Monday, November 21, 2011

It looks a lot like...

...the Christmas Spirit threw up all over my house. Well, it's not that bad, yet. Yet being the operative word. The girls and I have been busy the past month making ornaments for our tree, and other holiday crafts. Here's a sample of what we've done:

All of the projects are inspired by Pinterest. Here are the details:

First, I whipped up these holiday decorations in about 5 minutes while the kids were in school. The instructions can be found here.

I absolutely LOVE them! They suit my taste/style perfectly! I removed the bells from the back of the deer before gluing down so they would be somewhat flat against the glass. It cost me $3 to make both. The ornaments were 2/$1 and the frames were $1 each at Dollar Tree. I already had the scrapbook paper. These will go on the mantel.

Next up, ornaments!

The girls and I worked on Santa ornaments first. I used this blog post for instructions and modified them to suit the supplies I had on hand.

We made a total of 5 and I need to finish them. I need to add some embroidery floss to hang them with and I'm thinking I might want to add a strip of black felt to make a belt, but I'm not sure.

Making the Santa ornaments inspired me to fiddle around and create a Mrs. Claus. Here's what I came up with:

Isn't she just too stinking cute?! I love her to bits! I need to make 4 more now.

Living in Maryland means we sometimes have snow on Christmas, but it's not guaranteed.  Well, the girls and I decided we would make sure we have snow on Christmas every year. First we made some Model Magic snowflakes following this tutorial.

We were able to get 11 snowflakes out of 2 packages of Model Magic. I didn't want to make them too thin so they'd be sturdy once dried. They turned out pretty much awesome! I thought about drawing designs on them with red Sharpie, but I actually like them just the way they are. I hung them on our chandelier to dry, which took about 2 or 3 days.

One of my favorite experiments in high school chemistry was growing crystals. When I saw this blog post I just knew I needed to share that experience with my daughters. Science really can be stunningly beautiful! Here's how our crystal flakes turned out:

In person they look like they are encrusted with diamonds. So darn pretty! I can't wait to see them on the lit tree. The sparkles will just be amazing!

Friday, October 14, 2011

It's our Anniversary! (7th, that is)

Well, officially yesterday was our anniversary. We were married on Friday, Oct. 13, 2004. It was a dreary, rainy day and the sun came out when we were taking photos after the ceremony. Funny thing is yesterday was a dreary, rainy day and the sun came out at about the same time it did 7 years ago. How amazing is that?

We decided a while back to do the celebrate thing for our anniversary this weekend. We gave each other little things yesterday. Bill gave me a very touching card that I've re-read at least 10 times since getting it and 35 little post it notes with "Love You" written on them posted all over the house. I gave him an e-card, a Cthulhu cup cozy (hand crocheted by the lovely Jade Bartlett) for him to take to work for a laugh, and a real card.  Otherwise it was a fairly normal evening in our house... dinner, family time, unwind after kids are in bed, etc. Today I woke to find a love note written on the storm door in dry erase marker from Bill and I gave him his other, sweeter, present when he got home from work. I used this tutorial and template download to make it. He loved it. Here it is:

DIY anniversary gift 52 Things I Love About You

DIY anniversary gift 52 Things I Love About You

DIY anniversary gift 52 Things I Love About You

DIY anniversary gift 52 Things I Love About You

Here's the other gift I gave him:

Cthulhu Cup Cozy
Photo courtesy of Heather Brooks.

A Cthulhu Cozy! Ha!

Bill will give me my other gift this weekend. I can't wait! Tomorrow we are going to have dinner at El Dorado and after dinner we will go to the "Ghosts of Sotterly" performance at Sotterly Plantation. Sunday we will wake up late after enjoying an evening without the kids.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Sewing: Gypsy Costume

Today I'm working on a commissioned jacket for a client so I'm going to post up a costume I made last month for a fairy/gypsy party at a friend's house.

