Monday, March 30, 2009

Dreams of knitting....

Look what I found in the clearance section of the local outlet bookstore today!!! Can you believe I only paid $3 for this? Awesome.

And, since I don't know how to knit yet, the instructions are thorough yet non-threatening:

Plus, the book includes just about every stitch technique you can imagine. I was really surprised to see the double-point needle instructions, and that tutorial was the deciding factor for me. The ONLY reason I want to learn to knit is so that I can make thousands of cute and funky socks for myself!!

There are some pretty sweet patterns in here too:

And, what will inevitably be my new favorite little bag:

I love finding a bargain like this. My mother-in-law is supposed to teach me to knit sometime this summer, and now I have a guide to help me when she isn't around. Yay for thrifty shopping!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Labor of Love, or Suffering for my Art?

I fell in love with this Vogue design when JoAnn's had their pattern sale a few weeks ago. Had I known what kind of torment I was in for, I would have saved the $3.99.

I have to admit, that the trials and tribulations that I am enduring are my own fault. It all started with my determination that I would be able to use this pattern for both of my nieces (aged 1 and 2). Well, since I am notoriously lazy, this presented a pattern challenge for me. Normally, I just cut out the size I plan to use and resign myself to the fact that I will not be able to make it bigger without extra work. This time, I pulled out some long-neglected sewing tools that have been snoozing at the bottom of a bin for ages.

I have no idea what this paper is called, but one side is normal, and the other side has a chalky blue powder. I think I got it in a sewing kit a million years ago. I put the chalky paper under the pattern paper with the blue side against the fabric.

And then, I use the special bumpy wheel tool to trace over my size lines, thereby transferring the blue chalk to the fabric.

(I know that all of the experienced sewers on here are laughing at me right now. I am aware that there must be an easier way, but I generally learn the hard way..)

So, the wheelie tool created these little blue dashes. Can you see those okay?? No, me neither......

Which is why I pulled out my handy Spiderman washable marker. But, of course, that meant MORE work for me. *sigh*

Let's recap:
  • Cut out pattern
  • pin to fabric
  • Sandwich chalky paper between pattern and fabric
  • trace with wheel
  • un-pin
  • go over "barely-there" dashes with washable marker
  • cut fabric.
Mmmhmmm. A LOT of work so far. Oh, and I completely IGNORED the grain line markers, so I had the extra joy of trying to line up all 3 components so that they didn't have the print going wonky.

I was so happy to have cut those pieces successfully, I should have known that my bliss wouldn't last..

<---This is the contrast I was doing.

And, this is what I found when I opened my nicely folded coordinating fabric: ---->

Dummy! Dummy! I thought I had bought 2 yards of that fabric, but apparently not.

So, now I am trying to decide on a new contrast fabric. I'm leaning toward the green, but I'm almost too irritated to continue. I have to finish this dress by Thursday night, and I have a lot of work to do before then!! Cross your fingers that the storm has passed and it's all easy street from here..

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I know what boys like..

I know that it seems as if I never make any clothes for my own kid, but I swear I do. They just aren't as cute or involved as the dresses I make for my nieces.

Case in point, creepy spiders and superheroes rule in my house:

I considered recycling one of my old t-shirts into a shirt for The Bear, but none of my discards had blank fronts. So, I bought the shirt at Hobby Lobby, and attached my own applique. The shorts were made by hand from Spiderman fabric that the 5 year old picked out for himself.

I didn't love attaching an applique to jersey fabric, but I survived. And, the fusible webbing was a HUGE help in stabilizing.

He adores the new outfit, and is excited to wear it in Florida next week!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Soap Cozies

Do you remember my recently failed attempt at a beach bag? Yes, well, I have completely given up on that endeavor, and I wanted to find a use for the yarn. So, my 5 year old was taking a bath the other day, and I got an idea...


Soap is always slipping out of little (and, occassionally, big) hands so I thought that making a handmade cover for the soap would be worth my time. They actually sell soap for kids that has this vinyl meshy cover on it, but I would rather save the $3 or so per bar and make my own.

So, I went to the handmade community to find some natural soap, and I found this totally awesome chick who makes soap from her bio-diesel processing discards. Here's what she says about it:
What's in a bar?
This soap is made from saponofied recycled vegetable oil. It's fat, lye and water, just like your great-grandparents made, with a small difference. The beautiful deep brown glycerin this bar is made of is a byproduct of the production of biodiesel fuel that powers my normal unmodified diesel VW Jetta. Since egg rolls and french fries were once cooked in the vegetable oil, this soap retains a rich brown color. The extra high glycerin content makes the bars softer than the usual bar soap. Bottom line is you get all the benefits of the excellent emollient glycerin: Gentle cleansing, soft skin.

