1.30.2013

Ten Dollars Ledges


Allow me first to apologize to my dad, who I previously called "a woodworking drop-out," but without his help I probably wouldn't have been able to get these simple shelves built.  Sorry, Pops!

And allow me also to state the obvious - somehow when you have kids, everything takes ten times as long to get done!  The actual building of these shelves wasn't so bad.  We were able to build both of them in an afternoon at my parent's house (and thanks to my mom too for watching the kids while my dad and I cut and drilled away).  But man, finishing wood projects is the pits.  It took many weeks to find the time to spray paint these little suckers (often while standing outside in freezing temperatures).  In the end though, each layer of spray paint and each sanding in between was worth it because not only are these shelves smooth as a baby's behind, but they are also quite awesome looking (if I don't say so myself).


Yes, my so-called "ten dollar ledges" ended up costing me almost forty bucks, but that's probably because I sprang for slightly more expensive wood than was called for and given that I'm a total newbie, I ended up having to buy even the most basic items to make this project (screws, wood glue, a countersink bit.  Did you see that?  I just used the term "countersink bit."  Does it seem like I actually know what I'm talking about?  Ha!).

All in all, though, these shelves were completely worth it and if you're looking for me, you may just find me walking back and forth past C's bedroom admiring shelves full of books.  Best of all though, is the fact that I'm not the only one who appears to love them.


1.28.2013

Ten Months


Ten months?  Do you know what that means?  She's almost a year old!  Absolutely mind blowing.  Especially since this was her last January.


And look at her today!


She snuggles, she laughs, she tears magazines to shreds if you turn your back for one second.


She loves her big sister and fortunately the feeling still seems to be mutual (we'll see how long that lasts).


But as lovely as this little one is, she has not been the greatest sleeper for the past several months and this has led to Ben and I having many a discussion about what we should do to work on this issue.  Unfortunately, at the end of all those discussions I think that the only conclusion that we've come to is that somehow after two children we're still clueless when it comes to this whole parenting thing.

1.25.2013

Fourth Time's The Charm?


Given that I've made this top three times already, you'd think that I would have learned all that there is to know about making the Renfrew Top

But you'd be wrong because I learned at least two new things this fourth (!) time around.

1.   Fabric choice does make a difference (everybody say it with me now - "duh!").  The first time that I made this top for myself I sewed it out of sweatshirt fabric which had very little stretch to it and the size 6 that I cut out happened to be the perfect size for a nice fitted shirt.  This time, though, I cut out the same size shirt but I made the top out of an interlock fabric with a fair amount of stretch. 

Same size, different fabric, and a whole different fit.

Because of the added stretch in this fabric the fit is much looser this time around.  So much so that when I first put it on I wasn't sure that I liked this version of the shirt.  After wearing it a couple of times though I have to say that it's growing on me and while the different fit was a complete surprise, perhaps it'll end up being a pleasant surprise in the end. 


2.  Knit tops made out of striped fabric should only be made by people who are detail oriented and possess infinite patience.  Unfortunately, I am not one of those people. 

In sewing the top together I realized that I probably should have been much more precise when laying out the fabric and the pattern to ensure that the fabric was straight and that the stripes were laid out correctly.  I was able to do some finagling to get the neckline and the side stripes to match up perfectly but the cuffs and the bottom band are definitely off.  My hope is that people will be so distracted by the ridiculously bright colors on this shirt that they won't notice that some of my stripes are wonky.  We'll see if this slight of hand works.

P.S.  So cold outside!


1.22.2013

Sewing With My Head Instead Of My Heart

The vast majority of the time I pick projects with my heart rather than my head.

I make summer dresses in the middle of winter.
I make kids' pants out of fabrics that need to be hand washed.
I sew projects that I love but that my daughter is less than enthusiastic about.

I sew things because I love them.

But with winter here and a definite chill in the air (otherwise known as - "it is freaking freezing around here lately, people!!"), it became abundantly clear that I needed to pick some projects out of necessity because when O put on a pair of her pants the other day, this is how they fit.


And for the record, these used to be full-length pants.

So out came the basic pocket pants pattern from Growing Up Sew Liberated (I love this pattern) and out came whatever bottom-weight fabrics I managed to find in my stash.


The first pair are made out a lightweight denim and because I'm a big copy-cat I ended up using the reverse side of the denim as the contrasting fabric, just as they did with the sample in the book.  I did leave off the cuff though and just traced a larger size for length to make up for the missing cuff.  I also ended up keeping the front of the waist flat, only putting elastic in the back portion of the pants.  I love the look of a flat front but appreciate having the elastic in the back for comfort and for a better fit on growing kiddos.  And I'd like to thank Oliver and S patterns for introducing me to this option.


