06 August 2017

the kitchen accent wall

Before: Green, with the table running parallel.

After: Cranberry, with the table turned perpendicular

17 July 2017

Easter dresses

I'd been meaning to make a Maggie Mae for a while.  And while I was looking for a walking foot to make my first quilt I found this sweet sheepy fabric and promised Cupcake I would make her something with it.  Spring rolled around, and things finally fell into place.  

There wasn't enough of the lavender to make the band across the skirt, so I skipped it and lengthened the skirt to a maxi instead.  I also added piping across the top, and faced the ever-intimidating series of button holes.  But I took the time and actually read the manual for my sewing machine (after finding it online), and learned to properly do button holes.  And they turned out great!  It was amazing!  I learned later that Trina's sewing machine makes it even easier, but I can do them on my own machine, and it made me very happy.   
I made Sammy's blessing dress last summer with this Butterfly Dress pattern, and I really liked how it turned out.  So when I found out Snowflake was going to be a girl, I figured I'd make one for her too.  And then my friend Michelle was having a girl, and Ashley was having a girl too, so I decided to make three.  I forgot to take pictures of the others, but it's all the same dress with different fabric.  And I made a matching diaper cover for cuteness.  

zipper pouches

 My lotion exploded all over my purse. And since then, I've kept my essentials (lotion, kleenex, nail clippers, etc.) in a plastic bag, instead of scattered lose in the bottom of the purse.  But WHY?  Why use an ugly plastic bag when I can make useful zipper pouches to organize my stuff?

I found a fabulous Open Wide Zippered Pouch tutorial, and made four of them in a weekend - one in each size, plus an extra medium-sized.  I gave one to my sister full of birthday surprises, and use the rest to keep my diaper-bag organized.

What did I learn?  Zippers aren't that scary!  Take my time, use a zipper foot, and I can make neat things!

So while I was on my zipper kick, I decided I needed a camera bag, especially for traveling this summer.  Usually my camera just gets knocked around in my purse, so a little padded zipper pouch with room for batteries could come in handy.  I used one tutorial for the math, to make it exactly the size I wanted.  Then I used this tutorial to put it together, plus a little from this tutorial for the handles. 

08 July 2017

Tag Toys

I had the sudden urge to make baby tag toys, so I did.  

Scraps of fabric (flannel and cotton) and lots of different ribbons from my stash.

And the crinkle stuff in the middle?  An empty container of baby wipes.
(I got that idea and the basic directions here.)

I think it took me more time to pick out the ribbon than it did to actually sew it.

Baby approved!

28 June 2017

Glass Onion Adventure

I bought a pattern by Shwin Designs over a year ago.  Then life happened.  So when Project: Run & Play posted up this month's challenge: Adventure, I  was excited to finally sew my first Glass Onion.  Because the split back is perfect for warm weather, and nothing says "adventure" like summer.

Not the most adventurous fabric, but I let Cupcake pick it, and that's always more important.  It's actually a vintage sheet from the thrift store!  But I love the top so much I think I'll whip up another one real quick, since she's already in the largest size. Little sister Snowflake will be gets lots of these in the future though - I made this in less than a day and the curve wasn't nearly as scary as I thought.

We went to the library for pictures, because reading is incredibly adventurous, but she had other plans.  It started with a cowboy hat and got out of hand really quickly.

This summer will be full of adventure.  Flying across the country, playing with cousins, eating popsicles, smelling like campfire, reading in the hammock, swimming at the pool, digging in dirt, and blowing out birthday candles.  With this kid around, everything is an adventure.

28 May 2017

what we're doing besides posting online

Holy. Cow. 5 months of the year already gone! The blog has been quiet because our lives certainly are NOT!

We decided in January to renovate our kitchen and Adam has been working pretty much nonstop since then. He built all the cabinets in our garage in January and February. We bought a new fridge so he could custom build cabinets around it. He did all the wiring to reroute the electricity here and there. He did plumbing with the sink and water hookup for the fridge. He retiled sections of the kitchen floor and it blends in really nicely - you can only tell where it is if you know what to look for in the grout. With moving a doorway, he learned how to make his drywall patching blend a lot more nicely. He's been a busy guy!


TEARING IT OUT: Except for 4 days in April when Adam had to fix a sink plumbing issue, the kitchen has remained functional the entire time. My kitchen project job has been to clean up after him, occasionally hold something in place while it gets nailed in, and keep the kids out of his way.

GOOD RIDDANCE to the counter tile!!