The underskirt and overskirt were made with no patterns. Just winged it. The peasant blouse I self drafted a pattern for. The turban was made from 2 shirts I never wear (brown t-shirt for the turban, and the roses came from a halter I never wear). I added a vintage button to the center of the roses on the turban for a little glitz. The shawl is one I knit in January.  Altogether the costume cost me $7 for the bangle bracelets on my right hand. The red fabric is from a window scarf that I no longer use (lots of yardage there!) and the green fabric was some I had purchased at least 15 years ago with intentions of making a dress that never happened. Still have a couple yards left over of it.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Sewing: Vintage Strawberry Sorbetto

I've been very busy with the sewing machine lately. Here's the most recent thing to get finished:

Another item for my fall wardrobe. I used Colette Patterns' free Sorbetto tank to make a shell I could layer all fall and then again in spring. I cut the pattern in a size 12, based on my high bust measurement and then FBA'd it to death (2.5 inches to each side). I used Queen of the Flies' post to help me with my pattern adjustments.

The fabric is a vintage 1950's cotton that I purchased from Selvedge Shop and the trim is purchased single fold bias tape in dark brown. I'm so happy with how it turned out! Off my body it kind of has odd shaping, but on me it is PERFECT!

It was a little chilly out, so this is as much as I'm going to expose to show the detail on the tank. It's hard to see, but I didn't hem the bottom as instructed as I wanted it a little longer, so I just used the bias tape to finish the bottom like the neckline and armholes.
Colette Patterns Fall Palette Challenge

Friday, September 30, 2011

Circle Skirt and Wrap Blouse

I had a lot of fun making this outfit for the Colette Patterns Fall 2011 Palette Challenge. It was my first time sewing knits, my first time completely resizing a pattern, my second full bust adjustment, and I'm so happy with how it all turned out!

May I present you with New Look 6149:

New Look 6149

I styled it today with my Naturalizer Barstowe Wide Calf Boots, vintage frame purse from LadyListen, pearl and smoky quartz necklace from Orion Designs, and prescription sunglasses in Anne Klein frames.

I love how retro this outfit appears without looking old and dated. I also love the little bit of glitz in the skirt to give it a touch of glamor.

New Look 6149

And because you just can't have a circle skirt without wanting to twirl:

New Look 6149

The top is made in poly ITY knit fabric and the skirt is in cotton with a lovely metallic gold detail to the print that really didn't show up in the photos. I purchased the pattern from the Simplicity patterns site when they had their HUGE sale on OOP patterns. The largest size is an 18 and I would have been more like a 20/22 in the skirt, so I had to add 2 inches to the pattern. I did my first lapped zipper and LOVE the results. I'm only doing lapped zippers on my clothes from now on, if at all possible. I left the back piece of the top pattern alone at an 18 and massively adjusted the front. It really does fit perfectly. It's very, very comfortable.
Colette Patterns Fall Palette Challenge

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Vintage Clock Coasters

Old CDs, printed clock faces, sliced wine corks and lots of mod podge and I came up with these:

 CD Clock Coasters

CD Clock Coasters

I was inspired (and got a couple of the clock images) from a posting on Pinterest. Love how these turned out!

Monday, August 22, 2011

River Nymph Cuff Bracelet

I took part in a bead challenge hosted by Solange, of Jewelry by Solange. Each participant was given 2 aqua skin jasper beads to work with. Here is what I made:

altered jewelry cuff bracelet

I've named the piece "River Nymph Cuff." I used a silver tone cuff I purchased last summer from Target, and added the two beads, as well as shells and river rocks that I collected when I and my family went to Colonial Beach, VA this summer. I attached everything with hot glue. I love how it turned out.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Instant Gratification

I needed to make a couple of gifts today. My mother in law is going on her first cruise this weekend with her sister. So I whipped up two of these satin sleep masks for them to take with them.

I used this pattern and some  scraps of crepe back satin from Hancock Fabrics, and scrap fabric that I had leftover from Evie's blue dress to put inside to block light. Super fast gift!

The rest of that satin is reserved for a blouse that's soon to be made. Along with that satin I got from the remnant bin at Hancock, I also got some GORGEOUS chiffon that wasn't much fabric at all, but just enough for me to give a finish to the edges and make a scarf. See...