The second pair are made out of some leftover fabric from a project that's still sitting unfinished next to my machine.  The green is twill fabric and the pink is lightweight corduroy - both just from Joann Fabrics.  Yes, the color combo is completely crazy but that's what you get when you're trying to avoid buying new fabric (thanks very much to my December credit card bill for encouraging me not to hit up any local fabric stores for new fabric).

Now can I get a woot-woot for pants that actually fit?


Woot-woot!

Alrighty then.

1.21.2013

Life Is What Happens To You While You're Busy Making Other Plans

Can I just tell you how excited I was for this weekend?

It was the first weekend in over two months that we had absolutely nothing planned.  And it was our first weekend at home since having house guests for the last three weeks.  This weekend was going to be filled with...well, it was going to be filled with whatever I wanted it to be filled with.

Or so I thought.

Because when Saturday rolled around so did a stomach bug that left me pathetically moaning in bed for a day.  Fortunately I was feeling better 24 hours later, although still a little wiped out.  Unfortunately, C decided that this would be the perfect night to refuse to be put back to sleep and O decided that this would be a fantastic night to wet the bed (Okay, okay.  I realize that I may be projecting a little bit and that they didn't actually decide these things given that one is a baby and the other one has not mastered the art of night time bladder control yet.   That's just what it feels like when you're o-so-tired).

In any case, this weekend has not gone exactly how I had planned.


On a more positive note, being house-bound this weekend did give me plenty of opportunity to lounge around in this giant one-piece long underwear that Ben got me for Christmas (otherwise known as "the most unflattering piece of clothing that you can buy for your wife").  Seriously, it is not attractive (hence, the photo of only the top half).

1.08.2013

Obsessive Compulsive Much?

I'm starting to think that I may have a wee-bit of obsessive compulsive disorder because I keep getting obsessed with one single pattern and then I find myself making it compulsively.

First there was the Renfew pattern (who's sick of seeing all of the Renfews that I've made?  Wait, don't answer that question because I still have one more cut out!) and now there's Rae's Flashback Tee pattern.  After making just one of these shirts, all I could think was "why, oh why, did it take me so long to buy this pattern?"  In addition to being an incredibly simple pattern to sew and fantastically well-written, it is so fun to cut up old t-shirts to make into new ones.  Case in point, my first two tees that I made out of this pattern. 


The first was made from an old t-shirt that Ben bought on a trip to Belize years ago.


And the second was made from an old Quilmes t-shirt that Ben happened to find in some random thrift store after hearing me talk about Quilmes from the time that I lived in Argentina.  Unfortunately, the only size that he could find was an XXL so the shirt ended up being used mostly as a painting shirt over the past ten years.  No problem though - I just cut the logo out and used a contrasting jersey fabric for the back of the new child-sized tee.  And yes, I made my child a t-shirt with a beer logo on it.  Let the judging commence.


For the third version (But not the final version.  Oh no!  Mark my word - there will be more!), I dug through the stash and came up with enough fabric to make the whole shirt out of the same fabric and I think that this one may actually be O's favorite.


What I probably love most about this pattern though is the practicality of it because while I love to make dresses (and O loves to wear them) the fact of the matter is that pants and long-sleeved shirts are far more appropriate for the weather around here and they'll probably get much more use. 

I believe that there are some that would refer to this as "more cake and less frosting" - which I suppose is appropriate given that I generally pick most of the frosting off of the cakes that I eat.

1.03.2013

My Glorified Sweatshirt

You know when you were little and you bought a new pair of shoes and you were so excited about them that you asked your mom to let you wear the shoes home?  Yeah, that's pretty much how I feel about this top.  After I finished sewing it, I put it on to make sure that it fit, but when the time came to take it off and put it away, I just couldn't do it and I ended up wearing it for the rest of the day.  I am in love with this top...which is a bit odd considering that it's ridiculously bright and made out of sweatshirt material.  But despite the fact that this shirt could be called a glorified sweatshirt, I think that the cut of the pattern is incredibly flattering and I have a special place in my heart for cowl neck tops.

 
This was my first time working with sweatshirt material so I learned a couple of things along the way.  Like the fact that despite it being a knit fabric, there isn't a whole lot of stretch to it so be aware of this fact when choosing what size to cut out.  Also, there isn't a whole lot of drape in sweatshirt fabric, which means that this cowl doesn't exactly "hang."  In fact, I could probably make it stand straight up if I wanted to, but that's all the better to keep my neck nice and warm I suppose.

 
Now despite having made myself and my little sister a top out of this fabric, I still have a fair amount left over and I've fallen in love with the idea of sewing a little baby or toddler sweatsuit.   Completely ridiculous or completely awesome?  You be the judge.

1.02.2013

9 Months

The most commonly heard refrain around our house nowadays is "here comes trouble."

And now you can see why.




Fortunately, this version of trouble is ridiculously cute.
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