Friday, September 30, 2011

And the 6th Anniversary is for...

Last Saturday, my husband and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary. I wanted to make him something small (his "real" gift was some computer-related item), so I looked up the "traditional" anniversary gifts. Depending on who you ask, apparently, the 6th anniversary deserves sugar/candy, iron, or wood. So obviously, I decided to make him some coasters.

Well, they have cork which is like, wood-ish so I figured it worked. Also, they fit my short time frame, I had all the materials, and he needed them for his office.

Super simple: trace a circle (ie another coaster) onto cork. Cut out.

Trace circle onto felt. Cut out.

Trace circle onto something pretty, like a map from your recent trip to Paris. Cut out. (See the theme?)

Glue everything together. I used Alene's between the cork and felt, and Mod Podge for the cork and map. Although apparently something kind of gets gooey when they have condensation on them, so this might not be the best mix. I'm not saying you should make these yourself, exactly. Might be better for hot drinks, I don't know.

But there you have it!

UPDATE: It's now mid-November, and my husband has been using these. They're still getting kind of... oozy when there's condensation on them. I'm assuming it's the Mod Podge, although I was hoping it just needed to cure a little more. At this point, they're good for hot drinks but not necessarily cold. I'm thinking maybe I can just somehow seal the top. I just noticed that the Mod Podge bottle mentions some sort of Clear Acrylic Sealer, or my husband mentioned maybe just putting contact paper over the top. If I change something up and get good results, I'll post another update!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Little Things for Little People

As I mentioned, I've been making things that aren't for me, which takes time from making things for myself... but I like doing it. Plus, I have fabric for myself on its way to my house as we speak, so...

I already shared the sweater I made (and the, um, half a sweater I have sitting here). The next thing, which finally got mailed last week, is for our friends' kids. Inspired by these felt flash cards from Sew Much Ado, I made a pair of full alphabet + numbers 0-9.

I used grey felt for the backgrounds, a rainbow of colors for the letters and numbers - red, pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, brown, and white - and a multicolored thread to sew the letters and numbers on. The stitching around each piece is basic grey to match the felt. The curves were a little tricky on some of the letters, maybe just because I'm not used to sewing felt and it moves differently under the presser foot than fabric. Overall it was a fairly simple project, just took a while to complete. I did things in batches; a group of letters, then a long pause, then another set, etc. I also ran out of grey at the very end. I used yardage for the grey instead of buying a bunch of sheets of felt, and I ended up one sheet's worth short. Of course, that's easy enough to buy, but beware that depending on how well you cut the felt, if you use yardage you might end up a little short. I used a rotary cutter but still had some narrow pieces that wouldn't work, either due to my measuring and cutting or due to discrepancies in the felt itself, I don't know.

I didn't mess with the grommets from the original, but I did make simple little bags to put them in.

I also added a few books to the box, and a little blanket for their baby girl. I somehow forgot to take pics of the blanket; I was sure I had already done that but I can't find any... you can sort of see it through the tissue in this picture:

The front is a brown flannel with multicolored hearts on it; the backing is a green dotted minky. That minky... so soft but such a pain to sew. I'm sure I'll use it again, but this was my first time and I didn't quite realize what it would be like. Any tips to make it easier are welcome!

Also, I've decided to switch out the plaid Traveler dress for a jersey maxi skirt for the Fall Challenge. I'm still planning on making the dress, and I ordered the fabric, but right now the ETA is mid-October. I also ordered a rosy pink jersey, so that will let me stay with my goal of 3 items. And the 2nd panel of the hand-stitched skirt is *almost* done.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Sweater in Pink - Celebrate Color

Here is my first item for Celebrate Color! I crocheted this pink sweater for a friend who's due with her first baby next month. I try not to always do "pink for girls" but I loved the color of this yarn. It's a very soft pink, a little muted rather than bright. I added a brown button, and I think the colors are perfect for fall. It has a little more subtlety than a lot of pink yarns, and somehow that's what I lean towards for this season. Subtle but deep - even though the trees put on bright colors, they have that gradient effect to them that adds something the bright green of spring doesn't have; the light changes in autumn, too, making these colors just "fit" better.

Back to the sweater - it's the Bombay Love pattern; my Ravelry project page for it is here if you want to see that; the actual pattern is at the Yarny Days blog.

I don't know what size this would be, since I don't have a baby to test anything on. I love this yarn though; it's an organic cotton by Lion, and it came out so soft and squishy in this simple double-crochet stitch. The original pattern called for a contrasting edging, but I didn't have anything that really worked with this and I like it without the contrast. In fact, I liked making it so much that I started another one with no recipient in mind.

