I’ve been dreaming of making a real patio in our little backyard for years (and have the aspirational pinterest board to match), but things have already been way too busy to pull it off this year… bummer. So, feeling stressed out with a ton of freelance work on my plate and plenty of regular life stuff zipping past me too, I decided to at least start on the backyard of my dreams. And now just a couple of weekends later, it’s our favorite place to hang out!
Andrew and I bought our pair of Adirondack chairs in 2009 and I love that bright cheerful orange (although one has aged way better than the other so now they’re essentially different colors, sigh)… that’s always been my inspiration and starting point. I also love aqua and light blue – so harmonious with my favorite bright colors like yellow, orange or lime green – so I chose a palette of my of those for inspiration, signed up for the Portland Nursery email list for the 25% off ceramic planters coupon, and started rounding things up. I bought planters and smaller pots at Portland Nursery, Garden Fever, and Little Baja (which I have been wanting to go to for YEARS but never had, it’s awesome and wow that strawberry pot reminds me of my childhood). Then I repainted a small, ugly, markered-on wooden table that had kicked around various parts of the house in “Seaside Resort” and that worked out perfectly for a 15-minute project, counting washing the brushes afterwards.
I moved some bigger plants like the tall grass and Mexican orange from other places in my yard and took succulent cuttings from my garden to start things off. I also bought some coleus and a few other new things I liked, and thanks to Burgerville‘s kids meal seed packets, started some little peas and zucchini in pots that are going gangbusters too.
Finally, I got a recommendation from a friend for Portland Rock & Landscape Supply and headed out there to pick up twelve 12″ square pavers . A quick hour of digging out grass and leveling out dirt later, I had two mini (2 x 3 paver-sized) patios for my plant container islands and was happily done and mixing a cocktail!
I don’t have a photo of it but here’s the drink I made up to celebrate our little patio project finale: the Sunny Saturday. It spun off of this recipe, thanks to turning a bumper crop of sage in my herb garden into simple syrup, and asking duck duck go what I should make with it. I highly (HIGHLY) recommend it, it’s written into my family cookbook now…
The Sunny Saturday
•1 1/2 oz gin
•1/2 oz lemon juice
•1/2 oz sage simple syrup
•1/2 oz St. Germain elderflower liqueur
over ice, top with club soda, stir with a swizzle stick, and garnish with a few sage leaves. This one is perfect for sharing, especially in a tall glass full of ice.
Then in sewing news, after going a full month without even touching my machine, I’m starting a little Western shirt for Everett – my muslin will be in this strawberry vintage fabric I’ve had forever. I’m pretty excited about it! With luck the rough draft will be wearable (those strawberries are so cute) and then I’ll get to sew him the real shirt in an awesome red, white, and blue sailboat print for a very special Fourth of July wedding. Hope to have some sewing photos to share soon!
I’m super excited to be visiting Austin (for the first time!) to go to Quiltcon this month! I wanted to join the linky party The Modern Quilt Guild is hosting on their blog, so here is a photo and five things about me for fun. I’m proud to be the historian for the Portland Modern Quilt Guild, and I’m also a craft writer and the mama of Pearl (who’s 4.5) and Everett (who’s 2). So… hello!
1. I’m a Capricorn (the photo of me was taken by my lovely friend Nancy right after we toured beautiful Heath Ceramics on my birthday a couple weeks ago!) but really never liked it, it seemed like a boring and chilly astrological sign. However, now that I’m in my thirties, I’m starting to get right with it and embracing the parts of life as an earth sign that do resonate. I love my home, and I am definitely a bit of a workaholic when it comes to writing and sewing and crafting. Also, I love my Enid Collins zodiac bag (see #5)…
2. My husband Andrew and I got to be in a Bright Eyes video our friend Cat Solen directed a few years ago, which was super fun! I got to make out with Andrew, share a toast with Evan Rachel Wood and Terence Stamp (who were both very nice), and hand my Bloody Mary to the sweet guy in headphones sitting across the aisle from us. I love Bright Eyes, and Cat’s animation and design are beautiful, so being an extra for her was completely awesome all the way around.
3. After nearly fifteen years of trying, I have to admit that I’m a pretty crummy knitter. I can make rectangles and triangles, and not very fast ones at that. Give me a sewing machine or a needle and thread and I’m much happier!