It's the perfect length, and actually it's big enough to use as a summer wrap, also. I am completely in love with that print. It's stunning!

So, that's what I have been up to today.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Tie Neck Blouse and Pencil Skirt

In July I had a LOT going on. My stepchildren were visiting for the month, we did a bunch of fun things, and I had an interview with the local hospice that went really well. I wore this to my interview:

New Look 6643

A dress I made from New Look 6643 in red stretch cotton sateen from It fit me the best of all the dresses I owned that would be interview appropriate. I was told at the interview that I would have a second interview soon and a half-day shadowing a nurse to make sure hospice is what I want to do. Well, I got home and immediately started to plan out my second interview outfit, because I was going to HAVE to make one since my handmade dress fit me so well.

Here's what I came up with:
New Look 6831 Vogue 8154

New Look 6831 Vogue 8154

New Look 6831 Vogue 8154

Tie Neck Blouse from New Look 6831, View D *OOP

Fabric:  Polyester Shirting from Hancock Fabrics

Size Made: 18 with adjustments

Pattern Notes:

I modified the pattern with a Full Bust Adjustment and that required one additional button, which I did not have, so I put a snap at the top button place, since it is totally hidden by the bow anyways. I also had to increase the darts, and lengthen them (I'm short waisted as well as a busty hourglass).  I used this tutorial for the sleeves.  Also, I forgot to hem the first sleeve before sewing it together (doh!) so I just hemmed both after attaching. Worked just fine. I bound the shoulder seams for additional support without bulk. This was a great blouse pattern and I made a wearable muslin that I intend to stitch securely (it's all basted) and put longer sleeves on for fall. I love how this blouse fits me!

Wrap Front Pencil Skirt from Vogue 8154, View C *OOP

Fabric: Vintage Cotton from 2nd Hand Sews

Size Made:  20

Pattern Notes:

This pattern was a perfect fit for me without any changes! That's a shock! Getting the buttons lined up was a little tricky for me, but once I got it done I realized how to make it easier for myself. Mark through the button holes. Duh! lol Oh well. Yeah, I'm really a beginner but I'm trying to reach for intermediate. I bound all my unfinished edges on this skirt. The inside is really as beautiful as the outside. I love, love, love it! And... I can wear it with nearly every top in my wardrobe due to all the colors in the tiny dot print on the brown fabric. I used a large 1" snap at the waistline where the pattern specified, and sewed it very securely. I wanted a nice, secure closure. I normally avoid pleats on bottoms, but the inverted pleat on this skirt really works well for my figure. I will certainly be using this pattern again. And the other views are great, too.

Here's a pic of the blouse untucked:

I made some mistakes along the way, but I took my time and fixed them before getting frustrated. So glad I did! I'm incredibly proud of these two garments! I feel like a million bucks when I wear them. And the shots above are without my Spanx. It is even better looking with the Spanx. I should ROCK my second interview wearing this! I'm in awe that I now have a blouse that fits me like a glove and doesn't pull across my bust. Let me repeat that... IT DOESN"T PULL ACROSS MY BUST!!!! I think that's a first, ever. I refuse to wear minimizer bras anymore. I hate them and really I don't want to hide my assets. lol

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Abbie's New Purple Dress!

It wouldn't be fair for me to make Evie a dress and not make one for Abbie. So, I let Abbie pick the pattern she wanted me to use and I made this for her while she was at a family reunion for about a week with her grandparents. That was a couple weeks ago, but today she wanted to wear it so I snapped the first pic of her in it. She's so adorable in it!

New Look 6907

Pattern - New Look 6907

Size - 5, this gives her a little room to grow as she's petite for her size

Fabric - Either linen or cotton (very linen like texture and wrinkles if you look at it funny like linen) for the dress, quilt cotton for the contrast, all was in my stash for a long time. I also used a zipper I had already, and used purple thread.

Time - I guess it took me a total of about 4 hours. I spread that out over a few days so I could take my time. I didn't get to fit it on Abbie as I went since she was out of town. I'm glad it fit her when it was done!

