS is my favorite. It gets to me in a way that the other seasons try to but never quite succeed.

I realized the other night just how many projects I have going on right now. If you asked me before then how many things I was working on, I'd guess two or maybe three. It's sort of like my delusions about loving all the seasons equally. Because the list is more like ten. And that's without counting the "projects" that aren't actually being worked on (such as the changes I want to make to things I already have), much less the ones that only exist in my head.

The newest one is the Super Style Bag Swap, hosted by Sew, Mama, Sew. After anxiously checking my email all day yesterday and wondering if my email got lost somewhere, I received my partner info this morning. Yay!

This should be a fun project, and it has a deadline so I know it's not going to be an "in progress since 1928" type of thing. I'll be making her a clutch, which is a first. I haven't made all that many bags to begin with, but I like trying new things. Now I need to decide what to make, pick out fabrics, and get sewing! I remember there being a clutch in my Amy Butler book, but I can't seem to find the book - that's my next task. There are quite a few other options I like, though. These are a few:

Pocket Clutch by Keyka Lou
pattern sold at Sew Mama Sew

Ruthie Clutch by Anna Maria Horner