4. My two favorite places in the world (besides my house in Southeast Portland) are Mt. Hood here in Oregon, and San Francisco.
5. I love mid-century and vintage clothes, furniture, and fabric, and my favorite designers are Enid Collins (my two favorite handbags are below), Vera Neumann, Lilly Pulitzer, Maija Isola (of Marimekko), and Tammis Keefe. As seen above, I wear a fabric headband or a scarf in my hair and a vintage cardigan just about every day. 80s revival, skinny jeans, and neon kind of scare me fashion-wise, so I’m not very on-trend (though I am really excited for the 80s dance party!).
I hope to say hello at Quiltcon! I am westcoastcrafty on instagram and infrequently on twitter. I’m taking Anna Maria Horner’s Every Last Stitch class Thursday afternoon and Lotta Jansdotter’s Textile Printing class on Friday morning. I’m also on a panel on writing for magazines on Friday at
1:00 2:00, right before Kathy Miller lectures on Tammis Keefe… my dream topic! Yes!
I’ve spent the last week cleaning and organizing my craft room and wow, it has been a ton of work! Last year was so busy and it felt like every minute of my childcare time was spoken for twice over. So I sewed until the last minute and rushed to pick my kids up from school instead of having time to put things away, and my stuff got cluttered, crowded, and disorganized. I couldn’t see a lot of my fabric or find a lot of my supplies without moving things around… and we all know it’s not fun when you have an idea in your head and you JUST WANT THE RIGHT FABRIC NOW.
So, three or four long days later, I am so much happier and inspired working in there, and I’ve gotten to sew some new things for the house! My favorite project so far is my beautiful new ironing board cover – made from a Vera vintage sheet using this tutorial from Sew Much Good. My old plain-blue cover looked awful and crummy (I couldn’t bring myself to take a before photo, ugh) and this one is so pretty and simple and feels so right in my sewing room. It makes me happy every time I look over at it. Yay!
This is my 2013 craft sketchbook/journal from Ex Libris Anonymous. I LOVE it. I staple fabric swatches or pin paper patterns right to the pages and record all my notes and measurements and extras in there. It’s really nice for projects like this – when I used a great tutorial but made some of my own tweaks that I want to remember.
Here’s what I did differently: I cut my Vera sheet using my ironing board as a pattern the same way that Sew Much Good recommends, but then backed it with fusible batting for padding and sturdiness. The sheet was very filmy and needed some structure. That worked perfectly. Then, instead of 1/4″, I used 3/8″ flat elastic (which is what I had on hand) and instead of cutting and folding my own bias tape, I used hem facing (the flat 2″ wide bias tape you can buy at the fabric store). I needed about a package and a half. This was super easy to thread through, and a very sturdy casing.
The only other thing I did differently was to stitch the bias channel on about 1/3 of the way around, then backstitch and take it off the machine entirely (instead of pulling the elastic while it was still on the sewing machine). I pulled the elastic so it gathered nicely, then double-pinned it in place there. I sewed to the 2/3 point, repeated the same gathering method and double-pinned, and finished with a third round at the end point. Then I eased the cover over the ironing board, took out all the pins, adjusted the elastic gathering so it was nice and even all the way around, and tied a good knot to secure it. Done!
This was a super fun, fast project and I’m especially happy I could make it all with things I already had (the vintage sheet, fusible batting, hem facing, and elastic). I love the sheet, but it cost $3 at a thrift store and was a full size, measuring something like 80″ by 90″ – so when the cover inevitably gets spilled on or fused to, I can let it go without grieving that I ruined something precious or expensive. Plus, I still have a ton left, even after finishing this large-scale project and lining the reversible rainbow dress I made for Pearl for Halloween. I’m glad that these blue flowers can live on in some other sewing projects.
I hope your 2013 crafts have been fun so far! This has been a good stretch of house projects for me and I’m so grateful to have the time to work on them. I just finished sewing a couple of super simple tablecloths and cloth napkins, worked my way through most of my mending pile (FINALLY), and I’m working on some new Pendleton curtains, too.
I love Shelly Figueroa‘s work (and her book, Sewing for Boys!) and was so excited to hear about her new sewing class with Craftsy, Romper Revamp. She asked me to review it as part of her blog tour, and of course I said yes!