This one is striped, but I'm stuck at this point because I ran out of yarn. Now I have to figure out where I bought it and if I can get more of it.

This sweater also feels very autumnal - something about these stripes makes me think of old-timey football games and wearing your team's colors. There's an Anne of Green Gables memory floating somewhere in my mind tied to this, but it's soft and fuzzy so I'm not sure if it's actually relevant or not.

And finally - I have these small dishes (as seen above) that I bought in Mexico years ago that I use for loose ends and such while I'm sewing, but I recently discovered they're great for holding a ball of yarn. It's rather annoying when the ball of yarn is rolling around or falling on the floor or getting stuck under a blanket, etc etc; with this little dish it stays contained and rolls nicely on the smooth surface. Anyone else do something similar?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Autumn Color 2011 Week 3

Well, I think this is week 3. I thought I'd share my patterns first, since I sort of mentioned them but didn't give any detail. Except for the Alabama Chanin skirt - that's in the Polyvore board. Also, more on that below.

The dress is the Lisette Traveler dress, aka Simplicity 2246. I want to make something like View B but with the regular collar from View A in a plaid flannel. I love a certain fabric I found online but I wavered on my decision and now it's backordered until mid-October. (I have a feeling I might be stretching my timeline for this challenge.)

Lisette Traveler

The jacket (which isn't on my official list) is from Simplicity 2443, a Cynthia Rowley pattern with a knit dress and a jacket. There's a version of the jacket that you can see here that's a little more like what I'm thinking... I want to try it in a tweed or something like that, without the pockets and plackets and bits on the front.
Simplicity 2443

I just want some big buttons instead of the ties, and I'd leave the band off the sleeves to make them a little simpler. My inspiration (from J. Crew) shows the idea I'm going for that I think I can get from this pattern.

And no pattern needed for the scarf, but here's the fabric:

I think I'm going to make a circle/infinity scarf from this. It's very light, I think it might be a Swiss dot? It has those little raised polka dots on it... don't know if that's the right term though.

And I've been working on the reverse-applique skirt. Not too quickly, I'm not quite done with the first panel, but making progress. It's gone from this:

To this:

As you can see, I'm using a navy blue jersey for the top layer. The bottom layer is a white jersey that I may or may not have washed with the blue causing it to become a very very pale blue itself... And the stenciled parts are a sort of metallic champagne with natural colored thread stitching it all together. I think I'll go for a blue thread for the seams, though. I haven't done much hand-stitching before, and I'm really liking it.

On a side note, did you know that the kit for the rose applique skirt is $140?!

I've also been making not-for-me things that I'll share later on.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Autumn Color

I have color on my mind lately - Colette Patterns is having a Fall Palette Challenge and Rachel of Stitched in Color is hosting "Celebrate Color." They're a little different from one another, but both have gotten me thinking about colors for fall. I've noticed that I gravitate towards different colors at different times... almost like personal trends, in a way. I'll end up with several items in different shades of the same color without even thinking about it.

The colors I keep finding myself interested in lately aren't necessarily traditional "fall" colors, but I think they do remind me of fall in a way. They're earthy and grounded. They're deeper and work differently off of each other than the brighter colors of summer.

So, all thing considered, here is my palette and a bit of an inspiration board:

Fall Palette Inspiration 2011

Plaid and tweed + florals? Yes please. To be realistic, I'm going to plan on three items to complete: a reverse-applique rose swing skirt from the Alabama Stitch Book in navy and white, a plaid tunic/shirtdress (using the Lisette Traveler dress pattern) in loden plaid, and a scarf. I would LIKE to make the new Peony dress from Colette in a solid with a patterned belt, and I'm planning to make a tweed version of the Cynthia Rowley jacket from Simplicity 2443 at some point, and I would also really really like a jersey maxi skirt. Those shoes will be bought at some point in the (hopefully near) future.

The skirt is one thing that I've actually started. And I have fabric for a scarf - a couple of scarves, actually. I also have three dresses that I made and wore in Europe but need to be altered. The Traveler dress is one of them - I only halfway made a muslin, so I didn't realize quite how LARGE it ran. I'd like to use the pattern to make a shorter flannel version, more of a tunic than a dress. The "want" list is probably too ambitious to get done, but I'm certainly thinking about them a lot lately.

Can't wait to see what other people are doing!