It’s a powerful degreaser and gentle enough for sensitive skin & for kids. But don’t limit yourself. Go crazy & see how much of this messy world you can clean up!
She sent me 3 bars for $1 (plus the cost of shipping). I got them in the mail yesterday and "cozied" them all last night:

I feel pretty good about my Mother Earth awareness right now. The soap is FANTASTIC, by the way. The bar smells a little musky, but it leaves no scent on your skin. And, it made my super sensitive skin very soft without giving me a rash of any sort. I definitely didn't experience ANY of the drying that happens with chemical-laden bar soap. I'm thinking that these will be a great giveaway idea if I ever get enough followers to this blog to make it fair. :) For now, I will use them at home and pass them out to friends and family.

Monday, March 9, 2009


I was so super thrilled when I received the patterns that I ordered from AnarchyAndLace last week! I couldn't wait to get started on some clothes for myself. Up to this point, I have only made a couple of skirts, so I thought that starting with the dress would be best/easiest.

Of course, I chose some not-so-fabulous fabric that I didn't really care about so that I wouldn't have wasted pricey material on my first attempt at a dress.

The pattern was already cut to my size (yay), so I saved some time on that, but I am obviously going to have to make adjustments for future dresses.
First, look at the bunching of material on my hips. There is also a "pouchy" effect on the front. I'm definitely going to have to trim some fabric down in a few areas.

Also, where did my boobs go? The high-waist band acts as a corset across the bottom of my full bust. So, I get this weird mushed appearance. If my breasts were 10 years younger/perkier, or I was 3 sizes smaller, everything would be golden. But, alas, I will need to increase the bust size and throw in some darts on the next attempt.

Regardless of the minor improvements that will need to be made in the future, I am happy with how this turned out. And, I only had 1 seam casualty!

I think the most rewarding result of this effort is that I feel more confident about my abilities to make adult apparel (at least for myself). I have another dress to finish for Princess Peanut before the 20th, but after that I am devoting time to my own outfits. Hooray me!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Bogus Bag

I recently picked up some Sugar 'n Cream yarn at a really good price that I wanted to make a beach bag out of.

This is the seemingly straightforward pattern that I chose:

Unfortunately, my outcome isn't exactly the same as the picture:

It looks like a watering can cozy. What happened?? Believe it or not, this is my second attempt at the bag. The first time around I didn't count stitches, so I was much more meticulous with the next try. Unbelievable. Something is wrong with that pattern, and I am devastated that have to take it all apart AGAIN!! Maybe it's a sign that I shouldn't crochet after Christmas....

Friday, March 6, 2009

Blogging Baloney

I changed my background a little while back to a cutest blog on the block template, but because they are actually JPEGS (as explained to me, after the fact, by someone much more tecnologically savvy than me) it took longer for my page to load. As you can imagine, that annoyed me to no end. So, I decided to go back to a Pyzam template, and that's when the NIGHTMARE began!!

I am totally capable of copying and pasting. But, Blogger decided to punk out and give me an error code EVERYTIME I tried to paste the new code. EVERYTIME!! So, I went to the blogger-help-whatever-forum, and found a "fix" which seemed to work okay except that all of my widgets were deleted. *sigh* deleted.

Of course, I added everything back to the best of my early-onset-senility ability, but I was mad. Really mad. But, I did figure out how to get rid of the ugly orange bar at the top of my blog advertising Pyzam. Yay!

This is what I get for messing with stuff that didn't need messing with. Will I ever learn??

On a positive note, I added some new and interesting ladies to my blog roll (since the old blog roll was deleted. *sigh*).

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Jedi Outfitter

Amidst the worst hive outbreak I have ever seen, I subjected my itchy, swollen, bright pink 5 year old to a melee of children, strollers, and shockingly rude adults at a local Kid's Expo this weekend. He wanted to go. I swear. But, once we had been there for about an hour or so, I could see him overwhelmed and a little irritated at having to stand in forever-long lines for the jumpy things.

Thus, I was guilted in to an insanely expensive purchase of an item that has previously been strictly forbidden in my house:

The dreaded light saber. *sigh* And, as if spending enough money to feed a Haitian village wasn't enough, I had the midget bugging me to make a holder for it.

Finally, after watching him walk around with the 2 1/2 foot plastic sword stuck down the leg of his pants all night, I finally gave in:

The fabric was left over from a hoodie I made him a few months ago. I had some technical issues that were a result of trying to talk on the phone and sew at the same time, but other than that it was done pretty quick.

Somber Jedi face:

One of the cool things about having kids is that I cannot see myself ever making a light saber sheath without a 5 year old in my life. Now, I can market my services at Star Wars conventions nationwide!! :)