The class is based on one of her original Figgy’s patterns (designed with the lovely Daniela Caine) – Zephyr, a romper for girls in sizes 18m to 6/7. The class shows not only how to make the romper, but also how to adapt it into a sundress (like Shelly’s version, above) and lengthen it into pants. She details exactly how to measure your child, and use each measurement to figure out her true size – instead of just making a 4 for your four-year-old, for example. Here’s the sheet where I noted Pearl’s measurements. She was very excited about it, and asked if she could color in the little girls after I wrote everything down, so I said sure… so one sea of purple crayon later (I can still make out the numbers, luckily) this has been a collaboration from the start!
I love the original romper design, but the sundress adaptation is just so very Pearl and I had to make it for her. I printed out my sundress PDF pattern sheets and followed the super easy video directions to tape them all together for tracing with my beloved dot pattern paper. Here seems like a good place to mention how very well done the videos are. I have also taken Sewing Machine 911 (via a free link from Sew, Mama, Sew!) and the production value of everything is great. My husband worked in the film industry for years, and I’ve taught craft classes for what feels like forever too, and it’s easy to recognize how much care and detail goes into filming these classes so everything is very clear.
Back to the sundress. This is a real project of the heart for me, reminiscent of my own childhood. Shelly gives a sweet introduction to the five generations of seamstresses in her family, and I immediately thought of my grandmother and the dresses she sewed for me when I was little.
I remember when got to choose my own three prints off the bolt at the fabric store and she made me darling sundresses with them, edged with bias tape. I think this was probably around 1980 – I loved wearing this one to school and to camp in the summer. The other two (which I also still have for Pearl to grow into, thanks to my mom) are a pattern of cheerful frogs and lilypads on blue, and one of dozens of little tiny Strawberry Shortcakes on pink.
So when I planned this dress for Pearl, I thought of the vintage strawberry fabrics I’ve been saving for the last few years, and prewashed and pressed all three of the ones I liked best. The green print has also surfaced in Pearl’s first pair of handmade pants (Burda 9772, 6m size) and last year’s Mic-Mac II.
Here is where I wish (I really wish) I could go on to say “and now here’s the super cute finished sundress!” and show a pretty photo. But this week packed a punch, with two sick little kids back to back, a couple of my precious childcare days evaporating to stay home with them, and a round of tech edits due – so the pattern tracing stage is where I’m at.
But unlike a traditional class, where I probably would have missed my chance to finish my project with the teacher helping – that’s fine, because the beauty of the Craftsy class is that it is totally evergreen. I have Shelly’s video lesson paused right where I stopped, and I’m excited to jump back in after I’m back from Seattle. So it’s perfect for people like me, who love to take classes and learn new things… but have a tight schedule, are outnumbered by their young children, or just like to sew at their own pace. When I finish Pearl’s dress (I’m so excited about making the braided straps…), I’ll post the second half of the review with a picture of it! Then, whenever I have time to make a romper version, I can dip right back into that section of the lesson and get sewing again. Once you buy a class, it’s yours forever, so if you want to make another version of your project a year from now, it’s right there.
If you’d like to take Shelly’s class too, Craftsy has generously offered a 50% discount through this link! There’s a super cute project photo gallery and lots of extras included, and Shelly is a wonderful teacher – kind, down-to-earth, and fun. Check out the other reviews and posts on the blog tour here (including many finished Zephyrs). Thank you to Shelly and Craftsy for offering me the chance to take the class!
This spring has kind of brought a bit of everything at once – rainy, then sunny, then rainy again… crazy busy, then blissed out on vacation, then back to the laptop… sewing, cooking, gardening, a long-awaited new fence, birthdays, and bagels! I have a lot of catching up to do, so I wanted to share some of my May favorites (so far).
The first Friday of the month, I took an amazing class from my friend Heather and learned how to make homemade bagels – such a great morning. I wasn’t sure I could duplicate her magic and skill at home, but sure enough, my first two dozen bagels (half sesame, half plain) following her recipe and tips turned out pretty perfect. I’m in love. Thank you, Heather!!