Our friend Andy came over to help Adam with the final breakdown


Current status: all cabinets and appliances are in place, and now Adam is doing the detail work like the cabinet facings and drawers. The counters are plywood with contact paper stapled to it, and will probably remain that way until the fall. We want an entire granite slab (rather than a teeny sample square like at Home Depot) and are trying to pay cash for the whole thing - so far, so good, but our budget got thrown off this spring from some kid-dental work. In the end, we should have a $40,000 kitchen for $10K or less. But that's still a hefty chunk in one year!

My house part just started this month - I'm the painter. So far, I've done the reading room in a light blue-gray with ultra white for the window trim. I started on the trim in the front hall area. There's a lot of blue edging tape up! We're testing paint colors for the kitchen. The blue-gray will carry into the kitchen, with an accent wall. Adam wanted it to be "cranberry." We played around with shades and ended up getting "Sugar Beet" from Home Depot. Adam was painting up the sample when JK (age 4) came running in. "Oooooo! Magenta!" HA HA HA! The hall from the front door all the way to the back bedroom will eventually be some shade of gray, and the girls want their bedrooms painted lavender. Still very much at the beginning of my part.

the old yellow getting covered with the blue-gray. The front door and hall are slated to change color as well.

I've done quite a bit of sewing here and there but nothing is done yet except the girls' bedroom curtains. Only one set is up because Adam stole the other curtain rod for the living room. I bought a new living room rod but we haven't swapped them yet. (Kitchen.) Photos of the curtains haven't turned out because of being backlit by the sun coming through the window ... still working on it.

In January, I made the first block for SM's Night Sky quilt - I saw a picture on a Google search for quilt star shapes (sorry for no source - I can't find it again), and figured out on graph paper how to make it with half-square triangles (HST). This is 16x16 inches - the starting squares were 5 inches. When made into the HSTs, they sized out at 4 1/2 inch squares to allow for a quarter-inch seam allowance on all sides to finish at 4 inches. Yes, actually, it did take me awhile - and some pretty botched up blocks for another project (if you want 2-inch HSTs, you start with 3-inch squares) - to figure that out.

Then sewing came to a screeching halt, because my iron died in February. I just replaced it.  I'm now in process on a dress for JK (with 3 more clothing items waiting for action), and have done 3 more blocks for SM's quilt. I've also started some strip piecing for RG's quilt, and fiddled around with some fabric for a 3rd one. I've been bookmarking specific block ideas for the little girls - TA can't make up her mind which type of quilt she wants. I have about 4 ideas for her.

On a whim, I made a heart garland from felt and a ribbon for the windows in our front hallway for a Valentine's Day decoration. Felt doesn't require the iron.

I started working on my embroidered map quilt at the beginning of April. It's slow going and this is going to take me a LONG time but there's no rush. It's just for Adam and me, for sappy nostalgia. And yes. Yes, I am adding pink French knots to represent the cherry trees around the Tidal Basin.

The garden went in the last weekend in April. It's a lot less than we normally do, but it's all we can manage this year. We're not trying to feed our family for 6 months with it - it's just a delicious supplement. So we're not worried about the quantity of plants we put in or the harvest we get.

TA helped me put in the dahlias and canna lilies

And all of this has been in between Adam's job, homeschooling, dance classes, a ridiculous number of doctor appointments (2 kids in weekly therapy and dental stuff, plus everyone recently got checkups all on top of each other), regular chores around the house, church assignments, and just ... life.

25 May 2017

They Match!

One day last week Cupcake declared it was going to be "Love Day."  She talked about it all day, and got all her stuffed animals lined up and ready for the celebration.  There were going to be games and songs and food.  In reality it was just another Friday, but I did make some pink cupcakes because nothing says Love Day like pink cupcakes.  And new pink dresses.

Even though I had a million other things to do, when I came across this soft pink floral cotton fabric in my stash I was inspired, and found myself cutting out a simple peasant dress.  I didn't fight it because: 
  1. Peasant dresses are fast and easy.  I've made several before. 
  2. She isn't quite 5 and already well into a size 8.  Everything is getting small.
  3. We're flying for summer vacation so we need dresses that pack flat.
  4. There's a floral link-up party on Project: Run & Play this month! 

But why make one when I can make TWO??  I had just enough fabric to make a tiny peasant dress for Snowflake (the skirt is pieced, and a bit shorter than I would like).  Their first matching outfits!   

I up-sized the free 0-3 month pattern I found on Sew Much Ado to something closer to 3-6 month.  And I tried the scalloped edging trick I found there.  Subtle, but super cute.  And now I want to buy all the rick-rack and do this on everything!  Sometimes it's the little things that really make a project special.

 For a spur of the moment weekend sewing project, I'm quite happy and so are my girls.  I see lots of coordinating outfits in the future, more rick-rack (I had no idea I could use it like that!), and plenty of pink cupcakes.  Happy Love Day!