Lesson learned - I finally learned the value of finishing the edges on woven fabric. Evie's dress has raveled on some of the unfinished edges (need to bind them now) and I make sure to zigzag stitch all of the edges of this dress before I sewed a single piece to another. Held up to washing SO MUCH BETTER! This was my first time doing patch pockets. So incredibly easy!

Abbie loves her new dress. Especially the pockets!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Vogue 1176 Michael Kors Sundress Muslin

This dress is moving along quicker than I expected! Totally a good thing! Today I got the straps and skirt completed, and they are both attached to the bodice.

Vogue 1176

It looks so good so far! Everything is lining up perfectly and it's looking like it will fit exactly like I wanted it to. I'm going to do the fitting after I finish the lining and put it in. There is no zipper in this dress yet, but I'll be basting one in to get the real deal on fitting. That little bit will be done after dinner tonight. I'm so pumped about this dress muslin!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Oooo... A Challenge!

So, I have a birthday coming up. May 24th, to be exact. I host a party every year to celebrate, but I hold it on the first Saturday in June since at least half the people I know are out of town Memorial Day weekend (which always follows my birthday). This year I decided to start going with a theme and with the help of my friend, Heather Brooks, I chose to do a retro Tiki Party theme. I saw Vogue's V1176, a Michale Kors dress, and knew it would be PERFECT!

Isn't that bodice detail awesome?! I love it!

The bodice front is really the only somewhat complicated part of this average difficulty pattern. The dress is fully lined and has a self-fabric belt.  I started my muslin today and the bodice is complete. That's steps 1-12 of the instructions, out of 73 steps!

I'm making the muslin out of a plain white full-size flat sheet. I haven't pressed the seams yet, so they are a little wrinkly looking.


Close-up of that drape detail. It is open behind it to slip the bow into.


And I recently took that disaster of a little brown dress and used it to make my too-small dress form fit my measurements. It's stuffed with newspaper right now, as I have no batting on hand. I'll remedy that soon, though. The muslin is lining up, centers, bust points, waistline and sides, perfectly! Woo hoo!

Straps and skirt will be done tomorrow. After that is the lining and bow. My deadline to have a finished dress is June 1. If the rest of the dress goes as smoothly as this bodice muslin did I don't see any problem meeting that deadline.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Evie's New Dress

Simplicity 2677

Pattern - Simplicity 2677

Size - 6, this gives her a little room to grow as she's petite for her size

Fabric - Unknown synthetic woven for the dress, quilt cotton for the contrast, all was in my stash for a long time. I also used a zipper I had already, and used purple thread (that matches some of the polka dots on the belt) instead of blue. It gives the dress a really nice detailed look.

Time - I guess it took me a total of about 5 hours. I spread that out over a few days so I could take my time, fit it on Evie as I went, and make sure I did it correctly.

Lesson learned - I'm no longer afraid of sewing in zippers! I literally tackled the zipper in this without a single intimidating thought. Yay! And I tried a new technique for gathering on the sleeves. So much faster and just as effective! I also added fusible interfacing to my pattern pieces as I'm sure this will be a dress made many times over as my girls get older.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Sew Disasterous!

So, I was plugging right along on my little brown dress using brown stretch sateen and this pattern:

I'm making it plain front like the first dress, short sleeved like the second dress, and v-neck like the third dress. Well, I didn't read the directions fully before starting (MAJOR mistake that lead to subsequent mistakes) and ended up with really messed up things going on with the dress by the time I realized it. This dress is more challenging than anything I've sewn before, so it's been a real learning experience. I'm not even going to attempt to rip the seams out at this point. That would be more than it's worth. I just placed an order last night with Denver Fabrics for more fabric to make this dress over again. With my newly gained knowledge it should go off without too many problems the second time around. Luckily I got the fabric on clearance both times now so I'm not out much financially. And yes, I did make a muslin. The fit is fine, it's the seams that are wonky all over the place. Oops.. Totally my fault. The pattern and instructions are pretty well flawless, if you read before you start. Instructions are what I look at after my attempt without them fails. lol

So, while I'm waiting for my new fabric to arrive I am going to make a dress for each of my little girls. First I'm making one for Evie with some solid cornflower blue fabric as the main dress fabric, and sky blue with multicolored polka dots fabric as the contrast fabric. I'm using this pattern:

It should be adorable when finished. I read a tip online somewhere about ironing patterns to fusible interfacing to increase the pattern's durability. I did that just a few moments ago because I'm sure this will be a dress I make a few times as my girls get bigger.