Then, my sweet Pearl turned four (!) so I just had to drop everything else and make her a birthday skirt. I fell in love with an apron at a vintage store in Silverton last month, and cut it up to make the cutest little skirt for her. She’s a big girl now who won’t wear anything except exactly what she wants to, so I kind of held my breath while she opened the new tote bag I sewed her to see what was inside…
but she loved it and put it right on for her birthday party and beyond. Happiness! I also got to make my favorite cupcakes (with purple frosting, by request) and a “triple berry cake” (aka blueberry boy bait + raspberries + marionberries). The girl loves her sweets, and you only turn four once.
I forgot to get a first-day shot of planting my garden this spring, but this is about three or four weeks in (I started later than usual, after an epically rainy March). Everything is loving it so far – from left to right, it’s spinach, mustard greens, dinosaur kale, white russian kale, and chard. I have beets and leeks in a smaller bed and I’m hoping to put in my tomatoes soon too, then summer squash a little later on. Tucked behind all the greens, which you can’t really see, I finally took my herbs out of all their random-sized containers and dug them into a real garden bed. I also rescued my little blueberry bushes and pomegranate from the relentless grass invasion all that rain brought, and we have about two dozen tiny Bartlett pears nestled in on our tree! I’m pretty excited… almost five years into living in our house, I feel like my yard is finally becoming what I hoped for, after a lot of baby steps forward (most recently, a birthday sandbox and a new fence!). We have flowers, native plants, and succulents planted on one side of the house, and herbs, berries, and the vegetable garden on the other.
We went away with the kids for a very needed long weekend to Mt. Hood on Wednesday and stayed at the sweetest cabin. Such a beautiful place, right on a creek, with a hammock and a hot tub and green everywhere you looked.
Along with lots of easy 18-month-old-friendly hikes, splashing in the Columbia River, skipping stones in the creek, and getting an ice cream cone in Hood River, we headed up to Timberline Lodge for a grilled cheese (Pearl and Everett) and a glass of wine (me and Andrew) and spent half an hour gazing out the window at this view. The photo above is just a regular old iPhone snapshot, no editing or anything.
This second one is a Hipstamatic from the same spot. (I find it totally impossible to stop taking photos of Mt. Hood.) Bonus – I just learned from Merritt that those amazing cloud formations we were admiring, gracefully skirting the summit, are called lenticular!
I bought this dreamy little succulent dish garden with two teeny cairns and a few seashells mixed in at the Saturday Market in Hood River. So beautiful! I wish the vendor (Rose) had a card so I could credit her, but she said she was just getting started and this was her first event ever…
Midway through our idyllic getaway was a really awesome May PMQG meeting I drove back for. I am so excited that Nancy finished quilting my Oceanside quilt and I got to share it at show and tell! She did a really cool all-over quilting pattern of waves with three whales here and there – a small, medium, and big one. I love whales so much and this was just perfect.
If anyone is interested in the process, I’m hoping to write up a longer post about how I made Oceanside… and it will be at Sisters so I’m very excited about that!
Hopefully I’ll have a side-by-side photo of the quilt with the Oceanside sign that inspired it to share soon too…
I’m very excited to be reviewing Mend It Better, a wonderful new craft book by Kristin M. Roach (also author of the lovely blog/project/zine Craft Leftovers) today! Mend It Better offers a wide variety of useful techniques, from darning and patchwork to weaving and crochet, for reworking and salvaging garments and beyond.
As Diane noted in her recent review, Mend It Better is arranged like a textbook, with her suggested techniques neatly organized by chapter. There are tons of photos and tips for undertaking a new mending project, which is also a nice touch.
I am very happy to have contributed one* of the 22 mending projects to the book, and along with my contributor copy, Storey Publishing sent me an extra book to give away at our Portland Modern Quilt Guild meeting this week. I asked Kristin a few questions about mending, especially patchwork projects, and here are her thoughts…
Do you have any favorite decorative stitches for covering a seam or line in a mended patchwork project?
I know it’s so bland, but I really love the whip stitch or overcast stitch. Just going to town and completely covering it, kind of sloppy, in a bright color!
What’s your favorite mending or embellishment use for binding tape?
I love using it as straps, or sometimes a little accent in a seam, like small piping. So cute!
Have you ever mended a larger quilt or patchwork project? Any general tips for that?
I’ve done some light mending on a quilt I made – one of my first sewing projects – just some basic patchwork. I’m really excited to be embarking on a huge mending adventure this year: restoring a quilt my husband’s grandma made. She passed away a long time ago and it’s in tatters. He doesn’t remember her, so it’s his only connection to her. It’s going to be one of those “for the love of it” projects because mending it will probably take more time than completely making a new one!
Here are a few tips for mending quilts:
1. DO NOT wash it before you mend it. It will just make the damage worse.
2. Unlike darning where you want to stretch the fabric taut, if you stretch the quilt in a hoop before making the basic structural repair, it will actually cause the fabric to ripple when you take it off, or stretch the tear even further. You’ll want to mend it while it’s flat, then repair any quilting stitches in the hoop only after the structure is sound.
3. If you can, work on a large smooth surface with the quilt completely flat. The kitchen floor works great!
4. Sometimes you won’t be able to match the pattern exactly when patching, if that’s the case, think accent vs “sloppy”. One of my teachers used to always say “do it or don’t do it”. So if you can’t match, make it look intentional. Bold contrasting colors can be really fun!
- – - – - –
I think quilters, sewists, lovers of vintage, upcyclers, and wardrobe-refashioners will all love this book. This pieced-vintage-fabric skirt hem idea Kristin included is my favorite project… so adorable!
I’ll be giving away a copy of Mend It Better at our PMQG meeting at 7 pm this Thursday, April 19 at PNCA. We’ll be meeting in room S1 upstairs in the Stagecraft Building right across the street from the main PNCA building (where we’ve met the last two months as well). Hope to see you there!
*Here’s my little project! Thanks so much again, Kristin!
I had such a great time at Sew Expo this weekend! Here are my finds – more on these in a minute.
It was a bit of a whirlwind trip. Nancy and I drove up Friday night with a Burgerville stop, and got to hang out with Michelle, Brittany, Kaci, Rachel and Cherri for a glass of wine and some fabric-shop-hop show and tell. Saturday morning, I did my book event at the Pendleton Woolen Mills booth, which was great – thank you to everyone who came to say hi!
Then, Nancy, Brittany, Michelle and I walked the show for another five hours of awesome treasure hunting – the four of us brought some good things home. Here are my finds, roughly in the order I snapped them up. I started with this fabulous plaid waterproof laminate tote at the Pendleton booth, which held everything else I got all afternoon.
And I could NOT resist these Sublime Stitching sew-in labels, also from Pendleton (if you’re in Portland, they have them at the WMS in Southeast). Genius.
I bought a yard each of the new ice blue and fresh green Pearl Bracelet from Island Quilter,
assorted yards and half-yards of Lotta Jansdotter Echo prints from Heartway International,
a beautiful 8.5″ x 11″ card of 42 vintage pearl buttons, “carded between 1945 and 1955 in Pennsylvania,” from Betty Henry,
two yards of this darling Tammis Keefe holiday reindeer reissue from Michael Miller for a tree skirt (can’t remember the vendor but will look for the receipt and try to update!),
and a pezzy mono-color jelly roll from Sandy of American Jane herself. She was so nice and so happy about the reissue, and I was so excited to get some of this fabric!!
Then, I got some very special trims and ribbons from Nifty Thrifty Dry Goods. I fell in love with the scissors ribbon, and needed the bluebirds too (I already have them in pink), plus the tiny red-and-white trim and the measuring twill tape. Then I saw a $9 package of 3 large shank-style milk glass buttons – very nice, but not my button style – with this darling scanned “baby pearls” label.
Since my daughter is a Pearl and I love pearl buttons so much, I asked the owner if she had any other buttons or trim packaged with this same vintage image that I could buy instead. She cut the label free of the three buttons, handed it to me and charged me 50¢ for it. So sweet of her! I will definitely be shopping with NTDG again soon.
I also got to meet Angie from The Quilting Loft, who is lovely! I fell for a gorgeous sample of this Indygo Junction dress in her booth sewn in a Lotta print, so I got the pattern, plus some adorable dot laminate, a yard of Valori Wells’ birch trees, and a yard of the Melody Miller typewriters.
I got this celebration print from Pacific Fabrics (plus two things not pictured – some large, unphotogenic placemat blanks that I’m going to try out with patchwork this week, and a beautiful vintage-button embroidery pattern they’d sold out of but are shipping me this week, no extra charge).