For Abbie I'm not yet sure what fabric I'll be using and I'll be making this pattern:

Now Abbie and I are going to have some lunch and I'll work on her big sister's dress during nap time.

Monday, April 04, 2011

No Pattern Knit Skirt

Yesterday I had plans. At the last minute those plans changed. So, I decided I would make myself a new skirt. Without a pattern. Just start cutting and sewing and figure it out as I went. Here's the result:

DIY skirt

It's a simple straight skirt made from some vintage jersey fabric. LOVE the print! I made a high waistband out of the fabric, also. I need to take it in just a bit, though, so I did not photograph it.

Here's the side profile:

DIY skirt

DIY skirt

Slightly closer shot. Isn't that print just AWESOME?!

All together it probably took me about an hour and a half to make it. Even including my time fixing my mistakes along the way. I am so pleased with this. And my wardrobe just got much prettier!

Fabric: Late 1960s or Early 1970s Synthetic Jersey

Source: Selvedge Shop

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Testing a Hat Pattern/Adventures in Cabling

Here's my second FO (finished object) of the year:

Proton Stream Convergence cable knit hat

Pattern: Proton Stream Convergence by Gillian Kratzer

Yarn: Patton's Classic Wool Merino in Chestnut Brown

Needles: US size 6 bamboo 36″ circular for ribbed band, US size 8 bamboo DPNs for rest of hat, cable needle

Start: January 23, 2011

Finish: January 31, 2011

Comments: I was a tester for this pattern. This was such a well written pattern!  Love the end result. I am painfully slow at knitting cables because I am very unpracticed at them. I only have somewhat large plates, so when it blocked it turned into a beret.  Which is all the better for me.  I adore berets.  I will certainly do this pattern again in the future.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Moments of Serenity

Here is my first FO (finished object) of 2011:

Stolen Moments Wrap 
Pattern: Stolen Moments Wrap by Amy Swenson

Yarn: JoAnn's Sensations Angel Hair in Neutrals

Needles: US size 15 bamboo 36" circular

Start: January 2, 2011

Finish: January 28, 2011

Comments: This was actually a very quick knit.  I just don't have time to sit and knit for long stretches and some days I have no time at all.  This is SUPER soft, really warm, and the pattern was really easy.  A beginning lace knitter (intermediate knitting skill I'd say) would do great starting with this project. I probably will not do this pattern again, though, as even with a smooth yarn it will look like a different version of the same shawl.  I love that this shawl will add some color to my wardrobe.

Lots of energy today!

It's a rare occasion, especially here lately, that I actually have an abundance of energy and inspiration.  Today is one of those days.  So, my motto for the day is:

You can get that awesome print for free here.

I was browsing around while Abbie was eating lunch and saw a high end designer dress that looked mighty familiar to me.

Oscar De La Renta Black Wool Dress

It looked like this dress I made on October 29, 2010 from stretch cotton sateen purchased at with New Look 6643 as a pattern, which was pretty heavily modified for what I wanted.

New Look 6643

I went out to the mail as Abbie was cleaning up her toys in preparation for her afternoon nap.  I was hoping that a package containing my winnings from Moi Minerals would be in the mailbox, but instead I found my order from Sidney @ Limmer Lane Antiques!
And it contained these:

1940s fabric
1940's Rayon (L) and Cotton (R)
I should also be expecting the fabric and notions today, via UPS, to make this dress:

I'm just giddy!  So many things that I can pick to work on! I'm test knitting a hat for a friend, and I will start working on a sewing project as soon as I'm done with that.  I'm excited!

Now that Abbie is napping I will be reviewing for my NCLEX-RN exam (boards for nurses) since I have peace and quiet to focus. I hope everyone is having a lovely day!