Two and half hours and another Burgerville stop later, we were back in Portland in time for the big game I’d DVRed to watch with my nephew who was in town this weekend (hi Julian!). Now I’m trying to decide what projects get what fabrics, in between finishing my Craft Hope tote bags and Think Outside the Block bee blocks, and dreaming of a PMQG –> Seattle ferry-powered shop hop weekend with friends…
If you are also sewing littlest warriors tote bags for Craft Hope (or making hats) and want to ship them together, or share photos, that would be great! Thanks to everyone who has contacted me or commented here or at PMQG. I will try to mail out Friday so they arrive in time, and would love to add yours (I’ll gladly cover shipping). Please email me over at portlandmodernquiltguild at gmail.com if you want to team up!
My birthday was a couple of weeks ago, and Andrew surprised me with this huge vintage science-lab bottle so I can make a mega-terrarium bottle garden! Happiness!
I love it so much. Michelle and I headed over to Artemisia and I picked up some tiny, pretty plants that will hopefully slip through the narrow bottleneck. (I also got to go to Pambiche, the park, Bar Avignon, and Ringside. It was a pretty good birthday!)
Way back in the freewheeling crafty 70s, my parents made a bottle garden for my grandparents in a giant green-glass solvent bottle from my grandfather’s physics lab, and I loved it. I’ve always dreamed about making one myself. Approximately three million tiny, small and medium terrariums later, here I am, trying to figure out how the heck to pull it off – my mom says it’s pretty challenging! Luckily, I have some allies in the form of fabulous vintage craft books…
This is from The Family Creative Workshop (Volume 2: Beachcombing to Bottle Gardens). Love this whole series so much. (I snapped photos of all the pages in the whole Bottle Gardens entry that are here in my flickr set if you want to see them.)
I also have a copy of Sunset’s Gifts You Can Make. I really wish more vintage craft books had color photos, but this is a fantastic book, and I’m so happy that they included bottle gardens as an idea for presents.
If you’re looking for either of these books, here’s what the covers look like… in glorious color!
Andrew found the bottle here, on Division in Southeast Portland. I asked the owner how often he sees these giant bottles, and he said they’re pretty rare, but this is the place I’d keep an eye on if you want one too. Would love to add some other giant-bottle sources if you have any!
My other birthday gift from Andrew was this beautiful Oregon myrtlewood cutting board, made by Coast Range Woodworks on Etsy. It’s really awesome too.
So, hopefully my next bottle garden post will be lots of photos of a beautiful miniature world of lush plants… or maybe just a list of what not to do when it comes to plants and bottlenecks. Either way, I have a hardware-store shopping list ready to go and I hope I can get started on it this week!
Also coming up – just wanted to mention that I’m teaching a scrap projects class at the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store this Saturday from 2-4! We will be making two projects, a sunglasses case and a patchwork draft snake, and all the materials are included for $25. PMQG members get $5 off any class at Pendleton, too…
PS: Thanks to everyone who came to our January meeting last week! Petra wrote up a lovely meeting recap over here at the PMQG blog. We are so excited to do some fun things this year… we have an all-day sew coming up at Fabric Depot on February 4 (9am-8pm) and we’ll be announcing some good surprises for the February meeting soon, too!
It’s been years (literally) since I’ve had a chance to sew this much, and I can hardly believe I’ve actually gotten to make or mend a few things that didn’t have a deadline attached to them. I wanted to share a few photos of the projects I’m the most excited about…
This vintage dress, which was a $5 Rose Bowl treasure, had been on the long-neglected mending pile since 2007 (?) with a broken metal zipper. After moving everything in my craft room downstairs and finding it again, I stole half an hour, dipped into my newly organized card catalog of notions, and put in a new zipper. I have never loved my little Pfaff more than when I was zipping along on this project, realizing I was going to get to wear it out to dinner in ten minutes when the babysitter got here (it was the evening of our sixth wedding anniversary). I usually don’t post many photos of myself, but here I am very happy, and just so glad to be wearing this dress again instead of losing it to the perma-pile.
My favorite thing I’ve made in forever is this denim wrap skirt. Love the pockets, which hold an iPhone and keys perfectly, love the a-line, and love the total simplicity of it. I’m also kind of amazed that I finished it after all this time… I prewashed the fabric and cut all the pieces out in summer 2007, right after we moved back to Portland. Then I found out I was pregnant (the first time), suddenly got the chance to write another book (Button It Up), and reluctantly put the skirt project away to whenever I could fit it in time-wise, not to mention fit into it body-wise. Two more books, a house move, a craft room move, and another baby later, I got those long-forgotten pattern pieces back out (I really thought this one might end up in my crafty estate sale for someone else to finish a few decades from now) and started sewing.
I love top-stitching. I find it so relaxing to just go forward with these neat, even lines. This is kind of a dream project for me, I guess – three full bobbins’ worth of relaxing! The skirt is sturdy denim, top-stitched basically everywhere, and almost architectural on. I’m not nearly as worried about a sudden gust of wind as I would be in some adorable light, frothy thing. But a well-placed safety pin never hurts…
Anyway, I’m hoping for a good photo soon, but none of my mirror ones turned out, so I’ll update when I have someone around who is not three or nine months old and can take a decent picture of me wearing it. Oh, and I lost the pattern envelope sometime in the last four years (unsurprising) so the vintage pattern wiki page was awesome for reference – it’s Simplicity 9541. My only tweaks were shortening it 5 inches to just below/at the knee, and a few of my own attempts to set the waistband, etc. differently than the 1980 “UNIT 6″ approach I couldn’t really get my sewing head around.
Next, I finally got started on the Carousel Quilt kit I bought from Pink Chalk Fabrics a couple years ago, which is a charming pattern Kathy designed, built around the Denyse Schmidt County Fair cheater print panel. It’s stitching up super fast but I didn’t have a chance to finish piecing it last time I had childcare. Next week for sure!
I also mended a pair of Pearl’s old cowgirl pants (my favorite kids’ pattern, Burda 9772), hemmed a pair of Andrew’s cords, and then jumped into Mic-Mac part 2. I sewed Pearl a brown George the Puppy from Girl’s World a little while ago, which she promptly named Mic-Mac, and then requested “so many more Mic-Macs.”
So I cut a couple more out last week (a red one for her and a green one for Alex, both with yellow number-print ears), and sewed and stuffed them on Monday. Well, I think I’ll be making another green one for Alex, because Pearl loves the trio of Mic-Macs, and they are basically partying together all day long.
She lines them all up, she tells me stories about them, and they go on trips together. Not bad for a project that takes much less than an hour and a quarter-yard of fabric. Actually, you could probably make two in an hour or so, if you didn’t have to change thread colors. (My only tweaks were top-stitching the ears, and I didn’t clip curves this time since the seam allowance is only 1/4″ and I had a hard time not cutting too much on the brown Mic-Mac.)
So, now that I’ve caught up on some sewing to-do’s (to say the least!) I went to JoAnn Fabrics in search of Denyse Schmidt‘s new line Sugar Creek. Here is what I found at the Eastport store in Portland on Tuesday:
Not a ton of Sugar Creek in the mix, but yay, there was some Picnic (which I wasn’t expecting to see again) so I snapped up three yards of this very-favorite print, plus a new Lisette pattern – Continental, for the cute dress:
So, we’ll see when I have time to make it (hopefully in time to wear it at least once before sweater weather officially descends). By the way, I bought the Lisette Market pattern (for the adorable a-line skirt) at JoAnn a few weeks back too and I’ve already lost it! If you know any finding-things charms, I’d love any good thoughts. I want to make that skirt…
Oh, one more project (no sewing involved). My dear friend Alison came over last week and we made terrariums, so I got to re-make my Star Wars Terrariums from World of Geekcraft. I had disassembled them all in 2009 to send the action figures and rocks and sand away for the photo shoot and I was missing them so much. So she made wedding centerpieces, and Pearl and I made my Star Wars worlds again. Yay!
PS: If you have been following or helping with Quilts for Quake Survivors (thank you!!!) I put a new post up on the blog a couple days ago, about our last sewing party and final push to raise money for Mercy Corps and donate the remaining quilts. You can check that out and add your two cents over there if you’d like to.
PS again: If you are into these things, I’m finding the one minute to post things on my craft writer page on Facebook or my new twitter a lot more often than the hour or whatever for a real, full-on blog post with pictures over here. So please say hi over there if you’d like to!